Doing business with international clients requires more than just financial acumen. A lack of knowledge about a customer’s culture can lead to misunderstanding, frustration and potential embarrassment. Savvy Canadian exporters will include research on their clients’ culture and regional etiquette when preparing to export. The building of successful business relationships is a vital part of any international venture, and such relationships rely heavily on an understanding of each partner’s expectations and intentions.
Each culture has its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to social business relations. As a representative of your company, you want to ensure that you make the best impression on potential clients – and that means having at least a basic familiarity with the customs and practices of the region. This Internet Sourcebook is intended to point you in the right direction for creating lasting partnerships with international clients. The websites listed provide guidelines for etiquette in both general and business situations.
An additional internet resource not included in this booklet is the Usenet Newsgroups or “discussion groups.” There are newsgroups on nearly every culture imaginable – far too many to list in this booklet. These are internet forums where interested persons can discuss the culture and politics of a particular country or region. They are also an excellent resource for first-hand information on a culture. If you have a specific question or would like tips from people who are familiar with a particular culture, this is the ideal place to find information. Most cultural newsgroups follow the format “soc.culture.xxx,” where “xxx” would be the name of the country or region. For example, if you are looking for information on the Chinese culture, you would search the newsgroup under soc.culture.china. An extensive listing of newsgroups can be found on Google at groups-beta.google.com/grphp.
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Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is correct, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada assumes no responsibility for its accuracy, reliability or for any decisions arising from the information contained herein.