THE global Covid-19 pandemic has affected face-to-face business interactions between buyers and exporters, thus interrupting the traditional business model.

Companies are no longer able to send their export representatives across the borders to solicit for orders due to travel restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Coronavirus. This has posed a great deal of challenges to those companies intending to explore new markets for their products. The situation calls for a new paradigm shift of doing business if companies are to maintain viable operations.

This means local companies must explore other new innovative ways to remain in business. The country’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, is facilitating business-to business (B2B) matchmaking with international buyers to promote international trade. Match-making is defined as the process of matching two or more companies together for the purpose of creating a business relationship. This process ensures that the companies that are interested in having exchange of economic value are put in contact with their potential counterparts. The match-making services is done to increase an organisation’s export sales volume through matching the companies with high quality leads, making the business process more efficient, signing new deals onsite, obtaining new agencies and representations, establishing a strong presence across the globe and forming new strategic partnerships.

In its quest to ensure the growth of the national exports, ZimTrade has created a platform that saves the exporters’ valuable time and money by identifying prospects that match the exporters’ needs without having to travel to the market. The trade agency assists business in identifying the end users, agent/distributors, or other potential partners by providing a list of companies that clients can then contact directly to initiate the business relationships.

These lists of foreign companies are derived from a variety of resources, chief among them being the marketing research done annually across the markets and the trade promotional organisations (TPOs) from each country. The company lists include basic contact information including company name, address, telephone number, name of contact person, title, email, brief company description, and company’s website if available. ZimTrade has pledged to continuously review and verify the information for accuracy purposes.

As such, it is important to note that where traditional business models sell products and/or services, match-making models sell reduces transaction costs. Exporters are, thus, encouraged to engage ZimTrade for assistance in identifying the product distributors for their products to improve their chances of clinching business deals.

When the exporters engage ZimTrade for the match-making services, the trade agency will contact or pre-screen the companies on the list to determine if they are interested in the company’s products/services and then proceed to schedule online meetings for the client. ZimTrade has said it will help exporters to work only with pre-qualified international partners that are interested in selling their products.

ZimTrade is offering match-making services for companies intending to do businesses with countries such as Malawi, Botswana, Zambian, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo. Exporters are, therefore, encouraged to use the match-making services to meet and engage with qualified buyers online in their areas of interest and strengthen their business relationships.

– Originally published in the latest ZimTrade newsletter