Managing an international negotiation, focusing on the relationship

The success of a negotiation does not solely depend on the conditions of the negotiation. Plenty more factors have a strong impact on the positive outcome of a negotiation, especially when it comes to an international negotiation. Comprehensive planning is required in order to stimulate a positive outcome on both sides. In this article we will discuss the management of international business relationships.


Cultural differences

Cultural differences are a large obstacle in regard to international negotiations. This works two ways. One can gain, and at the same time lose a lot from cultural differences. In reality, we see how companies are not even close to properly managing cultural differences.

To portray this issue we want to highlight a mistake which is frequently occurring in negotiations between Asians and people from the Netherlands. A notable difference is the broad understanding of international negotiation management by the Asians, while people from the Netherlands strongly lack this skill. This problem derives from the fact that Dutch people do not recognize this as a real skill. This results in a Dutch company appointing a general employee to manage a guest from Asia, without any knowledge from the Asian culture. Also, the transportation, accommodation, and general reception of the Asian guest will be minimal.

On the other hand we have the Asians receiving a Dutch client. The Asians have mastered the skill of international negotiation management. Not only will they ensure a fantastic overall experience, the Asians will probably do even more just to amaze you with hospitality.


First build the relationship, based on trust.

In this case, the Asians will surely have an edge in regard to the negotiation, which can result in a positive negotiation outcome. Therefore, proper international negotiation management skills can give you a cost or revenue advantage.

It is needless to say that the Dutch people can learn a lot from the Asians.


Tips on managing international negotiations

It is obvious that some companies have plenty to learn regarding negotiation management. Managing international relationships have such positive results, and truly, it baffles us to see how many companies fail miserably on mastering this skill. Therefore we have set-up a short list of tips to help you get started.

  1. Preparation is key: often the negotiation is on the end of a business meeting. This means that you have to be flexible in regard to your time schedule. Also, make sure you research your opponents’ their culture, their personal needs and expectations.

          Ask yourself; How can I influence the experience in a positive way?

  1. Know your position: prior to the negotiation, it is wise to define your own style, your interest and the companies interest & image. Are you a pusher, or are you rather laid-back and relaxed? Whatever style you prefer, you have to know beside of your numbers, aswell the best way to influence every party involved. On top of this you should at least try to determine which negotiation factors are paramount for your opponent. Last but not least, are the suppliers aware and aligned in your mission; the mission of satisfying your counterparty, make his stay as comfortable as possible. Are they going the extra mile?
  2. Train your employees: in every internationally active organization there should be at least one employee with thorough knowledge in regard to international relationship management & the business experiences. This implies that relationship management has to be recognized as a real skill and should definitely not be overlooked when doing business with other cultures. Efficient relationship management divined to the needs and expectations of your counterpart can minimize potential conflicts during the business meeting.


With this article we hope  to have changed your opinion on the importance of decent international relationship  management. We believe that at least one flexible employee or manager has to stay educated on the cultural differences between you and you clients.

An employee can be trained on-site, or by an expert on the clients’ culture. Both of these options result in more positive relationships and smooth negotiations, and more knowledge of your clients’ wishes.


Bad experiences will have an effect on your business deal and how to avoid it?

With all the topics we discussed and shared knowledge, you can become better in filling out the needs and expectations of your business relations.

When participating in our online education program as betatester and finish all 4 modules you can start over again, you will listen to all the modules in a different way, more wise and more service minded.

The online version will be supported by real practical examples of companies who did do business before with people from a certain background you are specifically interested in.

START NOW, improving your knowledge and your deals.

You are getting the hang of it, in Mastering Guestmanship!


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At Guestmanship, We help companies in the Netherlands when they host business partners from emerging markets to create the business experience necessary to turn each transaction into a deal. . Read more

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