Top international sales manager skills needed to get the job.

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Host

What are the top 3 traits or skills every international sales manager must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your international sales manager expertise?

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Bob G in Pompano Beach, Florida

119 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every international sales manager must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your international sales manager expertise?

People skills -multi cultural tolerance for other cultures

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robert Goodbar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

115 months ago

I have been in International sales my whole professional life -- some 34 years I have done business in and visited over 90 countries including countries in the Middle East and Africa There is no rocket science here
1-People MUST like and trust you.If you do not have this quality it just wont work
2-You must be very flexible/adaptable and try to know a little bit about each culture that you visit.Try and learn some history so that there will be common ground
3-Honesty in all your dealings You cannot be ethical on Monday but not on tUESDAY
My mentor a long long time ago left me with the following advise
"NEVER FIND YOURSELF IN A POSITION WHERE YOU NEED TO CROSS THE STREET TO THE OPPOSITE SIDEWALK WHEN AN OLD CUSTOMER IS WALKING TOWARDS YOU"
Trust in International business is like water to a fish lANGUAGE SKILLS ARE VERY DESIRABLE However there is a Universal language that is unspoken but understood

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Erick de Miranda in Littleton, Colorado

115 months ago

robert Goodbar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: I have been in International sales my whole professional life -- some 34 years I have done business in and visited over 90 countries including countries in the Middle East and Africa There is no rocket science here
1-People MUST like and trust you.If you do not have this quality it just wont work
2-You must be very flexible/adaptable and try to know a little bit about each culture that you visit.Try and learn some history so that there will be common ground
3-Honesty in all your dealings You cannot be ethical on Monday but not on tUESDAY
AMEN Robert 100% on the money.
Regards
Erick

My mentor a long long time ago left me with the following advise
"NEVER FIND YOURSELF IN A POSITION WHERE YOU NEED TO CROSS THE STREET TO THE OPPOSITE SIDEWALK WHEN AN OLD CUSTOMER IS WALKING TOWARDS YOU"
Trust in International business is like water to a fish lANGUAGE SKILLS ARE VERY DESIRABLE However there is a Universal language that is unspoken but understood

100% Correct !

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sdr in Columbia, Tennessee

114 months ago

robert Goodbar in Fort Lauderdale, Florida said: I have been in International sales my whole professional life -- some 34 years I have done business in and visited over 90 countries including countries in the Middle East and Africa There is no rocket science here
1-People MUST like and trust you.If you do not have this quality it just wont work
2-You must be very flexible/adaptable and try to know a little bit about each culture that you visit.Try and learn some history so that there will be common ground
3-Honesty in all your dealings You cannot be ethical on Monday but not on tUESDAY
My mentor a long long time ago left me with the following advise
"NEVER FIND YOURSELF IN A POSITION WHERE YOU NEED TO CROSS THE STREET TO THE OPPOSITE SIDEWALK WHEN AN OLD CUSTOMER IS WALKING TOWARDS YOU"
Trust in International business is like water to a fish lANGUAGE SKILLS ARE VERY DESIRABLE However there is a Universal language that is unspoken but understood

Hello Robert,
I would like to get back into international business and would like to know if you or any companies you know of are looking for someone.

I have international business experience, specialize in business development and have a masters degree.

Regards,
Steven
stevenrasberry@gmail.com

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Jeff Dziura in Westmont, Illinois

112 months ago

I also agree with Robert Goodbar. I've only been doing International for 13 years compared to his 34, but I have been called upon many times to present to people/companies on the art of this field. I must say that I've always stressed the points that Robert states.

I'm waiting for the demand for professionals such as us to increase. The timing is most certainly right. Unfortunately, there are far too few small to medium size companies here in the States that are aware/willing to cross borders to increase their revenues. And as Robert can surely testify from his experiences, it underscores how myopic our culture can be.

Lastly, it amazes me how small this community of International Business Development professionals really is; not to mention how difficult it can be to move from one company to another or cross-industry.

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Jose M Huyke

111 months ago

I agree with Robert and Jeff. I have been in International sales over 20 years and would not trade it. The comunity of international business development professionals is very small. Many companies seems not to value the special skills needed to be an effective international business development professional and that these skills are more important than the industry knowledge. Jeff and Robert if you are interested let's link at linknet and start a chat/forum about the issues and opportunities in our field. My e-mail is jmhuyke@aol.com

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James R. in Coachella, California

108 months ago

Hello,

I also have some international business development experience with a Fortune 500 company. But the role I did with this employer was a little of over a year, and it has been over 7 years since I've done it. My experience since then has been a combination of operations and business to business sales. I am passionate about international business and want to get back in it. I am for networking and starting a chat forum like Jose's idea. Any tips on international opportunities are greatly appreciated.

