Running an international business means that you will need to adapt the way that you operate as a company. Trading internationally and locally are very different processes and you will need to offer a very different service to your international customers and partners. This article considers how you can best maintain strong international business relations between your company and customers or partners.

Understand the Relationship

Understanding the relationship between your business and your customers or partners is a very important place to start in maintaining good relationships in international trade. Internationally, different businesses will operate under different business cultures and this can have a very profound effect on your trade. In some countries the relationship may be about demonstrating respect and in other countries you may be far better placed creating a relationship that is more like a partnership. No business culture is the same as another and you will need to learn to understand the ongoing relationships in order to develop them. Organisations such as the IoDB (Institute of Diplomacy and Business) can help you discover more about these strategies.

Maintain a Visible Presence

Maintaining a presence that your customers and partners can recognise is an important part of trade too. Whether you are trading at home or abroad, making your company visible is vitally important, but this is far more complicated when trading internationally. Regular communications sent to clients and partners are important elements in making sure that your business image remains visible to them at all times. Engaging in social media practices internationally is also a good way to ensure that your customers see your company name. If you do not maintain a visible presence, it is likely that another company will find a way to steal their business from you through marketing.

Offer Quality

Offering quality to your customers is vitally important in maintaining a good business relationship. The quality of your service will depend upon everything from the speed of delivery to the quality of the product. If you are unable to offer quality then another company will easily be able to steal the trade away from your company. Offering increased quality will of course decrease your profits, but maintaining good business relations and ongoing trade is far more valuable in the long-term.

Provide International Service

One common mistake that many companies make when they begin to trade internationally is to continue only with their existing customer service systems. If you are trading internationally then you will need to offer international customer service. This often means extending a call service so that it runs for longer periods of time and operates in more than one language. Establishing these systems can be complicated, but providing the appropriate services for your international customers is vitally important if you are to keep them.

Show Respect

When trading internationally, and particularly when working with international business partners, demonstrating respect for the companies and individuals is very important. The international market is so vast that there will always be another company that can do what you do, so creating a healthy relationship with your partners and customers is essential. Training your employees to understand international business etiquette and making the effort to send them to meet with clients and partners demonstrates respect and creates a bond that extends beyond business. Your company needs to develop more than a business relationship with clients and partners to keep them loyal to you.

Facilitate Cultural Differences

The different cultures that you meet will have different business practices and facilitating these within your operations is essential. Sending employees as business envoys is one thing, but you will also need to extend invites to generate strong business relationships too. Facilitating cultural differences within your business structure can be difficult, but if you are serious about international business relationships then you will need to embrace the cultural differences. Increasing your investment for this facilitation can greatly improve the relationship that customers have with your company.

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Boardroom by Vbccevents

Image by Vbccevents (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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