If you are a bit of a David Brent when it comes international negotiations – flapping your hands, raising your voice and pointing at the dictionary during meetings – fear not! By the time you finish reading this article you will be an exporter of the highest competency; you’ll be more suave than James Bond, more appealing than Moneypenny and more innovative than Q.
Ok, are you ready for your transformation into a slicker, cooler more internationally competent you? Of course you are, so here goes!
Fix up, Look sharp
First impressions count. Do you think Bond would be as good as he is with the ladies, villians and his boss, M, if he didn’t look as sharp as he does? Prior to any negotiations, make sure you look the part. If the locals tend to do business in shirts and shorts, come with the best shirt and shorts you can find. If in suits, then dress to impress.
An embarrassing error in international negotiation settings is to believe that if you shout words in English, they suddenly make sense to the listener. We appreciate you might be worried that your export might end up in Timbuktu when it is really meant to arrive in Thailand, but this will never be rectified by raising your voice. Remember James Bond doesn’t shout unless he is chasing villains. He speaks clearly, slowly and with poise, and now you do too. If language is going to be an issue, invest in an interpreter.
Transporting goods far and wide and the negotiations tied to these arrangements require the building of trust between you and people of differing cultures. Therefore, just like James Bond who goes abroad armed with the latest gadgets kindly provided by Q, you need to know your terrain, and that means doing your research.
To win at international exporting negotiations, you should research how business transactions are conducted in each and every one of the countries you export to, and how to conduct yourself when meeting and greeting people of the culture you are interacting with as these little customs build trust and respect in more ways than you might think. Arm yourself with cultural and country specific knowledge and don’t be afraid to show your weapons!
James Bond wasn’t born suave and he certainly didn’t come out of the womb with a little gun, the latest gadget and dressed in a suave suit. On the contrary, he was trained up, and now you know the importance of training, go on, throw some of your budget at it! Allocating some budget to training in international negotiation will guarantee that every agent you send out to do exporting business negotiation will be just as suave as you!
Negotiations are key to being a successful exporter. Carry out due diligence, take care and spend time really understanding who you are negotiating with. Like Bond, you need to go in with your game plan and execute it to perfection.