Doing business is never easy, and more so when dealing with foreign clients. Working with someone who doesn’t speak your language can be quite challenging and often very frustrating.
But by being aware of certain cultural aspects and taking adequate communication measures, you can overcome the language barriers when striking a deal with your foreign client.
Here is how you can close a good business deal with a non-English speaking client.
Follow Your Client’s Lead
Make your clients feel comfortable. Don’t let them sense there is the restraint of language between you two the moment they arrive. Learn about your client’s culture so you can stay within their comfort zone when showing emotions.
Some cultures do not believe in loud expressions of their emotions, while some are open about it. Make sure you know about your client’s cultural values and stick to them to keep things positive from the very start.
Communicate Your Ideas with Pictorial Presentations
When communicating an idea to your non-English speaking client, it is best to use pictures rather than words. In your case, let the pictures do the talking, literally.
Create presentations that are heavy on images with fewer words. If possible, you can use translations and interpretations for the little words you have used in your presentation. There are several ways in which you can make your ideas attractively visual; some of these could be:
- Charts and graphs
- Animated GIFs
- Icons, etc.
Yes, presenting your ideas in pictures will take more effort and time, but if you are eyeing that deal, this shouldn’t be seen as too much of a task.
Slow Down Your Talking Speed
Some foreign clients will learn some basic words or practice in English to communicate with you better. If you sense the other party is trying its best to communicate in English, you should focus on your talking speed.
If you are a fast speaker, you will have to practice the art of talking slowly when dealing with your non-English speaking client. Remember that your client can understand you to some extent if you speak without rushing.
Also, in your excitement to get yourself heard and understood, you shouldn’t raise your volume as that will be considered unprofessional and rude.
Double Check Your Client’s Nod for Your Idea
It is common to develop misunderstandings when dealing with foreign clients. Therefore, it is always better to double-check whether your client has understood your idea as it should be. You can confirm this by asking multiple questions related to the deal or ask the client to explain it back to you.
Have Some Laughs
Laughter is a language that can break any communication barriers between people. Most times, your business meeting may take a serious and frustrating turn as you both try to make yourself understood. To get over this, share some jokes you have learned from their culture or simply break into a smile to ease the tension.
Never Lose Patience
There may be times during your dealings with non-English speaking clients where your confidence will take a hit. You have to have the patience to know things will eventually turn out for the best during such times.
It won’t do to get agitated or wish for things to speed up. Because you can’t speak each other’s language, things will take time, no use of impatience here.
The outcome of your meeting with a foreign client depends on how well you perform during your in-person interaction. Be confident; the deal is important, and so is building relationships with your overseas clients. Make sure you keep the above points in mind to communicate with your clients effectively.