Dealing with international clients, while definitely financially rewarding, is a headache. You have to deal with a lot of external factors that you do not even have control of such as time zones and distance. Thankfully, the market has come up with technology that makes having international clients less of a hassle like emails, electronic contract signing and even contract management. Now you may ask “What is contract management?” It is the business operation of ensuring that your contract lifecycle progresses smoothly from creation to execution.
Expanding your customer base and reaching out internationally is one business strategy that greatly boosts the business’ standing and authority over the industry. International clients also bring something to the table. From them, you can learn about a new culture far different from yours while also being paid top dollar.
Now that we have entered the age of the high-speed Internet, 1080P HD cameras, and cheap communication services, it has become easier to deal with clients hundreds of miles away from your office. For instance, a clothing store in New York could be getting their fabrics from the other side of the world in India or Bangladesh.
If your business is looking to get customers abroad, then it would be great if you first know how to deal with them. Here, I have outlined some tips on how to deal with international clients so your business deal succeeds.
Be Sensitive To Their Culture
The first thing you have to realize is that there are a lot of sensitivities that you have to work around with when dealing with clients abroad. Take into account that your clients and you will come from different backgrounds, with different cultures and upbringings. This means that you have to be more sensitive to their culture. Read up on their culture, how they do handshakes, greetings, and their history even before you meet with them so you can start on the right footing.
One of the major headaches, when it comes to gaining foreign clients, is getting the contracts signed. Years ago, both parties have to physically meet just to affix their signatures in the contracts. Of course, you can’t forge forward with a business agreement without having them signed as it is not legally binding. Fortunately, electronic signatures can now be affixed on virtual documents through the use of contract management software so there is no need to send over physical documents anymore. This will save your company a lot of resources such as time and money.
Pay Attention To Time Zones
When you are dealing with great distances, always take into consideration that there will be a time difference. If you’re dealing with multiple clients in a certain country, you can have a second watch dedicated to that time zone. It is best to schedule all of your correspondence in advance to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines. When sending out emails and targeted advertisements, also take note of the time difference so you do not unnecessarily wake them up in the middle of the night.
Always Ask For Downpayment
When making an agreement with international clients, always specify that they should pay a downpayment upfront. This protects both parties from unfortunate events. Your clients are guaranteed that you will be working on their project while you are guaranteed payment even if they back out from the deal. Be warned that international wire transfers have huge processing fees and will take time so always ask for payment in advance.
Communicate Properly (Get Everything In Writing)
It can understandably be difficult to communicate with foreigners. Because of the language barrier, the chances of a miscommunication occurring is high. To avoid this unfortunate circumstance, always communicate properly using clear language. It would also be better if you put all correspondence in writing just so you have proof should a dispute happen.
Research On The Legality Of Matters
International laws differ greatly from American laws. There are certain stuff that you can get away with in America that are actually illegal abroad and vice versa. Just to be on the safe side, you should invest some time researching the rules and regulations of the foreign country to ensure that you do not run into legal trouble.