Among Internet based brokers and agents the LOI is commonly advanced as a leading inquiry document. This protocol is utterly incorrect, and misuse of the LOI is often seen by experienced Exporters as a mark of an amateur. Letters of Intent are not standard international business documents, though they do legitimately pop up rarely, much less often than most brokers believe.
The point is that the often_heard notion and claims by some sellers or their overzealous agents and brokers that the use of the LOI to initiate a purchasing proposal by a buyer "is how it is usually done and this is how it should be," may be applicable and prudent only in the minds, the imagination, and hopes or dreams of those sellers, especially the more marginal ones and their brokers and agents who operate on the fringes largely on the Internet. It is NOT a view that is shared by the broad spectrum of credible buyers, more especially when the "sellers" involved are largely unknown and obscure operators.