Emmanuel Lowe – Founder of MultiNations Kyiv
How to overcome the top mistakes of Ukrainian contractors in communicating medium and large European businesses?
Physical contact. Different cultures and nations have their own culture of greeting other people. For instance, Asia, the USA, Europe. Knowing this is one of the key points of entering the contact physically: shaking hands, bowing, the space between each other depend on the culture. If you want to export your service you need to adapt, because you want them to buy your product or service.
Preparation. One of the mistakes one can do in business, generally or in IT-branch, it is not preparing sufficiently your meeting with the people. What does it mean? Know your clients. Who are they? Which culture? What are their habits? For example, French people will interrupt your speech from time to time, because they are curious and want to know the maximum of your service and your product. One-hour meeting requires nine hours of preparation.
Try to be late with German, and it will not go well from the very beginning. Remember one famous saying:
“You have one time, one first impression to give”.
Germans are very attached that you are on time. In France you can be 15 minutes late, due to your politeness. For that reason, you have to prepare your meeting in advance.
🔷 Listen and ask questions.
You need to ask questions 20 % of your time and listen 80 % of your time.
In Ukraine you were told not to ask questions to your teacher in order not to show your stupidity or your ignorance of the topic, in the European culture it is exactly the opposite, if you do not ask questions, it means you are not interested, you are not curious and you do not want to learn more.
These are two different mindsets that you need to keep in mind.
🔷 Main dish.
Proposition. Be ready for giving the proposition on the first meeting or on the second meeting. Use direct and short sentences in your contract without any hidden costs. When the sentence is longer than two lines, you create confusion and when you create confusion, you create problems.
Contracting. Ask an international lawyer to manage this part. In most cases you will sign the contract on the law of the customer. Being transparent is the prerequisite of cooperation with any Western European customer. It means, for instance, knowing who owns the company, as complicated schemes do not help build trust or obtain contract.
Delivering. There is a lot of procrastination in Ukraine, as a result you lack time to submit a project. You can ask to prolong your contract, but remember there are other companies on competition.
The price is important, but being committed is really important, and customers would choose the supplier, who would not let them down.
Curiosity. Ask to obtain information, do not stay in your corner. Curiosity may help you to build a trust and propose additional services for your client.
Politeness. Do not forget to say hello, thanks, goodbye for all the people in client side, even it is not as important in Ukraine.
Attitude. Do not get offended yourself by attitude, if you do not know the culture, be open-minded. Keep calm and learn to say no, if, for example, the contractor is rude.
- After all, only result matters. So, if you make bad service or product, who cares what nationality you are?
- And vice versa. If your product (service) is outstanding, no cultural “walls” prevent to it to become a hit.