One of the key fundamental ingredients in being successful on the international stage is to recognise, appreciate and be respectful and understanding of other cultures and their differences both from a personal and professional perspective. Do not underestimate the importance of building and maintaining personal relationships and be patient as this takes time and in many cases months or even years to develop but once established it will provide a solid foundation for long term business success.
In preparing to engage in these and other markets do your homework before visiting and whilst travelling, take time to learn about their cultures, their etiquettes, their ethics and their countries. If you have spare time on hands at weekends rather than spending it in shopping malls ask your prospects or clients if they could take you places of historic or cultural interest – not only will they love doing this with you they will also appreciate you all the more for it.
Just because your prospect or client may speak fluent English or was even perhaps educated in the UK do not lose sight of the fact that you are a guest in their country and be respectful of that. You will usually find them to be very generous hosts but do not keep taking advantage of that and remember to return their hospitality by ‘stretching your expense’ account and taking them out for diner as well. I have heard of too many stories from overseas customers who feel that they are a ‘free meal and entertainment ticket’ for visiting business people – don’t abuse their hospitality!.
Be understanding, tolerant, patient, respectful, polite, and humble. Keep open minded, committed, passionate, positive and enjoy the journey.
Get your business ready for exporting in 2013 by talking to a qualified export consultant today.