From Rio to Shanghai, there are vastly different cultures, formalities, and etiquette to be followed when dealing with business partners abroad. One misstep can cost you a business deal, so it’s important to do your research before you head to your destination country. Your awareness of cultural differences will have a direct impact on your bottom line. Here are a few helpful tips on how to approach each international market in the best way.
- Know how to communicate seamlessly. In addition to knowing the technicalities of the language, you should also know the nuances of the culture and slang. Communication is vitally important to the success of your company abroad. Language and culture barriers are the top reasons why businesses fail when dealing overseas. Research the language, culture and acceptable ways to communicate beforehand.
- Be aware of your client’s needs. Conveying a clear message to your client will make or break the deal. Know their pain points, know how to address those pain points, and always keep their basic needs at the forefront of your mind.
- Adjust your business style to the country in which you’re doing business. In the United States, business dealings are quick and succinct, and speed is of the essence. In the UK, though, no one wants to be rushed. It would behoove you to adjust your own style to adapt to this more laid-back approach so as not to pressure your client and thus put the deal at risk. In the United States, it’s not customary for heads of business to give each other gifts. However, in Japan, this is expected. Again, adjust to fit the needs of your client.
- Keep body language in mind. In Germany, people are loud, energetic and expressive when sharing ideas for business; in Japan, they are quiet, subdued and laid back in their business dealings. Remember where you are and which body language is appropriate. This also goes for greetings. In Brazil, after the initial meeting which may involve a handshake for men, the greetings quickly progress to hugs and back slaps. With women, it’s customary to kiss on both cheeks in greeting.
- Research your target audience. If you’re developing a new marketing campaign in a foreign country, research your audience. Know what goes into their decision making process, what their gender views are and what their cultural ideologies are. Translate slogans and make sure they mean what you intend them to mean. There is nothing more embarrassing than finding out later that your slogan or catch phrase is disrespectful or vulgar in another culture.
To get started on knowing the cultural differences of your intended language, contact BRIC Language Systems.