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daniel.duran@*****.*** in Denver, Colorado

107 months ago

We have been trying to reach you. Please contact us regarding a past opportunity presented by David Duran. This is Daniel Duran of Diamond Hills Performance Products ` "FullON" Performance Additive.

Thank You,
Daniel

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daniel.duran@*****.*** in Denver, Colorado

107 months ago

daniel.duran@diamondhillsservices.com in Denver, Colorado said: We have been trying to reach you. Please contact us regarding a past opportunity presented by David Duran. This is Daniel Duran of Diamond Hills Performance Products ` "FullON" Performance Additive.

Thank You,
Daniel

This was directed to Erick De Miranda, sorry for the confusion.

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juan-carlos in Miami, Florida

104 months ago

I am an experienced International Territory Manager who is interested in relocating to almost any Latin American country, preferably Colombia. I have 5 years of International Sales experience with more than 1 fortune 500 company. I am fluent in Spanish and am very willing to learn Portuguese if necessary. If you know of anyone that is looking for an experienced Business Development Manager that can be relocated to Latin America to open up or expand operations, please let me know. I require very little relocation assistance.

Cordially,
Juan-Carlos
juancarlosmestre@hotmail.com

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robertgoodbar@*****.*** in Pompano Beach, Florida

104 months ago

Well I have not been back here for along time I would love to set up an International forum as really most people have no clue as to how different it is to do business overseas _ I am now trying to create an International (latin america) division for a company --Talking about "going against the wind" wow
So in union there is force lets create a forum

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selasi in accra, Ghana

104 months ago

Hello,

I also have some international business development experience with nexans company. I have been in this role only two year.I have an engineering background and fluent in french and english. I am passionate about international business.I will be grateful for any information on international business opportunities.

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Aquacura in Lewisville, Texas

103 months ago

"there are far too few small to medium size companies here in the States that are aware/willing to cross borders to increase their revenues."

and

"Lastly, it amazes me how small this community of International Business Development professionals really is; not to mention how difficult it can be to move from one company to another or cross-industry."

This above quotes by Jeff, pretty tells me or confirms what I am facing being an International Business Professional. I am the International Sales Manager for a top leader of its industry here in the US and it amazes me too that the company is relunctant to expand overseas while its competitors have already set their manufacturing facilities all over the world. It's tough!

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Shane Solomon in Birmingham, Alabama

100 months ago

I have been an international sales professional for 4 years now and it is very true that your personal integrity is what counts with your customers. Your clients have to sense your credibility and trust your insights and ideas. I love this career path and think it is an underappreciated set of skills that make one successful in international sales.

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Kristina in Ypsilanti, Michigan

99 months ago

Hello Gentlemen,
if you are considering yourself a special breed, than I am a true rarity :-)
I have been in International Sales business for 15 years and I am a woman. My specialty is furniture and related accessories.
I am also looking for a company who wants to take their business global and so far, it's been very difficult.
I am employed at the moment with French manufacturer, selling products in North America, but ....it's hard working for French.
So, I have decided to go get my masters in Spanish and Int'l trade. I hope this will increase my chances. There are many companies out there looking for Spanish/Portugese speaking professionals. Mind you I do speak Russian ad Italian fluently.

However, as it's been mentioned here already it is so hard to cross-industry! I could be selling shoes or bags just as successfully, but these companies think my experience doesn't match!

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Jose M Huyke

99 months ago

Hi Kristina. Congaratulations for the success all those years. It not easy for a woman(no ofence intended). I can relate to you as I have been more than 20 years in international business developing new markets in different industires. My experience is that in International business your knowledge of the country culture, your sensitivity to it and contacts is more impoprtant than the particular knowledge of a given industry, but unfortunately many companies do not see it that way. I have succesfully penetrated new markets in a viriety of industries and know that jumping industries can be done successfully. Hang in there and keep looking your golden opportunity is just around the corner.
Jose

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Roberto Goodbar in Pompano Beach, Florida

