The International Trade Blog

How to Sell Export Compliance to Your Company's Executive Team

Tracy A. Smith | October 28, 2016 | Export Compliance

How to Sell Export Compliance to Your Company's Executive Team | Shipping SolutionsYou know that export compliance is not only essential, it is a strategic advantage for the organization. Does your executive team understand that? If not, it may be time to sell your executive team on the need for trade compliance.

During tough economic times, when margins are slim or non-existent, companies take a hard look at costs. And when that happens, companies cut costs in areas that are not contributing to revenue, such as export compliance measures.

When I say sell export compliance to your executive team, I don't mean communicating constant reminders about the potentia for fines, penalties and jail time. Although this can be an effective method for grabbing the attention of a CEO, after a while it sounds more like Chicken Little crying, “The sky is falling,” than an effective argument for supporting the efforts of the compliance organization. That's especially true when the executive team may be more focused on the present instead of the long-range implications of their cost-cutting initiatives.

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Selling compliance means thinking offensively. It means emphasizing the positive as well as the strategic benefits compliance brings to organization instead of just focusing defensively on penalty mitigation efforts. It is taking assertive actions to show the executive team what is being done to lower costs and improve efficiencies that add to the overall profitability of the organization.

Previously I wrote an article, Metrics Help Track Import and Export Compliance Performance, that outlined some of the ways to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance-related activities. If you measure the things important to an organization’s bottom line—costs, revenue and time—and present them in an easily read format, metrics can help demonstrate the true value of the compliance organization.

When was the last time you sold compliance to your boss or your boss’s boss? Although compliance will never be considered a profit center, by thinking offensively and acting strategically it may be recognized just as integral and indispensable to your organization’s bottom-line success as the revenue-generating departments.

This article was first published in May 2009 and has been updated to include current information, links and formatting.

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