In a typical export exchange, everything starts when you receive an inquiry about one or more of your products. That inquiry may include a request for a quotation.
If the inquiry came from a domestic prospect, you probably have a standard quotation form to use. However, in an international transaction, your quote would be provided as a proforma invoice. That’s because your international prospect may need a proforma invoice to arrange for financing, to open a letter of credit, to apply for the proper import licenses, and more.
A proforma invoice looks a lot like a commercial invoice, and if you complete it correctly, they will be very similar indeed. A proforma invoice specifies the following:
• The buyer and seller in this transaction.
• A detailed description of the goods.
• The Harmonized System classification of those goods.
• The price.
• The payment term of the sale which would typically be expressed as one of the 11 current Incoterms.
• The delivery details including how and where the goods will be delivered and how much that will cost.
• The currency used in the quote, whether it’s U.S. dollars or some other currency.
Be sure to date your proforma invoice and include an expiration date. There can be a lot of volatility in the export process, so minimize your risk by setting a specific time frame for your quote.