International trade is a large and important component in today’s business world. Understanding culture and cultural differences can determine whether you can make a deal or not. Your understanding of cultural differences can not only affect business immediately but also affect the overall reputation of your business.
Embracing Cultural Differences in Business
Often in today’s business environment, one must recognize that to be successful internationally it may require you to put aside your sensitivities and do what is necessary to close the deal. Is it really worth losing a multi-million dollar contract to insist someone conform to our cultural views gender equality? Probably not. However, there are cultural differences that warrant the collapse of a deal.
For instance, in some countries, it is culturally acceptable to use child labor while in other countries bribing government officials is seen as part of the normal course of a tendering process. Refusing to deal with these people will very likely result in you losing a deal, however, your stance on human rights and corruption will enhance your reputation with other countries and benefit you more in the long run.
As is the case with people and situations around the world, first impressions matter and you don’t want to start by unknowingly showing disrespect to the people of the country you wish to deal with. Power distance, individualism, masculinity, femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and short-term/long-term orientation are some of the concepts to be considered very carefully. The bottom line is that to make the essential connection for an ongoing business relationship, you must understand the culture of the people you are dealing with.
While western culture still currently dominates the business world, the growing Asian markets are opening and expanding rapidly. Many norms of body language accepted in the West convey the exact opposite of meaning in the east. Direct eye contact in the West is generally associated with honesty, paying attention, and being respectful. However, in many Eastern countries, it is disrespectful. Clothing, time of day, and multiple other factors can come into play, as well.
Technology has made the world a lot smaller in terms of building personal and professional relationships around the world. Creating genuine business relationships with others across the world means communicating who you are, what you do, and why you do it is more important than ever.
Lets Create the Best First Impression For You
Your online presence will often be the first impression so you want to make it impeccable. Convergent1 has the experience and knowledge to help you make the most of every first impression. Our Marketing Action Plan, as well as our Business Recovery Plan, will meet you where you are at and improve your messaging and first impression which will lead to lasting relationships.