Skip Navigation
It's Showtime: Free Export Counseling at Trade Shows
February 27, 2018 Suhail Karim Beg, Business Development Specialist, Office of Small Business
Tagged: Exporting Tips

Businesses typically invest a large portion of their marketing budget in Business-to-Business (B2B) exhibitions at industry trade shows. This expense is understandable as a trade show represents prime time “Showtime” for your products and services. It is a once in a year opportunity to drive brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building. The expense is justified by the value of meeting face-to-face with existing customers, selling your product, and the ability to see many prospects at the same time.

Exhibitors often overlook a valuable free service available to them at trade shows. This service provides U.S. companies a leg up in identifying, screening, and meeting potential foreign buyers to grow their business and diversify revenue streams. U.S. trade specialists scour the world in search of new markets and buyers to bring the deal to you, the U.S. exporter. When you are ready to ink the deal, the specialists arrange one-on-one export counseling meetings with trade finance experts from EXIM Bank (EXIM) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to discuss finance options.

The U.S. Commercial Service - International Buyer Program

The U.S. Commercial Service International Buyer Program (USCS IBP) provides this free service, which includes two programs: “Showtime” and “Matchmaking.”  The IBP is a coordinated U.S. government and private industry effort attracting thousands of international buyers to the United States for B2B matchmaking with U.S. exporters exhibiting at major industry trade shows. The USCS IBP “Showtime" program works closely with EXIM and SBA trade finance experts to arrange Business-to-Government (B2G) export counseling meetings. If these meetings close the deal, the result is more jobs here at home.

You will need to visit the “International Page” at the trade show you plan on attending and follow the links for “IBP” and “Showtime” to register. Here is a list of IBP Shows for 2018 where EXIM trade finance experts will be available for one-on-one counseling meetings.

EXIM IBP Shows 2018.jpg

The B2G “Showtime” Program in Brief

Commercial specialists are on hand from select U.S. Embassies and Consulates from countries representing the foreign buyer delegations. You can also schedule meetings with trade finance specialists from EXIM and the SBA in advance of the show if you already have a deal in hand. These devoted U.S. civil servants are experts in the commercial sectors of your industry and trade finance.

Showtime appointments last 20 minutes only, so come prepared with questions to ask of the experts. Learn more about EXIM and SBA financial products by checking out the brochures available in the International Business Center. During your Showtime appointment, you will learn about market opportunities and financial challenges related to selling your product. Whether you have a deal in hand or just want to be prepared to offer "open account" credit terms to prospective buyers, you will learn how financing options available from EXIM and SBA can help your business grow.

If you are too busy selling to customers visiting your booth, the experts can come to you for your Showtime appointment. Alternatively, you can meet in the relative quiet of the International Business Center, normally centrally located within the exhibition halls. While there is no fee to participate, all products and services must contain at least 51 percent U.S. content.

The B2B “Matchmaking” Program in Brief

Meeting qualified international buyers before and after the show is as easy as clicking an “opt in” box when registering for the B2B Matchmaking Program. Your company profile goes into a handy Export Interest Directory that allows buyers and U.S. exporters to connect. U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world share your company profile with prescreened international buyers and distributors. This generates even more leads at the trade show providing an even greater return on the cost of your booth.

Are you just returning from a trade show that did not have an IBP presence? Were you too busy selling and perhaps lost deals because you could not offer "open account" credit terms to your buyers? If so, contact EXIM and we can arrange for one of our trade finance specialists to call you.

Get a Free Export Finance Consultation Today!