Did you know that in Germany, you should always use a knife and fork to eat sandwiches? Or that in Italy you shouldn’t yawn in front of others?
How about clicking your fingers or whistling in China – did you know it’s rude?
There are a lot of differences between cultures. Some are less profound than others, yet they’re there all the same. Are you taking that into account when trying to reach that audience?
Say your new client is from Italy and you’re having a webinar. That yawn you fail to stifle during the meeting could skittle that big account you’ve worked so hard for over the last few months. Or you have new investors from Mexico. If you don’t keep your hands above the table, it’s seen as a sign of disrespect. And who wants to work with someone that disrespects them?
It doesn’t matter if you’re in PR, marketing, advertising, manufacturing, retail or a million other industries. If you don’t know either your client or audience, you’re not going to succeed too well.
Online sales have increased massively over the last few years. The Internet and e-commerce have made international trading the equivalent of buying at your local produce market. Even your local produce market – or any offline equivalent – usually has a huge mish-mash of different cultures in the trading stalls.
Shouldn’t we spare that little bit of time beforehand to get to know the culture and see the bigger picture?