Selling in Japan ‘how-to’ for first-timers.
I define “direct sales” as any form of sales, whether by direct-mail, online store or face-to-face meeting and negotiation, that does not involve an intermediary such as a representative agent, distributor or trading company.
I strongly believe that direct sales is the most profitable, controllable and predictable route to doing successful, profitable and sustainable business in Japan. Why? Because I have seen far too many failed distributor relationships that caused long-lasting damage to the reputations and brand values of foreign companies that were misused or misled by their Japanese distributor.
Each of the pages below is a slightly edited version of the equivalent page in the main site. The pages are arranged in a readable order and you are recommended to go through the series sequentially. If you need additional information then please use the “search this site” form beneath the kanji image on any page.
Excerpt – The Japanese market is an incredible market for corporate products and services, in part because Japanese companies are still prepared to pay premiums for quality, reliability and service. Understanding Japanese corporate sales will allow you to do very profitable business with Japan’s largest corporations; in my experience some of the most profitable business you can do anywhere in the world.
- Customer loyalty
Excerpt – Japan’s traditional ‘job for life’ and the unusually strong relationships it allows salespeople to build with buyers over 5, 10, 20 years or more, has substantial revenue advantages in the corporate sales arena. The longevity and intimacy of Japanese buyer-seller relationships is possibly the most difficult aspect of Japanese business for many foreign companies doing business in Japan to understand and is wrongly perceived by many foreign executives to be an invisible trade barrier – it is of course simply loyalty.
- Secrets of success
Excerpt – I have managed front-line sales companies in Japan for the past 13 years, during which time I and my team have met with, presented to, negotiated with and successfully closed millions of dollars of sales with most of Japan’s household name companies, including: Fujitsu, Honda, Hitachi Shipbuilders, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nippon Steel, Nissan, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Toyota. Success has usually come from doing the same things our Japanese competitors do, i.e. traveling around Japan to visit customer sites, getting to understand customers and what they are trying to achieve, understanding how our products and services can solve customers’ requirements, delivering on our commitments and helping customers quickly integrate our products into their systems.