We all know that first impressions are the most important and long-lasting. Mistakes can seriously tarnish your reputation, so when meeting your business partners, especially international ones, you should put your best foot forward and go the extra mile in order to impress them. It’s crucial to show them respect and present your business in a favorable light. There are some tricks to help you win over even the most demanding clients and nail your business negotiations.
You should leave nothing to chance, even if it’s something seemingly superficial as your style. A dress code is very important in business, so forget about some casual outfits such as a black turtleneck, jeans, and NB sneakers, because only one man could pull that off. If you’re traveling to another country, make sure to do your homework and learn more about its business etiquette. In certain countries, for example, you’ll have to dress very formally, while others allow a more relaxed attire. However, you can never go wrong if you suit up and look professional. A traditional, dark suit for men and a formal dress, or a skirt and blouse, in combination with a jacket for women, are a must.
Welcome Them in Style
A touch of luxury is always a good idea. Instead of instructing them to take a cab or booking them a shuttle from the airport, it’s a much better idea to opt for a limo rental. This will sweep them off their feet and make a great first impression. Apart from making them feel special, a limo will provide your business partners with comfort and privacy. Don’t forget that time is money, so traveling efficiently is at the top of their priority list, and that’s exactly what a limo service operating on a client schedule offers.
Mix Business with Pleasure
When it comes to organizing business meetings, make sure that there are coffee, lunch, or dinner breaks. Negotiating can be exhausting, and both your business partners and you will be under a great deal of pressure to close a successful deal to satisfaction of both parties. That is why it’s important to include moments when all of you can relax and get energized. After you sign a contract, show them around your city and throw a dinner party to show your hospitality.
The Gift of Giving
Promotional merchandise and gifts are excellent on such occasions. Pens, journals, or watches make excellent business gifts. It’s important that these items are of the highest quality, and although they can be pretty expensive you can be sure that such an investment will be profitable. This is a great way to thank your business partners and build loyalty, as well as to promote your company. Still, always bear in mind cross-cultural differences, and select appropriate gifts that won’t insult your business partners and that are acceptable in their culture. Some countries consider this practice as bribery, so it’s advisable to check corporate gift-giving guidelines.
Your business partners will be pleasantly surprised if you make an effort and learn a couple of business phrases in their language. That way you’ll show them respect and create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Besides a dress code, there’s also an established code of conduct that you have to be aware of. For example, Germans frown upon humor in a business context, while Chinese disapprove of gesticulating. Punctuality is a must no matter where your business partners come from, so it’s essential that you follow the established schedule. Another thing that is an ultimate no-no is checking your messages or receiving a call during a meeting. Although things have changed and younger businesspeople have a more relaxed attitude towards this practice, it’s still generally considered unprofessional and rude.
It’s not too complicated to impress your international business partners. Good manners and professionalism are a winning combination. A little extra effort makes a big difference.