Alejandro (Alex) Zepeda

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Selling Stretch Film Over the Border

Posted by Alejandro (Alex) Zepeda on Tue, Apr 09, 2013

It is easy to assume that regardless of where a sale is taking place, the process is the same.  However, this is not the case.  Selling stretch film in Mexico, for example, is much different than selling stretch film within the United States.

I have personally worked with customers at the border, and the sales experience was much different than I had originally anticipated.  I was required to approach the sale with a global understanding, using different methodology than I was accustomed to.  In the U.S., a sale requires more direct interaction with the distributor.  For instance, a lot of effort is spent quoting the majority of the end users individually.  Of course, plants are bigger in the U.S. than they are in Mexico.  Therefore, they are worthy of the extra investment.  However, in Mexico, you are able to utilize the price given by a certain distributor and work around their volume.  This allows for possible growth and development.  Due to the difficulty of this task, training and international proficiency are imperative to success.

Although sales over the border are possible, they can pose many challenges.  For example, the likelihood of obtaining a trial roll or skid in Mexico is minimal.  Hence, it is vital to stay with the distributor's rep consistently over a prolonged period of time.  Only then will he or she be prepared to tackle a big end user without assistance.

Secondly, the negotiations of a sell can be quite difficult.  This stage is considered the most arduous part of the job.  Once you are able to successfully test the stretch film, you will need to present the results in a practical way.  Basically, you must prove that your stretch film can fit into the buyer’s existing system.  Sometimes, the buyer does not recognize the economical benefits regardless of the 10 to 30% savings per month that you may be offering.  Cost per unit is the key, but you must consider the fact that approximately 90% of Mexican companies still have a price per pound mentality.  With this mentality, regardless of the film gauge or footage you are offering, the buyer may not be convinced.  In addition to the previously mentioned challenges, there are also extra costs that Mexican distributors must consider.  For example: Import tax, additional freight, storage, etc.

At this point, you may have some questions.  How do you manage to sell a US film in Mexico? What is the best way to deal with the challenges discussed above?  Unfortunately, there are no specific answers.  Every customer you encounter will have different preferences and demands when buying.  These preferences are based on the specific systems each buyer already employs.  These consumers may typically purchase by pound, by roll, by footage, by gauge, by number of skids or even by how many pallets they can wrap.

From the above information, it may seem impossible to sell stretch film in Mexico, but it’s not.  If the distributor is fairly competent, you can sell added value products and keep the brand name in good shape.  There truly are endless business opportunities across the border.  In addition to the commitment and dedication necessary for this kind of transaction, Paragon Sales Representatives also uphold strong ethical principles.  Loyalty and consistency are an important part of the sales process.  Above all, Paragon Sales Reps continuously strive to satisfy the customer.  These characteristics are vital for successful sales domestically and abroad. 


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