International markets offer plenty of opportunities to expand and positioning your products and services in a global marketplace. It is very important that your company is providing your sales and marketing team with the right tools to do business in these markets. Coaching your teams will help them to be business and culturally sensitive, and often avoiding a serious faux pas that will end that hard earned business relationship right then and there.
Here are some tips you should communicate and implement when looking at new market. By the way, these intercultural tips and comments definitely apply to the domestic markets as well.
- Make sure that you are serious about your commitment and presenting yourself accordingly. The business world will not appreciate your lack of being serious.
- The best way to gain and win respect is through your accomplishments and actual results. In many cultures, the title is the initial door opener, and after you are “in” you need to show what you are all about.
- It is critical that you are on time for meetings. If you are running late, you need to call and provide timely updates about your time of arrival. About every 15 minutes is adequate.
- Business values and procedures in your country are not necessarily the same in the country of your international business contact. Educate yourself about their country specific business values prior to meeting.
- You are invited to a business function or dinner. Now what? How do you handle the menu and when do you order? When it gets to when to place your order, just wait until you see what your hosts has ordered. Then stay one price level below their meal. Don’t order the steak when they go for the salad.
- Depending on the country you will do business in, it is always wise to stay away from drinking alcohol. When your host or business partner order drinks, it is ok to order one too. Stay with one drink for the night. You might be in situation where they are testing your social behaviors. Stay under the radar.
- Business cards and correct networking skills will start a lot of valuable conversations. Have plenty of business cards with you. It will be helpful to understand the “business card” customs of the country.
- By the way; a business card has two sides. You should use the back of the business card as well.
- In many countries it is not acceptable for you to be on a “first name” basis with clients. You need to understand the appropriate approach. It is always wise to be very respectful and take a careful approach. Learning about the corporate hierarchy is critical.
- In many cultures it is important to pay a lot of attention to the title of your counterparts and their management. Pay close attention to their internal interaction. This will help you to understand their corporate structure and who is who.
- When you meet with clients from around the world, there will be different ways of learning about each other. Do not be surprised or offended when the questions seem to be rather personal.
- Make sure that you ask about the dress code for meetings and business events. There are cultural differences you need to be aware of and take into consideration. It is always better to overdress.
There are plenty of resources available for your company to ensure that your team and management is prepared for the step in the global marketplace.