One of the most common mistakes of small exporters is to leave pricing in the hands of their overseas distributor or sales representative. In one recent survey of small to midsize technology companies, about half reported that they had no idea what the markup was on their products sold abroad. The danger is that prices set by a distributor or rep may not serve the interests of the manufacturer. "Maybe the rep carries American tools and Japanese tools," notes W. K. Schoonmaker, editor of Mainly Marketing, the Coram, N.Y., newsletter that conducted the survey. "He may get a bigger cut of the Japanese tools, so he may price the American tools to encourage sales of the Japanese line." For advice on pricing abroad and other aspects of exporting, contact the nearest field office of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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