Blog Export: Five reasons to call on’ ECAs
Export: Five reasons to call on’ ECAs

Export: Five reasons to call on’ ECAs

Brussels-based companies can rely on’ international network to launch or grow internationally.  Its economic and commercial attachés (ECA) are present on every continent. Their mission is to enable your company to seize the business opportunities available in their area of competence. Would you like to expand your horizons to Berlin? New York? Tokyo? Contact them!

Their expertise in their local market, their networks and their privileged contacts with the institutions of their host countries are all reasons why the ECAs are precious, even essential, contacts for export projects. 

Our ECAs return to Brussels in September 2020

Exporting requires in-depth planning. The current economic climate shouldn’t stop you from starting to lay down the foundations for tomorrow’s growth projects. In fact, our entire international network will return to Brussels virtually in September to present their regions’ assets…

Here are five reasons why it would be a shame not to meet with them.

1) Our ECAs are a goldmine of information

Exporting to a foreign country requires solid research upstream:

  • target market macroeconomic data: growth, the country’s openness to foreign trade, customs duty rates (for countries outside of the European Union), etc.

  • data about your business sector: is your sector booming? Or is it underdeveloped?

Our ECAs update this information in real time and can answer all of your questions.

2) Our ECAs identify you potential partners

It isn’t always easy to enter a market when you’ve never been there. Creating a network on site takes time, and travel can quickly become very expensive. In addition, language can also be an obstacle to making contact.

The ECAs can handle all of these difficulties. They know their local market and its key players well. They are usually fluent in the local language and are in contact with the local market and its key players. Thanks to these assets, they can provide you with the contact information of the right people to develop your business. 

The people resources identified by the ECAs can also be members of government if, for example, you want to target public markets.  

3) Our ECAs know the competition and market prices

Being far from you export market makes analysis more complicated: are there already similar goods and services on the market? Which product range are they in? What are their price points? Our ECAs can provide you with information about companies that already provide the goods and services on the market and how you can set yourself apart from them.

4) Our ECAs will facilitate meetings and visits in the field

In addition to identifying contacts, your ECA can also help you schedule meetings with them. It can be difficult to meet with certain companies and organisations in some countries. The ECA can act as an intermediary and facilitate appointments, or even visit the company for you, if you prefer.

5) Our ECAs organise collective actions

Together with the Area Managers in Brussels, the ECAs organise a range of missions in other countries (trade shows, fairs as well as sector and multisector economic missions). The missions can target one or several sectors, depending on requests and needs. Depending on the type of missions you take part in, you will be able to present your goods and services in the other countries, take part in B2B and B2G sessions and, perhaps, already sign some contracts.

Meet with an ECA: 5 tips for a successful meeting

The best way to understand how the ECAs can help you is to meet with them. The entire ECA network returns to Brussels once a year to support your export projects: prepare your meeting and make it count!

Before the meeting

  1. Introspection : What are my company’s strengths and weaknesses; those of my products/services? Why am I convinced that my offering will have international appeal? What differentiates me from my competitors? Try to answer these questions before your meeting.
  2. Desk research: Study your target market in depth before entering it. This includes the legal and regulatory environment and any potential competition. Get an initial understanding of what to expect then compare your research with the ECA’s. Research your customers, suppliers and potential partners to become familiar with the market.
  3. Basic marketing kit : business cards, email address, website: be sure that all of the information is up to date and available in several languages, at least in English. This will make it easier for the ECA to sell you to their contacts.

The meeting

  1. Pitch: Do you know how to sell? It’s the ECA’s job to find out: before becoming your advisor, the ECA will be your customer. You have to convince them of the quality of your products/services, about you company’s ability to work with foreign customers, and about the competitiveness of your offering to ensure that you are credible enough to warrant their support. Accept their comments, their requests for additional information and be clear about your expectations. Don’t get discouraged if the ECA doesn’t believe that your project is mature enough yet. That will ensure that you don’t take on unreasonable risks.

After the meeting

  1. Contact: Stay in touch with our ECA on site. Their relationships will help you find prospects and develop your sales faster while providing relevant up-to-date information.

Do you want to contact one of our economic and commercial attachés?

Search by continent and schedule a meeting! Do you want to stay up to date with the latest export news? Subscribe to our monthly international newsletter.

More news on our blog

Interview with Martin Duchateau, founder of “Made in Louise”
Culture, tourism & events

Interview with Martin Duchateau, founder of “Made in Louise”

Posted on 02/07/2021
Interview with Martin Duchateau, founder of “Made in Louise”
Impact of Covid-19 on female entrepreneurs in Brussels

Impact of Covid-19 on female entrepreneurs in Brussels

Posted on 08/06/2021
Impact of Covid-19 on female entrepreneurs in Brussels
Women entrepreneurship: 3 engaging webinars for exporting outside Europe

Women entrepreneurship: 3 engaging webinars for exporting outside Europe

Posted on 04/06/2021
Women entrepreneurship: 3 engaging webinars for exporting outside Europe