Creating successful and long lasting international business relationships requires that you do your homework about the culture of the country you want to do business in. You need to visit the country where you intend to do business and acquire a basic understanding of the common etiquette in that country.
If you are new to the international environment, the USCS (United States Commercial Service) is a good place to start to locate business partners appropriate for you. Once you have selected partners that you feel will help your career, you must actively cultivate relationships. Often, something as simple as having dinner with your international colleagues will begin the process of building trust and confidence.
Build Relationships for the Long Term:
Relationships are everything in international business and should be built for the long term. In the USA we tend to be very upfront, direct, aggressive, and get to the point of the discussion immediately. Those techniques will not work in most other cultures. Cultures outside the USA do business with you after they have a relationship with you. It is advisable to slow down and really embrace it all.
One Size Does Not Fit All:
Every country has its own style and culture. To go even further, certain states within that country will do business differently from another and you have to account for that. It is imperative to learn the business etiquette and protocol of the area in which you choose to do business. If you plan to do business with more than one foreign country, the way you do business should change. If you are trying to treat the rest of the world as one, you will quickly learn that you method will not work.
Learn the proper way to address your foreign colleague. An example would be that in some countries, the person’s last name is spoken first. Although many foreign business cultures have the ability to speak in fluent English, if you are able to learn their cultural ways, it will all be for not.
It’s important to always observe closely and to ask questions where possible to develop your understanding of a certain situation or business. In addition, showing a level of humility and even vulnerability is important. Such traits are often highly regarded in a business context.
Try and get an International Business Degree:
An international business degree will attune you to international environments and will teach you many of the skills you need to succeed wherever it may go. If you observe and develop the skills that will be needed to handle international business relationships successfully, you will enjoy doing business overseas. Most businesses need to look at developing international markets to grow their businesses so being skilled internationally will definitely work towards your advantage.