98 months ago

Hi Kristina where did you get the idea that we consider (at least me) ourselves "a special breed"?This is a chosen profession and one that at least to me has been very good -my definition of International sales is sales to many different countries that mandate travel to these many different countries on a "regular basis"
I have been blessed to have traveled to and sold into over 92 countries places as diverse as Cameroon/Hungary/Brunei etc And my personal definition of an International Sales "person" is someone that can be "parachuted" into an unknown region and be successful.
So Kristine we are not members of a rare breed we are in a chosen profession which has very few "rules of engagement" requires a lot of personal sacrifice (periods away from family,overnight flights lousy hotels,) lets not overlook coups,revolutions,riots etc etc.I have dealt with various successful ladies in my industry (graphic arts)So good luck to you

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Kristina in Ypsilanti, Michigan

98 months ago

Dear Roberto,
when I say "special breed", I mean it jokingly. No matter what country/-ies you operate in, people always appreciate good sense of humor...
I guess, that's all I can say in reply to your kind post.

Kristina

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Kristina in Ypsilanti, Michigan

98 months ago

Hi Jose,

thank you very much for your post and kind words of support.
May I ask what industries you did happen to work in? I hope it is not too personal. Just trying to see which ones can be successfully jumped from and to.

Good luck to you as well in your career jorney.
Kristina

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Jeff Dziura in Clarendon Hills, Illinois

98 months ago

There are few hard and fast rules that either qualify the person or define the background necessary to succeed in international business development (sales). I suggest that knowing your industry and your product/services inside and out and being able to CLEARLY transfer information across mutiple cultures is a requisite.

One could posses a high "CQ" (Cultural Intelligence), be well traveled and multi-lingual and still not be able to establish good business if they lack the skills to transfer information in such a way as to gain their international partner's confidence and trust in "the deal".

Integrity, honesty, knowledge and communication skills are required. I would say, in today's world, anyone possessing that combination of traits could be considered "a special breed".

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Kristina in Ypsilanti, Michigan

98 months ago

Great, Jeff, and straight to the point.One of those concise and successful "30 second elevator speeches" that hit the target.

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Jose M Huyke

98 months ago

Hi Kristina, do not worry those questions are perfectly understandable. I have a BSEE with an MBA in international marketing and finance. I started in international business development in the Engineering and construction industry specifically Instrumentation and control for oil and gas, Jumped to HVAC (air conditioning)but in the cHVAC controls and energy management. Next jump was for laundry equipment; here I cover the industrial laundry commercial laundry(laundromat) and consumer laudry (home washer & dryers) That part of the business was really interesting and enjoyable. Next move was to Vending Machines for snack and coffee and back to industrial controls. Full cycle and I enjoyed avery minute of it. Right now although I still cover the controls area I am helping a foreign company introduce a new product in the industrial coating market, so far going very well. Been around for a while.
Good luck in your search, If I can be of any help just let me know.
Jose

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JEFF L. in Cordova, Tennessee

94 months ago

Simplifying the complex, being a good translator between the corporate US culture you operate in and the culture you are selling to, developing a "relationship" with the customer, seeing the customer in person, knowing who you are and where you are from but being open to transforming yourself and accepting that life operates in gray areas.

Cheers,
Jeff L.

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Jason in Oakland, California

92 months ago

I will be very careful been an American (anglo specially) going to a different country since the last 3 years there had been rumors about Al-quaeda followers to hurt or kill American around Europa, Asia and middle east. You must not only know the international business, but you should be very careful this day.

Good Luck to all American anglo out there before you take an international job position be sure that you purchased a very good life insurance.

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roberto 1247 in Pompano Beach, Florida

92 months ago

Stay in bed!! Dont leave your house!! What a lot of nonsense!! for if we cower then they won ALWAYS be cautious be careful I have been traveling 37 years been to 92 countries AM 62 still traveling I love it and no bunch of extremist scum will ever make me stop!!!!! my advise has always been the same" DONT DO IN A FOREIGN CITY WHAT YOU WOULD NOT DO IN YOUR OWN CITY"

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Shane in Birmingham, Alabama

92 months ago

Exactly! Nonsense! I've been in alot more danger in Chicago and New York than in any of the 28 countries I have visited. Use common sense and enjoy this entire world... Life is too short to hide out at home!

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roberto 1247 in Pompano Beach, Florida

92 months ago

Amen well said I live 42 miles outside Miami there are sections where there is no way I would go!! Just use common sense dont be "ugly American blend in as much as possible keep a low profile I can count the "tense" moments in my 37 years of travel on one hand most were self inflicted and as a result of "stupid youth syndrome" amaldy that afflicts most men between the ages of 27-40 where they think they are invincible

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JEFF L in Germantown, Tennessee

92 months ago

So, based on this logic these people would harm someone with a name like Yusuf Islam...and guess what? he is anglo and used to be called Cat Stevens. Just because someone is anglo does not mean they are Christian or anti-Muslim.

