We are living an unprecedented time, businesses and especially negotiations held to purchase internationally changed dramatically. Flights are limited, distances matter, but the biggest problem is maximized in effective communication between buyer and seller, were the communication is a barrier. Most of the people in the import / export industry have had at least one bad experience, since the counterpart does not speak the language to negotiate.
It is not surprising that most of these people have dealt with suppliers in China, who can be fluent by email but once it comes to interacting by phone or a conference via Zoom, the result is totally different. The reason for the call is not understood, negotiations stagnate, misunderstandings or tones used can bring different reactions (negative and positive) that impede the development of the project.
In addition, it must be understood that the time difference is undoubtedly one of the main communication barriers. The time frame to react or work with Asia from Latin America is very small, about 3 hours a day, which complicates the daily and strenuous work to close a good negotiation.
Based on our experience of more than 8 years in the market, we make the following recommendations for companies that manufacture in Asia:
• Be in contact with the manufacturing company by email and use tools such as WeChat that allow you to have a bilingual conversation.
• Everything discussed must be sent by the provider by email to avoid confusion or different meanings. Thus, we will be sure that he understood exactly what we are looking for.
• When speaking on the phone, in case it is noticed that the language is an impediment, one of the leaders of the company should be found who allows proper communication, it must be asked with great respect to avoid a possible offense.
• Find a company that represents them in China, purchasing office, inspection company that facilitate communication between both parties. As a consequence, time savings that mean more profitable transactions for importers.
Finally, it should be noted that these are general recommendations and that each transaction is different and different strategies should be used. However, the ease of knowing the two markets and cultures allows effective communication with results in limited time.
In short, we must know our counterpart in order to avoid risks and generate an efficient supply chain.