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Supplier Global Resource Magazine March/April 2012 : Page 51

United States. To be sure, there are similarities, especially given that about 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of the border, according to the CIA World Factbook. But subtle cultural distinc-tions exist, and U.S. suppliers would do well to be aware of them. “Canadians for the most part are used to dealing with U.S. companies and used to being treated the same as Americans,” Turner says. “It’s not necessarily off-putting, but what really stands out is when a company makes an effort to understand the differences; that can really be a differentiating factor and can boost the sales. Understanding how big and diverse Canada is is something that can’t be taken too lightly.” That includes differences in the business culture. Technol-ogy has made communication more efficient, but also less per-sonal. Americans are fine with this. But simply making an effort of personal outreach can put you in favor with your potential Canadian partners. “Take the time to visit the distributors,” Turner says. “The contact will go a long way. When someone goes to visit a dis-tributor and makes the effort to reach out and basically touch them, the customer at that point doesn’t feel like they’re work-ing with an American company — they feel like they’re working with a partner.” It’s also important to understand the geographical distinctions. “Y ou can almost picture a bit of a mirror,” Cumming says. “If you think of Portland, Seattle, that kind of mindset, that’s more like Vancouver, which is just north of them. Toronto, we’re more like New Y ork or Chicago. The midsection, like Saskatchewan and Alberta, are more like the Dakotas. It’s kind of a mirror, which makes it a little more understandable for someone from the U.S.” Familiarity with the various regions can help you determine where to market particular products. Apparel is the largest prod-uct category, but the type of apparel you sell may play better in some places than others. Alberta is in the Canadian Rockies and is home to major deposits of oil sands. Because the people there tend to live a rugged, outdoor lifestyle, heavier, work-oriented outerwear plays better there than in, say, Toronto. “Generally if you’re a supplier of standard stuff like bags and pens, you don’t have to worry so much,” Cumming says. “But I wouldn’t want to go into the middle of nowhere in Canada and sell a cool high-tech product. Pick the market you want to sell into so you target the right market for your product. If it’s electronics, I would pick the bigger cities like Montreal and Toronto. If you’re doing green products, I would go to Vancou-ver because that appeals more to that crowd.” SGR/9000 Way-Fun, Way Affordable Products that exceed your expectations. • Export experts • Professional designers • Excellent quality control Find the right products at the right price. Call +86-595-22892506, or visit to learn more. WWW.SUPPLIERGLOBALRESOURCE.COM MARCH/APRIL 2012 51

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