Thanks to the connective powers of the internet, more small companies are now able to take on clients from around the world. However, selling products or services to customers in other countries often involves adapting the way in which you do business. Below are just a few tips that could help you to successfully work with clients from foreign countries.
Get around the language barrier
Although English is spoken around the world, this does not mean that everyone can speak it – especially not fluently. If you need to discuss complex terms with someone who has limited English, you may want to consider hiring an interpreter. If you’ve got plans of heavily targeting a specific country, you may even want to consider hiring a sales rep in that country that can communicate with clients for you. As for written communication, you may be able to use translation software, but be wary that this may not always be accurate. For important documents, it could be worth hiring a translator.
Adapt to their cultural expectations
Customers in different countries may have different expectations when it comes to working with companies. Be prepared to adapt to these cultural norms. For instance, in Japan, being punctual for meetings or phone calls is very important – a Japanese client may expect a meeting to happen precisely at the time scheduled. An Italian customer may not put the same importance on punctuality – in such countries, demanding precise punctuality might irritate customers who are used to taking things more leisurely.
Consider how to accept payment
Customers are likely to be using a foreign currency to pay. You need to factor in exchange fees and exchange rates when accepting foreign currencies. It might be worth setting up a foreign account in some cases to reduce transfer fees. An alternative solution for dealing with customers around the world could be to accept cryptocurrency.
Understand the legal requirements
The legal requirements surrounding products and services can vary around the world. It’s important that any product or service you provide meets local legal standards. When it comes to transporting goods abroad, hiring a TRACE certified customs broker could be essential. In other cases, it could be worth hiring legal advisors in areas such as health and safety or security.
Factor in the time difference
If you need to call someone in another country, make sure that they’re likely to be awake and ready when you call. When it comes to countries with 10 or 12 hours time differences, you may have to compromise standard working hours in order to communicate with these clients – a 10am call for them could require you to make a call at 10pm at night. As with overcoming the language barrier, hiring a foreign sales rep to communicate with clients within the same time zone could be a solution to this.