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The primary aim of the book is to set forth those general principles which underlie the building up of foreign trade, not merely of such trade as is a convenient outlet for a few superfluous home products, but as a part of a permanent and national foreign trade policy. It should not be understood from this that practical details are entirely omitted.
The volume is not a "how book," but nevertheless a considerable portion of it is devoted to a description of the mechanism used in the handling of imports and exports. Every care has been taken to indicate the source whence the information which the exporter is likely to require may be derived. Given this information and also knowledge of the essential mechanism and of fundamental principles, the exporter is then equipped to make profitable use abroad of the executive and sales ability which has brought him success at home.
There is no mystery and little intricacy attached to the methods of foreign trade development. Human nature is much the same the world over. Human needs can be developed anywhere by sound salesmanship and proper advertising. The Chinese can as readily be "educated” to the advantages of cash registers as the Japanese to the superiority of the automatic screw machine; and doubtless many a perspiring Hottentot swears by the special features of American agricultural machinery when he becomes acquainted with the ease and comfort of a National Harvester "sitting" plow. The biggest exporting firms in the world are the pre-eminently successful American concerns. Distinctive American goods, from raw steel to typewriters, are sold the world over by distinctively American selling methods..
Methods, of course, must when necessary be adapted to idiosyncrasy and circumstance. But given a knowledge of, or the right point of view on, the fundamental matters discussed in this book, there should then be no difficulty in adapting means to the ends desired. Possibly the point of view or the opinion of the author will not always coincide with that of the reader. If so, all that the writer can state is that his opinion has been formed after fifteen years of experience as an international salesman and sales investigator and as counsel for consulates and international traders.
The author wishes to express his warm appreciation of the many suggestions and criticisms which have helped so materially in the preparation of the present volume. He especially wishes to extend his thanks to Frank G. Conway of Street and Finney; Frederick Nash of the General Chemical Company; Alba B. Johnson, formerly with the Baldwin Locomotive Works; James H. Carter of the National City Bank; Harry A. Wheeler, President of United States Chamber of Commerce; and to the Guaranty Trust Company and the Discount Corporation, both of New York City.
In conclusion, it may not be improper to observe that nations as well as individuals need special knowledge in order to gain and retain foreign trade. If America is to retain even her relative position in international commerce she must continually add to her present knowledge of foreign trade, and to the methods by which it is conducted. The author hopes that in some small measure this volume may contribute to this end.
May 8, 1919.