As the North American economy picks up steam, business owners, who survived the 2008 financial crisis, are now looking to expand/develop their export markets into the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. When compared to Canada, the United States, and Mexico, the BRIC cultures are centuries old. And whose inhabitants grew up using the barter system where everything is negotiable.
Unfortunately North Americans have several ingrained cultural “weaknesses.” The major one’s are:
1. We have a very strong need to be liked. (the worst kind of negotiator is the one who seeks the approval of others)
2. We let our egos get in the way of the objective.
3. We are reciprocity/compromise oriented.
4. We are overly impatient: time is viewed as money (in negotiating, patience is money).
5. We need to know the answers (vs. we are more comfortable with certainty rather than ambiguity)
6. We are far too rational.
7. We have an inordinate respect for deadlines.
8. We detest silence.
When selling into a foreign market, try to learn from those who’ve gone before you. Tap your Consulate in the country you’re considering selling into for their local expertise. Travel in to country for a while to get a better understanding of how business is conducted. And, above all, expect to be challenged by some of the counter-negotiation tactics listed above.
If you’re considering selling on open credit terms, we highly recommend obtaining trade receivable insurance through such carriers as Euler Hermes, Coface International, and Atradius, to name just a few. Trade receivable insurers will insure a large portion of your receivable, so that in the event your customer doesn’t pay you on time, your insurance company will indemnify you and chase after your customer themselves.