Understand your customer's culture

A profitable business relationship needs trust. Taking an interest in the culture of your customer helps build trust and shows you are serious about a long-term relationship.

Spend time researching culture, customs and behaviours including:

  • how people greet each other
  • body language and gestures
  • what people wear in different situations
  • giving and receiving business cards
  • giving and receiving gifts
  • how meetings are conducted
  • what to include in a presentation

Not being prepared could lead to a misunderstanding that affects your business relationship.

Start your research with our exporting country guides or try Kwintessential for country guides that cover business etiquette, customs and culture.

Look for warning signs of impropriety

You can avoid putting yourself and your business at risk by knowing what situations to look out for. Be especially vigilant when your customer, agent or distributor:

  • is reluctant to go through a due-diligence procedure or provide the requested documents
  • insists that you use specific suppliers without making a business case for this
  • requests a high commission or unusually large fees for your chosen market
  • is a close relation to a government official, also known as a Politically Exposed Person or PEP
  • refuses to have a written agreement or sign a contract
  • requests payments to be made into an offshore account, in cash or to a charitable cause

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