Negotiation skills when meeting customers

Proper communication with importers is very vital; exporters need to know the techniques of attracting the buyer and getting a response which will progress to sealing a deal.
Note that importers receive numerous enquiries worldwide and are likely to open emails having domains of registered companies (e.g. bata.com, cocacola.co.ke) rather than emails with public domains like yahoo.com, gmail.com or hotmail.com. Exporters are advised to acquire suitable email address indicating their company domain (e.g. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ). You can get his is can from internet service providers.

Making a telephone call is highly advisable using the international calling facilities.  
Before communicating one has to know thoroughly the product, price, capacity and your importer.
When negotiating with foreign importers take cognizance of their culture, behaviour and language.

Below are some tips on negotiating with buyers from Europe;

Dutch Importer:
• Informal; quick to use first names
• Direct in approach
• Expect exporter to take initiative
• Empowered to make decisions
• Task oriented; no extensive social talk
• Quick to ask price
• Dislikes display of wealth
• Adheres to strict deadlines
• No lunches or dinners

French Importer:
• Formal; not too direct
• Likes shaking hands
• Buyer often not empowered to take decisions
• Chauvinistic; requires French to be spoken
• Building of relationship essential
• Patience is important virtue
• Dress correctly and conservatively
• First names are not used

British Importer
•Rather formal; direct approach
•Beware of understated use of language
•Treats sellers as equal
•Gives opportunity to impress and sell yourself
•Interested in track record of exporter
•Irritated by small talk and formalities
•Appreciates own opinion, initiatives and assertive communication

Italian Importer:
• Polite, formal; no first name basis
• Address with title and last name
• Like formal dress and etiquette
• Expect you to sell yourself; exaggerate a bit
• Loves style, quality and design
• Foreign languages sometimes weak point
• Often not empowered to make decisions
• Relationship very important in Italian business
• Lunch and dinner important

German Importer:
• Very formal, never use first names
• Addressed by title, Herr/Frau and last name
• Quick to come to the point; little time
• Offer German counterpart certainties:  assurances, references, expertise, track record
• Dress correctly and formally; no bracelets
• Be strictly on time
• Requires detailed planning and preparation

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