Generally, the process of obtaining the exporter order follows the sequence of the step given below:
1. The exporter locates a trade inquiry i.e., he/she comes across the detail of a foreign buyers who is willing to import the item (s). The exporter may get these details through any of the following ways:
a. Web site of the importer firms.
b. Visit to the exporter’s web site by an interested foreign buyers.
c. Participation in a trade fair/ visit to a trade fair by the exporter.
d. Business promotion visit to a foreign country.
e. Contact with a buying agent in the exporter’s country.
f. Exporter’s own retail outlet in the foreign country.
g. Contact with the overseas marketing agent.
h. Circulation of the trade inquiry by the trade promotion body in the exporter’s country. For example, in India, India trade promotion Organization, various chambers of commerce, export promotion councils and the commodity boards circulate the trade inquiries received by them from the foreign firms.
2. On receipt of the trade enquiry, the exporter sends his/her company profile, product profile and the promotional literature of his/her product range to know the interest of the buyer.
3. The buyer may like to have the details of a certain product of his/her choice from the exporter.
4. The exporters send the quotation in respect of the product of interest to the buyer. This quotation contains the basic details like its FOB price, mode of payment, photograph of the item along with its specification and the likely delivery time.
5. On receipt of this basic information, the foreign buyer puts forward his/her requirements as regard the design, size, finish or other specification of the product in view. Once the product has been identify, then the process of negotiations of the other item and conditions begins. It is very likely that these terms and condition be negotiated only as result of personal meeting between the exporter and the foreign buyer particularly if the exporter happens to be a new exporter.
6. The exporter sends the Proforma invoice to the foreign buyer setting out in detail the term and conditions negotiated between the two parties. This Performa in-voice represents the ‘offer to sell’ made by the exporter.
7. The importer conveys his/her ‘acceptance’ of ‘offer to sell’ to the exporter on the Performa invoice originally sent by the exporter. It however, not essential for the offer and acceptance to be on the proforma invoice. These could be in the form of exchange of letters as well.