Now that the U.S. economy is rising, many business executives, are going to give serious consideration to taking their US based business on the across the US boarders.

Trade missions are frequently mentioned in the how-to-export literature as a sure fire way to quickly develop sales in foreign markets.  As with most things written about in the general business press, the reality is quite significantly different than the perception.  Unfortunately, this is the problem for many small and medium sized companies.

First of all, there is a persistent notion that merely bringing business people together will result in business deals.  Business development specialists frequently make this argument and are often very persuasive.  However, anybody who has ever actually sponsored a trade mission or overseas business development conference and then taken the time to do a follow up evaluation will readily tell you that the results are quite often mixed, even in the most optimistic scenarios.  IBS will follow-up after each trade mission to prepare analysis for the customer, assist in legal contracting through its network of consultants and legal members.

There exists, in the minds of too many people, the notion that most business deals are actually done in what are social situations; grown men playing golf, women executives getting together for lunch, after hours cocktail parties etc.  For this, we have Hollywood writers to blame.  While all of these occasions can be a part of the give and take of developing a business relationship, they are often not the focal point upon which “closing a deal” exists.  There are many complicated factors that go into making a buying decision, or closing a business deal across national borders. Therefore, it is not realistic to assume that merely bringing the parties together in the same physical space with free or cheap alcoholic drinks will supersede these other very important issues.

Business development specialists will argue that the trade mission is an integral part of the international marketing mix. Historically, this has been true to some extent.  What has been true is the fact that industry organization sponsored trade missions are probably more successful than those sponsored by government agencies.

Trade missions are supposed to be about developing trade opportunities. However, once government agencies become involved, the mission of the trade mission has been fundamentally changed.  The reason for this is very simple. Trade missions sponsored by private industry groups tend to pick venues and choose local partners who have the necessary expertise to produce successful events.  Industry organizations represent the industry and are not beholden to other private political interests.

When government agencies become involved, the actual reason for doing the trade mission may have nothing at all to do with the particular industry selected or the actual companies selected to participate in these events. To suggest that this is troublesome is an understatement.  Politics, especially international politics, and business do not mix.

IBS has many years of experience in trade missions private and or government sectors, IBS understands how to keep it separate to succeed with its clients.

Trade missions are designed to transport business executives into a foreign business environment within the “protective umbrella” of the mission itself. The mission itself compensates for the inherent weakness of many individual executives with little or no foreign business experience.

In order for your venture into a trade mission to be successful, you have to be open minded. If you are open to the aforementioned ideas, then you will be able to successfully participate in a trade mission and accrue tangible benefits.