Is it advisable to sell into the USA through agents or distributors?


Good morning, we already export to a few countries, so happy with the basics, but we’re looking to set up exporting our products to the USA market, and would like to understand more how it works over there.

I believe there is a lot of business done through agents, rather than distributors or dealers, and would like to understand more about this. Also, is it advisable to have a company set up in the USA – will this make it easier?



Hi there,

I hope you get an answer to your question shortly.

In the meantime, I recommend also looking at the Institute of Export and International Trade’s helpdesk for more specific advice:

You may also find our webinar on agents and distributors helps in some way:


Hi, I’m Daniel.

I’m Head of Content for Export Worldwide – an online, international marketing portal that helps companies sell into countries across the world, including the US.

Yes, agents and distributors are a viable option, but ¬†they are one of many. With agents and distributors, I would say that you lose a lot of control over how your product/service is marketed, plus there is the issue of how motivated an agent/distributor is to sell your product/service – if they are dealing with more lucrative projects. However, they are ‘on the ground in the US’ and will have a good understanding of the market.

In fact, I’ve written a very comprehensive article for Open to Export that analyses 13 ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ routes into export markets, which I think you will find really useful. The articles give you the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision about how to sell into the competitve US market. Here are the links:

In the meantime, I’d be happy to schedule you in for a demo of Export Worldwie to show you how it can generate customer leads for you consistently throughout the year and not just in the US. If this is something you would like to explore, please contact me direct via email –

I hope my answer has helped.

Export Action Plan