Washington, DC – For 40 years, Jim Boney has worked around the world for the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the State Department. As director of the International Buyer Program (IBP) for exhibitions since 1992, he emerged as one of the most powerful international matchmakers for exhibitors and attendees. In Fiscal Year 2003-2004, the IBP generated sales that exceeded a whopping $1.4 billion. In an exclusive interview with TSE columnist Bob Dallmeyer on the eve of his retirement, Boney talks about why the IBP has been so successful; what we can learn from the U.S. military; and the time he was mistaken as a spy by Swedish newswriters. Here are some excerpts from the interview…..
BOB: “The IBP became a major industry player under your stewardship. To what do you attribute this success?”
JIM: “The IBP telescopes the “business mating dance,” if you will. Our market specialists bring global buyers to trade shows with the understanding that they will help them achieve their business objectives. And we have something wonderful that you won’t find in many parts of Asia and Europe: our culture affords the ability to do business quickly, and in a trusting environment. ”
BOB: “So you feel our trade show model is unique?”
JIM: “Definitely. This is world’s largest market, where global buyers can find almost anything at a variety of prices from a lot of competitors. They prefer doing business with Americans because they trust them. And, since all business is a function of time and money, the IBP success comes from significantly enhancing this process.”
BOB: “Have you ever measured the IBP results?”
JIM: “Yes. In FY 2003/2004, the International Buyer Program created about 1,500 sales and/or representation agreements, valued in excess of $1.4 billion. Our clients’ success is our success.”
BOB: “What can trade show organizers do to sustain this momentum?”
JIM: “Several things come to mind. First, understand that the U.S. represents only 5% of the world’s consumers, leaving a tremendous amount of business potential beyond our shores. An organizer needs to make global contacts to create the network necessary for growth. A few are doing this successfully, but so many others must identify gaps and needs in the international marketplace for their clients. Also, show organizers must find opportunities for acquisitions, joint ventures and ways to make inroads into some of the big end-users overseas. Finally, every pavilion in a global trade show is an opportunity for the organizer to learn more about that market and serve his constituency back home. ”
Read the full interview in the December issue of Trade Show Executive magazine available online on December 1. Or, you can get a copy early as part of the room drop at IAEM on November 29th or visit TSE Booth # 406 at EXPO! EXPO! on November 30th.
Jim Boney officially retires on December 3. See him at IAEM as he receives a Lifetime Achievement Award from IAEM for his work promoting international participation in expositions. You can reach him now at (202) 482-0146 or email@example.com , and after December 3rd at firstname.lastname@example.org.