Approaching a global client is one of the most daring business decisions you’ll ever make. That’s because it involves surmounting geographical, geopolitical, cultural, and language barriers.
A little lapse or breakdown in communication could cost you a prospect. So, you want to tread with caution every step of the way.
In this post, we shall highlight some of the tried and tested strategies that you can implement to approach an international client and possibly convert them into a prospect.
1. Start by Educating Yourself
The first, and arguably the most important, strategy while approaching a global client is to start by educating yourself about them. Familiarize yourself with everything there is to know about the client, from their language and cultural practices to their religion and politics.
In any marketing situation, it’s far easy to win a prospective client if you come across as someone that understands the client’s interests. And this strategy seems to be more effective when dealing with international prospects. The client will appreciate the fact that you went out of your way to learn a thing or two about them, the geographical limitations notwithstanding.
For instance, if contacting a UK-based client, it will make a world of difference to keep your chats or emails in UK English. Similarly, when trying to establish connections with a US-based client, you’ll want to keep the English American. In fact, English Business Communication Course at Edu4Sure could be a great help here as English is a global language.
After understanding how best to contact your global client, acquaint yourself with some of their cultural practices. For instance, is the client from cultures that value pleasantries?
The next thing you should educate yourself on is about geopolitical trends. For example, it was unrealistic for a US businessman to approach a USSR client during the height of the Cold War. Similarly, if there are glaring political and ideological differences between your country and your prospect’s country, try as much as you can to downplay the differences. You aim to win a client, not a political rally.
2. Understand the Differences in Time Zones
This point also ties back to the importance of educating yourself about your prospect. The concept of time zones is reasonably easy to grasp. But it can also be quite elusive.
Remember that it doesn’t matter which time zone you’re located in. When approaching international clients, all interactions should happen concerning their time zone.
If it’s presently evening in your country but morning in your prospect’s region, the best way to salute them is Good Morning and not Good Evening. And if the client says, let’s meet in three hours, you don’t need to inquire from them what time that would be. The onus is on you to find out, based on their time zones.
3. Maintain Formal Conversations
Another excellent strategy when approaching international clients is to keep all the phone, email, or in-person conversations formal. And that especially applies to clients that speak your native language, where there’s always the temptation to go casual.
Remember, the geographical barriers that exist between you and your prospect could cause huge language differences, even if the two of you speak the same language natively. So, avoid all manner of figurative language, including similes, idiomatic expressions, quotes, etc.
On the same breath, watch the tone of your voice. The convention is to find a medium tone. Speaking too softly makes you come across as someone with no sense of time and urgency. On the other hand, speaking too loud or fast makes you appear a bit patronizing. So, find a range within your natural voice and go with it.
Most importantly, remember the cardinal rule of communication – you speak 25% and listen 75% of the time. Don’t do all the talking, as that would create an impression of a hard-seller. Have you thought upon How To Improve Listening Skills?
4. Insist On Safe Payment Methods
One of the primary concerns among many international clients is how to make their payments safely without having their sensitive credit card information slipping into third-hand parties. If you’re dealing with a client that has never made online payments before, you should understand their apprehensions.
On your part, you also want a payment channel that will allow you to cash out within the shortest time possible.
So, begin by inquiring from your client regarding the payment method that works for them. Then, assess how viable the method is.
If possible, avoid bank transfers as they’re generally insecure and time-consuming. Your best bet is to consider PayPal or an even more secure platform like blockchain.
Also, ensure both parties understand the transaction fees involved and agree on who should bear the fee.
5. Update Your Marketing Materials
To attract a new global client, you’ll need to review your marketing materials to give your business a global outlook. That entails updating your business cards, USPs, visions, missions, slogans, contact information, and even corporate name (where applicable).
Once you’re done pitching an international client, they’ll immediately visit and take a tour of your website. They’ll want to establish whether you’re already an established global brand or one that’s only now trying to penetrate their markets.
For instance, it would be unrealistic to pitch an Australian-based client when your website is still littered with statements like “We offer free shipping within the UK.” It’s worse if your website’s Contact Us page still features local phone numbers and encourages physical office visitations.
6. Encourage Feedback
As with any marketing situation, approaching a global client may end up in success or failure. If you’re successful, congratulations. But if you don’t succeed, how do you benefit from the failure? Do you simply move on to the next client and hope that things will work out this time? As you may already know, doing the same thing the same way, and expecting different results is pure insanity.
So, encourage a feedback program where every prospect you interact with shares their experience on your website. Shun the misconception that feedback is only valid in the event of a purchase.
By simply allowing global prospects to share how amazing their experience was talking to you, you could improve your chances with the next prospect you approach. Having feedback on your website by people drawn from all over the world already gives your company a global outlook, even if you haven’t won any client yet.
And if you successfully pitch a client that also ends up satisfied with your offers, encourage them to spread the word even more. With a small incentive, you can ask them to recommend your services to their family and friends or on social media pages. That will significantly improve your chances of winning the next international client you approach.
There go our top strategies on how to approach (and possibly win) a global prospect. Remember that as with any marketing situation, patience, persistence, and tact make all the difference.