Actually, most of the people who are harmed in violence of this kind are actually Muslims due to suicide bombings, etc.

Jason, I hope you are just being naive in your comment. No one in this forum is afraid and we will not let fear dictate how we live our lives. We are actually contributing to society and a better world by being diplomatic and building international relationships.

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roberto 1247 in Pompano Beach, Florida

92 months ago

I agree with all u r saying with the exception of your middle paragraph I cite 9/11 statistics which showed that there was no discrimination Muslims were not targeted just people all kinds of people all colors ages and religious beliefs- these Muslim Islamic whatever u want to call them terrorists do not discriminate kill kill HAVE FAITH WILL TRAVEL

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Heather in West Palm Beach, Florida

91 months ago

Hello Everyone,

It was great reading about your experience and advice relating to this exciting field.

I am a young professional, 25 years old. I work for a medical manufacturing company and last year was advanced into a similar position in which I oversee all International Business, from coordinating incoming orders, to quality improvement to process management, customer service, marketing, outsourcing supplies, etc... which at first was somewhat a daunting task, considering my age and therefore lack of experience, but I needed the challenge and happily accepted.

This opportunity came about as I had already been working for this company in another position which overlapped into international sales, i.e. registering our products to be sold into foreign markets and through international customer service.

In the last year, I've grown tremendously in my professional abilities and it certainly shows in our International Sales. The president of the company nows runs ideas by me first, which is quite a rewarding feeling. I've been to Australia for trade show support for our biggest international client and again will be visiting in the Fall.

Currently, we deal with 90+ countries and all communications are now filtered through me, primarily through emails and occasional phone calls.

In the last 6 months I have successfully opened up business dealings in South America, South Africa, Israel and the Middle East, all new territories for our company.

I am looking to further grow in the field of International Sales and would love to know any of your recommendations of forums, books, etc. that might provide some useful information to me. I am currently seeking my bachelors degree in Business Management as well.

Thank you for reading my post!

Best Regards,
Heather
South Florida

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roberto 1247 in Pompano Beach, Florida

91 months ago

Israel and the Middle East simultaneously that is an accomplishment It sounds like you do not need any advise from us "old timers" rather --what is your secret to dealing with over 90 countries and sell to Israel and the Middle East as well My hats off to u and at such a young age tell me your tricks

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Steven4168 in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

91 months ago

Agrees with Roberto, seems like Heather needs to stay right where she is if she is able to have a product and service to accomplish so much from nothing.

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Heather in West Palm Beach, Florida

91 months ago

Hi Roberto and Steven,

I honestly have no secrets, just hours of research on how to export to various countries, etc. Most of our International leads come from trade show attendance. We exhibit at approximately 9-12 trade shows per year, of which I also coordinate. While the trade shows are within US borders, there are a lot of international visitors- doctors, manufacturing companies, distribution companies, etc. I must also mention that the products we manufacture are a necessity in the medical field, additionally there are only a handful of manufacturers out there dealing these products, so we have a slight advantage in the market.

Our president/ owner is very innovative. He started the company in the mid 80's and has grown tremendously over the years. Our products are easily recognized in many of these countries. We deal through a network of distributors worldwide with exclusivity rights. We are CE and ISO certified as well and maintain these certifications, which gives us great bragging rights.

As for my own personal attributes, all I can say is that I have exceptional communication skills and I try to connect with everyone thus leaving an impression. I take on more of a personal approach. This creates trust and confidence, which as you all know are valuable to the customers. I treat our clients with respect and try to understand their cultures and values, as it sincerely interests me. I try to answer questions as thoroughly and specific as possible as language barriers are always a challenge.

I am a sponge. I absorb everything. I hear everything, see everything and try to understand it all. I worked directly under the president of the company for 3 years, which has also helped. I seek motivation through challenges and foresee being at the forefront of such operations in the future.

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Heather in West Palm Beach, Florida

91 months ago

As for the new territories I've opened up, I spent lots of time researching medical distribution companies in the various countries and offered them distribution if I found our products would compliment those within their current scope. The single biggest challenge I've found so far is the cost of shipping and importing costs imposed on these countries. I recently found a reputable distributor in Lithuania, but working out the shipping logistics is tough. By the time they receive our products, pay for customs and duties, they are making little to no profit, something I just can't seem to get around in certain areas of the world.

