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Picture the scene: You are flying to Guangzhou in China. Everywhere you look you see nothing but Chinese text. You have no idea where to go. That’s exactly how your business contacts feel when they visit the Netherlands.
One of the key success factors for doing international business is the welfare of your guests. You probably arrange for your guests to be met with a friendly greeting, book them a room in a nice hotel and organise an efficient program of meetings pausing with a cheese sandwich for lunch. That might be adequate but those that really have the drive to prosper call Guestmanship.
Did you know that the Chinese don’t like cheese? Did you know that they will never say no?
Did you know that in the former Soviet states it is regarded as impolite to smile at strangers?
You don’t want to concern yourself with the subtleties of cultural difference. Your organisation is engaged in business and that is important, but you also want your guests to feel comfortable enough to relax, to think about the deal undisturbed by even the slightest culture shock.
Guestmanship allows you to focus on business
You focus on the business, that is your priority but that’s not the whole story for your guests. There are times outside of the meeting schedule when your guests are alone in a strange, new country. You can make the difference between familiarity and hardship. Guestmanship provides your guests with a consistent point of contact in a strange situation. It’s your chance as host to create the perfect atmosphere for business.
Business is based on finding common ground. Finding common ground creates a bond. The importance of finding similarities between cultures is often underestimated in the Netherlands. When you demonstrate an understanding of cultural awareness and treat your guests in the manner that they would expect you immediately distinguish your business from your competition. Even before the first handshake you are 1-0 ahead in the negotiation stakes.