Here is a stripped-down list of indicators that will be helpful in determining how many preconceptions the US SME principal will have to overcome:

  1. The principal is not from the realist camp regarding all the time, money and expertise involved in the rep pioneering a new to market product or service into foreign countries
  2. The principal thinks it is okay to ask the pioneering rep to take a cut in commissions even with the full and redundant knowledge that the subsidy/loan from the rep to the principal was a huge financial sacrifice by the rep
  3. The principal fails to understand how pioneering reps, working on pure commissions, tend to spend more of their time looking for additional customers and KOL’s for those US principals that pay the commissions on time, and less time on those who perpetually pay the owed commissions late
  4. The principal is reluctant to give foreign trade leads to the pioneering rep and, in an example of confusion of tasks, even thinks coordinating manufacturing production schedules of the rep’s foreign customer’s purchase order is part of the rep’s job
  5. The principal thinks it normal for a professional rep, with time-obligations to already existing US clients and foreign customers, to not charge a cost-recovery charge for 6 hours of consulting work on the ERRRQ process that could reveal that the principal is not close to being Export-Ready and Rep-Ready
  6. The principal is surprised to learn that the professional rep can dynamically rep the line or service without being in possession of sensitive IP details or business secrets
  7. The principal doesn’t understand that, in an era of specialization, and time allocation, it is the principal’s staff that must be answering technical questions about its own arcane technology while the rep firm does the job of promotion and marketing into foreign markets and triangulating in KOL’s
  8. The principal doesn’t understand that the pioneering rep is advocating for the foreign buyers
  9. The principal lacks a clear understanding of opportunity costs and the assignment of tasks associated with pioneering products abroad and thus conflates its own compensation (salary) with the pioneering rep’s compensation based on pure commission
  10. The principal’s tendency is to treat foreign customers as secondary in importance to domestic customers and to allot time accordingly
  11. The principal doesn’t understand that in pioneering a product line, which definitionally means no upfront market development fees, there are no obligational minimum orders that a pioneering rep must meet in the LOP/LOP contract.
  12. The principal doesn’t understand that one of the Holy Grails of repping, and especially given the high-risk nature of a LOP/LOP contract and foreign markets, is that principals shall not attempt to make the rep’s foreign customers into house accounts.
  13. The principal doesn’t understand that world cultures reveals much less than what it hides, and that it is especially proficient in hiding things from its own members – including Americans.
  14. The principal doesn’t understand that the rep has to be firm, straight up and fair without being obsequious to the foreign customers
  15. The principal lacks an awareness of how the rep’s foreign distributors taking on his product around the world increases the overall value of its company, and thus how the US pioneering rep must be remunerated should the principal’s company be sold to another company
  16. The principal thinks production capacity equals Export-Readiness and Rep-Readiness while concurrently having a hard time admitting that they might have something new to learn about professional reps, the pioneering process or new efficiencies in exporting
  17. The principal has a difficult time seeing how the Gartner Hype Cycle applies to their company and their products:
  18. The principal lacks the awareness that international trade is a long game and that a US SME, with no parent company’s financial cushion to fall back on, can be prone to prematurely asking for unrealistic order quantities that usually angers, even sometimes frightens, foreign customers
  19. The principal lacks the awareness that no matter how amazing their product is, if they cannot competently engage with the rep’s foreign customers, those foreign customers will blame the rep thus destroying the rep’s ability to introduce other US principal’s products to the rep’s foreign customer networks
  20. The principal lacks a sense of irony if they choose NOT to do coop advertising with the rep’s foreign principals and then wonder why a relative anonymity continues to surround their respective product(s) along with an infrequency of export repurchase orders from foreign customers
  21. The principal has a hard time grasping the fact that with no market development fees being provided to the pioneering rep, the whole dynamic of the LOP/LOP is its fundamental bassackwardness:the rep is actually subsidizing the principal’s export process
  22. The principal has IP, but does not see the value of clinical studies; the company has a unique technology and/or brand, but does not understand the importance of it being in a category with existing or ascending demand
  23. The principal doesn’t understand that by going to international markets without having to pay salary and benefits to an in-house, Direct Field Sales Employee (DFSE) international specialist, their export-price will be lower
  24. The principal doesn’t understand that while higher export prices might make some products more desirable (a Veblen good), the US SME first has to shred its brand’s international anonymity coupled with years of international market presence
  25. The principal can’t grasp the concept that in lieu of stock, or market development funds, the compensation to the rep in LOP/LOP contract is an equitable and just reward for the rep’s disproportionate sweat and creative equity in pioneering the principal’s product to the rep’s customers into foreign countries.