Having an international client is good for your business. This simply means that someone outside of your country and scope believes in your capabilities. This is might as well your door to international opportunities. If things go well, there is a great chance that you can take your business to a whole new level. This usually happens when your client recommends you to their partners and stakeholders. However, you have to be mindful of the differences between you and your client. Keep in mind that they belong to a different culture, and they may have a different take on some things. For instance, what you think is all right may be considered as rude or offensive.
Navigating cultural nuances is one of the things you need to prioritize. If this is your first time to work with an international client, here are some of the important things that you should be taking into account:
Maintain clear lines of communication
Doing business is like having a relationship. You need to maintain a clear line of communication. The bare minimum would be the facilitation of smooth communication through technology. This means investing in sophisticated tech, such as a VoIP phone system for small businesses. You will need to delegate someone who can easily accommodate their needs while projecting a reputable and reliable image. You should also be aligned when it comes to expectations.
Take note of the differences in language usage
The common ground would be the language, and there is a great chance that your client is speaking in English. But do not be too lax, as your client may be using the language differently. They may have some slangs or they may be using a word differently when labeling and describing objects. If you are not sure about what they mean, it wouldn’t hurt to ask some questions. They will surely appreciate it.
Make an effort to meet them
Half the time, you are going to work with them through emails and conference calls. But you may need to exert some efforts to meet them. For one, if you have a conference or trade show to attend in their country, you may want to pay them a visit. In case they are going to visit your country, you may want to invite them to dinner.
Mind your etiquette
As mentioned, your client belongs to a different culture, and it pays that you are sensitive about it. Research on their local customs and traditions. Also, find out about their way of doing business. Some international clients want to go straight to business right away while others prefer some exchanges of pleasantries. Handling an international client should be taken as a privilege. It means that someone outside of your local scope believes in you. But you have to take care of such a client, knowing that there are some cultural differences between you and them. Your failure to become culturally sensitive may cause misunderstandings and conflict, which may result in losing the business.
When you work with an international client, you should always prioritize communication. Always take the initiative, especially when addressing misunderstandings.