Created on March 18, 2013
Are you interested in exporting to a new market? Need help finding the best overseas business partner?
The U.S. Commercial Service’s Gold Key business matchmaking service does exactly that. The Gold Key Service is a cost-recovery fee based, customized matchmaking service, which enables U.S. companies to find an ideal overseas distributor or business representative. The Gold Key is provided through your local U.S Export Assistance Center  which works with the U.S. Embassy in the country of interest.
For larger countries, that require multiple distributors/business partners, the Gold Key Service is offered specifically for the geographic area you would like to target. The service pre-screens and organizes a day or two of meetings with 3-5 potential partners which you then fly out to meet. A Gold Key can take 6-8 weeks to complete so planning ahead is necessary.
Where is the value?
As you can imagine, U.S. companies find this service very valuable because they receive pre-scheduled meetings with pre-qualified distributors vetted by an in-country Commercial Specialist at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, prior to traveling to the market. Obviously no business partner is absolutely perfect but every effort is made to identify a compatible relationship.
Most companies that come to us for assistance are trying to identify a business partner that will help them gain a foothold in the market, establish their U.S. brand, and pave the way for long term and repeat export sales.
Business is all about creating the right relationships. In international business, this is even more important; those working for you halfway around the world need to be credible and able to meet the high standards you have as a U.S. company.
Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center (located in more than 100 U.S. cities) to determine what International Trade Specialist would be best suited to help you.
Your assigned Trade Specialist will provide you with a Gold Key questionnaire where you will describe your ideal business partner and your company's products/services.
The Trade Specialist will share your form with the Commercial Specialist on the ground, to determine if they can complete the Gold Key within the time frame requested.
Your Trade Specialist will schedule a conference call with our overseas commercial specialist and you, to discuss the potential Gold Key. Based on their market insight the Commercial Specialist will explain if they believe there is a market for your product/service in that county.
If the Gold Key is deemed appropriate you will then provide the Commercial Specialist with product literature and an introduction letter that they will share with potential business partners.
Based on the criteria you outlined in your Gold Key questionnaire, the Commercial Specialist will reach out to potential partners and schedule meetings, on your behalf.
Travel to the target market to meet with these prospective partners.
At the completion of your business meetings you will debrief with the Commercial Specialist and discuss next steps.
Gold Key meetings offer a high probability of success because time is taken to identify your ideal business partner and then due diligence is conducted, by our overseas colleagues, to make sure these potentials are reputable and willing to do business with you.
For more information on the Gold Key , pricing, and other business matchmaking services available to you please contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center.
The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. Iris Kapo is one of the many trade professionals located in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.