When selling overseas, your sales reps may find that foreign customers balk at your long delivery times. To prove that it's just as easy and speedy to buy from your company as it is to buy from a local supplier, give foreign customers the same delivery guarantees that you give your American customers. That's what the former vice-president of sales and marketing for ELF Machinery discovered when he first called on prospects in the United Kingdom.

"We kept our 10-day delivery promise by shipping by air rather than ocean," says Jeff Ake. "It was really expensive, but it was worth it because it impressed customers and showed them we were serious about selling in their country."

After a year, the $25-million company, a manufacturer of bottling equipment in LaPorte, Ind., had built up enough business to justify investing in an overseas warehouse. With warehoused inventory ready to go, ELF saves money by shipping by sea and still keeps its delivery promises.