How to get the most out of your trade mission

Want to develop an international project and take part in a trade mission to test out your target market? That’s a sound business decision! To help you prepare, our team of Acclr international trade experts shares their tips for before, during, and after your mission.

The golden rule

“A trade mission is obviously an investment for the exporter, but if they take the time to thoroughly prepare and plan, it can be an opportunity to expand their business.”
- Erandi Motte Cortés, Director, Market and Entrepreneurship Development, Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

It’s worth repeating: you need to prepare ahead of time. This will determine whether or not your mission is a successful one.

Before the mission

Attend a preparation seminar

This can help you find out more about the mission, meet the other participants, understand the business culture in the country where you will be travelling, and get advice to perfect your sales pitch. In brief, it’s essential for helping you efficiently prepare!

Make sure your trade objectives are realistic and keep them in mind

Why did you decide to sign your company up for this mission? Was it to validate your market (field study, test the offer, etc.) or for business development purposes (sales promise, local partners who can support actions undertaken, etc.). Don’t lose sight of your objectives and remain proactive during your business trip.

How can you make sure your objectives are realistic? List your priorities with the goal of your mission in mind. Focus on quality more than quantity. A few relevant business meetings are more valuable than several meetings that don’t lead anywhere.

Once you register, search for contacts in the country where you will be travelling

Don’t wait for the start of your trip to build local ties! As soon as possible after you register for the trade mission, start to target people or companies that can help your business grow. Contact them directly and notify them of when you will be travelling to set up a meeting. Or find out when they will be at networking activities or business meetings scheduled during the mission.

Prepare your pitch

This is a crucial step. You must master your pitch and elevator pitch. Two practical tips: learn the terms of your industry in English and know how to emphasize your competitive advantage.

You should also have on hand documents and business cards in the local language.


Allocate a budget for trade missions, which will be recorded as expenditures for international development. Your company can request financial aid (from the provincial or federal government) to support your project.

During the mission

A few tips:

  • Prepare for your meetings
  • Get the most out of the time between meetings to gather even more data on the market
  • Speak to as many people as possible during networking activities (this is why you should master your elevator pitch)
  • In the case of a trade fair, being proactive, smiling, and demonstrating interpersonal skills are essential (don’t stay glued to your phone)

Mistakes you should avoid:

  • Underestimate the importance of local business practices (this topic is always discussed during the preparation seminar)
  • Base the success of your project on one single mission (you often need to travel more than once to a country before achieving the results you want)

After the mission

Summarizeyour participation

Write a report detailing your mission when you get back home. Provide details on the people you’ve met. This document will help you for the next mission.

Follow up with new contacts

A follow-up is the most important part of the post-mission phase; it’s the key to success. Think about setting up a timetable listing the follow-ups you need to do.

A trade mission is an investment of time and money. By following these tips, you’ll get the most out of your business trip. And if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask the organizers, they’re there to help you in this process. So, are your bags packed?

» Take part in our upcoming trade missions

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