How to impress your corporate clients when traveling to another country
In the United States alone, professionals take more than 500 million trips abroad to meet with clients and win foreign contracts. Apple, one of the world’s biggest technology firms, reportedly spends more than $150 million a year flying its executives to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, London, South Korea, Singapore, Munich, and Tokyo as it looks to make new ground overseas. And it makes sense: the world is becoming increasingly globalized, and as such, businesses must work harder to attract international clients and boost their revenues.
If you’re traveling to another country to meet corporate clients, knowing how to make the right first impression can be tough. After all, you’re a guest in their country, but it’s you who has to do the schmoozing to get your new client over the line. Below, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on impressing your corporate clients when traveling to another country.
Meet them at their offices
First up, arrange to meet your clients at their offices. After all, you’ve made the effort to visit their country, so it’s only right that you go all out and arrange a transfer to their office so you can meet up and discuss business. Pencil a day in your diary and you can host a board meeting with all of their senior executives, effectively killing all of your birds with one stone.
Though they’ll have the upper hand, comfortable in their own offices, you’ll demonstrate that you’re willing to make the effort to visit your clients and that their business is valuable to you. Once you’ve met up once, consider hosting a meeting in a more impartial location, such as a hotel business meeting room or a restaurant, so you’re on a level playing field to negotiate.
Get to grips with the lingo
If you’re traveling to a country where the native language is not English, consider getting to grips with the lingo whilst you’re on the plane. Naturally, you’re not going to be able to have a full-blown conversation in their native tongue, but showing that you’ve made the effort with a greeting and a few pleasantries can sweeten the deal and make your brand more favorable over competitors. Apps like Duolingo, LingoDeer, and Rosetta Stone can help you here.
Alternatively, if your company has the resources, take a native speaker along to aid with the negotiations. This would be particularly useful when meeting with clients in a country where a translator is required, streamlining the process and ensuring things do not get confused.
Organize an event
Demonstrate that you’re passionate about their country and city by organizing an event for their higher-ups and your higher-ups to break the ice and get to know one another. After all, business is all about people, so if you’re able to have fun exploring a city or tasting wine, then you will be in a better position to sit down at a board meeting and get what you want.
Companies such as Barcelonina organize corporate events in Barcelona, and there are others offering similar services in countries around the world. Depend on an expert to do the work for you, and put in the effort to immerse yourself into their culture before you leave.
Introduce your team
Next up, try to take a couple of your key decision-makers to you on your corporate event; not only does this allow the company to get to know the people behind your business, but it gives them the confidence that you’re a professional, legitimate organization and can handle their brief, whatever it may be. We’re certainly not suggesting your entire office ups sticks and travels halfway across the world for a business meeting, but if one or two come along for the journey, each bringing their own expertise, you’ll be better equipped to impress them.
Stick around for a while
Once you’ve had your initial business meeting, promise to stay in their city for a couple of days. Not only will this give you an opportunity to explore the local attractions and sample some of their food, but you can use the time to chat with other local prospects and be on hand should they have any further questions about working with you. A three to five-day stay is more respectful than a flying visit, and there’ll be less stress to close a deal immediately.
Promise to reconnect
Once you’ve spent time exploring their city and getting to know their business and its needs, promise to reconnect with them and catch up in a few months’ time. If your business has the resources, you could even schedule another trip to visit them to see how they’re getting on, which will prove to the company that you’re in it for the long-term rather than trying to win a new client immediately. A firm in the United States with customers around the world might organize a European trip every six months, visiting key clients in major cities to catch up.
Invite them to your country
Alternatively, invite your new client to your country so they can explore your facilities and get to know how you work. After all, they’ve invited you to their nation to meet up, so it only makes sense for you to extend the favor. You should be cautious when inviting guests that there’s no implication your company will foot the bill, as a typical corporate visit can run into tens of thousands of dollars; instead, say “next time you’re in the US, do come and see us.”
Seal the deal
Finally, seal the deal on any new contract before you leave their country. The more time you’ve had to impress them, the more likely they are to say yes to working with you right away, so if you’ve only just been instructed to make the visit and show your face, you’ll need to work super hard to leave a lasting impression and prove that you’re the right company for the job. Take your time, work your magic, and be firm: “I’d really like to confirm our new partnership before my flight tomorrow – can we schedule some time to sign the papers?”
There you have it – just some of the ways you can impress your international corporate clients and change the fate of your business. Wherever you’re headed, we wish you luck.