3 Reasons why your international business deals fail
You’re conducting business on an international level, but you can’t seem to seal the deal. Maybe you think you’re set. You had the perfect-pitch, came fully prepared, but still… The deal falls through. Have you taken in consideration the following mistakes you might be making?
You didn’t take cultural differences into account when building relationships
Friends and business relations are two different things. Well, that depends where you are doing business. There’s countries where business relations and personal relations do not mix – think Switzerland where the chances that you get invited for a dinner at someone’s house are next to zero – and there are countries where you will only do business if you have become a ‘friend of the family’, think for instance Brazil where they would invite you to share a BBQ with the extended family. And then there is a lot of variation in between.
You missed some cultural clues on planning
You planned a meeting three months in advance, flew in to meet your counterpart and made sure you were very efficient in planning your trip to this far away destination by scheduling 3 meetings a day … only to find out that:
a) The distances are way too big to manage 3 meetings in 1 day
b) Your first meeting of the day extended into a lunch meeting and the actual business deal was scheduled for the afternoon
c) Your counterpart had completely forgotten about the meeting you scheduled far in advance
d) All of the above
Planning is one of those things that is truly culturally dependent. In some cultures, it is OK to schedule a meeting 3 months in advance and to show up without a reminder (The Netherlands for instance). In others you plan more ad-hoc and in case you make a long-term appointment you confirm several times in advance to check your counterpart is still OK for the set date and time (think Poland).
You think you’ve understood what makes your counterpart tick
Is it on-time delivery, efficiency or cost-reduction? Does the PowerPoint presentation have to include a lot of numbers or just the Grand Idea and the vision around your product or service? If you understand what makes your counterpart tick you will increase your chances of closing the deal. And how you will be able to close the deal and what ‘celebration’ is expected from you differs too. If you have not sung karaoke and got drunk at least once with your counterpart in Japan, I’m not sure that business deal was truly signed.
Still no clue? Maybe you lack networking skills… Read our previous blog: 3 Reasons why you suck at networking:
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