Business Traveller Tips - U.S. Midwest (Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin)
All citizens (including Canadians and Americans) travelling by air, land or sea to, from or through the United States are required to present a valid passport. Check directly with the U.S. State Department for information on United States policy.
For information on acquiring a Canadian passport, visit the official website of the Canadian Passport Office.
Information on entering into the U.S. can be found by visiting the official websites of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and of the Border and Customs Protection and the Canadian Consular Service U.S. Travel Report.
Although the United States has no official language, English is most widely spoken, especially in the business realm. A good command of English is very strongly encouraged.
Canadian currency, traveller’s cheques in Canadian dollars and personal cheques drawn on Canadian banks are not widely or easily negotiable in the U.S. Accordingly, you should purchase traveller’s cheques in U.S. dollars before leaving Canada. All major credit cards are accepted throughout the U.S. There are banking ATM machines that will accept Canadian bank cards, but these may be limited depending on your account access privileges (Interac, PLUS, etc.)
Chicago has one of the best public transportation systems in the Midwest. For more information on public transportation in the Chicagoland area, please visit Regional Transportation Authority, Chicago Transit Authority or Google Maps. Another option are taxis which are abundantly available, especially at trade show and conference sites. Most other major Midwest cities have some type of public transportation. It is best to consult each individual city you plan to visit to learn what is the best option for transportation at that location.
The most important first step in breaking into the Midwest U.S. market is through market research before visiting and follow-though afterwards. The Trade Commissioner Service of the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago is ready to assist you in maximizing your regional business opportunities in Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.
When meeting with prospective clients punctuality is appreciated, as many clients have several meetings and/or projects scheduled. Be prepared to be brief, and have available lists of satisfied and reputable customer references. It is customary to exchange business cards during any business meeting, and follow-up in a timely fashion on your part is expected and encouraged if there is genuine interest.
Canadian businesspeople are advised to be prepared to make a sale. All business materials should be offered in English. This includes product and contract documentation, shipping paperwork, labelling, and price list in US dollars. A short but effective sales presentation (preferably in electronic format) is also encouraged. Clients expect corporate websites to provide comprehensive product or service information; a growing number also expect online ordering and payment capabilities.
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