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juan-carlos in Miami, Florida

91 months ago

Hi Heather,
You have the right attitude for our career. I too am an International Sales Manager, well kind of since I am currently laid off and need to get back into my career field but things are very ugly in our field right now. One thing that I learned very quickly is that if you don't travel you don't sell. I worked for top tier brands and part of my job was/is to identify opportunities. I identified which were good oppurtunities and also bad opportunities. A good brand can be ruined by the wrong distributor or representative. In your case, if the rep you choose in a country or market does not rep your brand right, it will be extremely difficult to "conquer" that market. I say this because I had to clean up a huge mess in the past and trust me when I tell you it is not easy to change a persons attitude towards a brand when they were already burned by it. Another thing I learned is to always try to protect, when possible, the rep who opened up the ccountry for you. In other words don't sell to the person across the street of your distributor to get a sale in the short run since the market size is only so big. If you do that you will destroy a relationship with your existing distributor to sell a little bit more right now. Always think of the long run not the immediate sale. I know it is very hard to do since an immediate sale in the right time can make a big difference in your number.
Are you currently selling to Venezuela. If not I have a contact that sells medical equipment there and since that country is a pain to do business with it may help you.

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roberto1247 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

91 months ago

Doing busines in Venezuela is not difficult GETTING YOUR MONEY is !!!! I have been travelling for a long time (37+ years) my mentor, with whom I still keep in touch with gave me some sage advise that I like to pass on whenever I can it is very simple "Never be in a situation of having to cross to the opposite sidewalk when you see and old customer walking towards you"
Simple words big message --be honest in your dealings at all times!!!!!
I am thankful that I did all my Middle Eastern Africa travel in the 1990's I am grateful for the experiences of piano lounges on Pan Am 747's Pac Man lounges on Continental airlines DC-10's Being able to get on a plane with a fully assembled 22" chainsaw etc etc I am retired and do consulting now travel is not what it once was however the thrill when I see my old friends and customers is amazing!!!
Good luck in your job hunt

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jandrews113 in Sarasota, Florida

85 months ago

It is very interesting reading your comments, I was laid off early this year after working in Europe as Business Development Manager, Eastern & Western Europe for a Canadian OEM. Any job leads you may have would be greatly appreciated.

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Christine in Houston, Texas

75 months ago

Hi Everyone,

Reading through your posts gives me some much needed peace of mind! The demand for professionals with our unique skill-set is steadily growing, despite the first *real* global economic depression! I say *real* due to the effects of globalization and economic interdependency that has been the catalyst for the demand of International Business professionals.

I have a BA in International Business and a minor in Spanish Language; studied in Barcelona my last semester of undergrad; born/lived/traveled all over the world my entire life (thanks to my dad's occupation in the oil & gas industry). I landed an internship with the International Sales & Marketing division of a global OEM for the oil & gas, power generation, and mining industries and later (despite the downturn that had most companies on a hiring freeze) re-joined them for the past 3 years. I have a sincere passion for International Business and professional experience in International Sales/Marketing, Cross-Cultural Negotiation, and International Trade Compliance, working directly with Master Distributors and End Users in 60+ countries around the world.

I am very interested in the previous posts to start a networking space/chat/forum for International Business professionals... Does anyone know of a forum already in progress? If so, please post the link via response, I would appreciate it greatly. Best of Luck to all.

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Bob in Martin, Tennessee

66 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every international sales manager must have to excel?

Likes to communicate (people person).

Sensitive to the culture of others.

Knows the other person's language.

How can you know your customers unless you speak their language? You might make it past one sale, but you need more to be a success.

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gosling12003@*****.*** in Calgary, Alberta

48 months ago

Jeff Dziura in Westmont, Illinois said: I also agree with Robert Goodbar. I've only been doing International for 13 years compared to his 34, but I have been called upon many times to present to people/companies on the art of this field. I must say that I've always stressed the points that Robert states.

I'm waiting for the demand for professionals such as us to increase. The timing is most certainly right. Unfortunately, there are far too few small to medium size companies here in the States that are aware/willing to cross borders to increase their revenues. And as Robert can surely testify from his experiences, it underscores how myopic our culture can be.

Lastly, it amazes me how small this community of International Business Development professionals really is; not to mention how difficult it can be to move from one company to another or cross-industry.

Yes it surprises me especially with all the media attention to "the necessity of going global"

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