The proverb "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" applies to business representatives as well as tourists. Being attuned to a country's business etiquette can make or break a sale, particularly in countries where 1,ooo-year-oid traditions can dictate the rules for proper behavior. Anyone interested in being a successful marketer should be aware of the following considerations: • Local customer, etiquette, and protocol. An exporter's behavior in a foreign country can reflect favorably or unfavorably on the exporter, the company, and even the sales potential for the product. • Body language and facial expressions. Often, actions do speak louder than words. • Expressions of appreciation. Giving and receiving gifts can be a touchy subject in many countries. Doing it badly may be worse than not doing it at all. • Choices of words. Knowing when and whether to use slang tell a joke, or just keep silent is important. The following informal test will help exporters rate their business etiquette. See how many of the following you can answer correctly. (Answers follow the last question.)
1. You are in a business meeting in an Arabian Gulf country. You are offered a small cup of bitter cardamom coffee. After your cup has been refilled several times, you decide you would rather not have anymore. How do you decline the next cup offered to you? a. Place your palm over the top of the cup when the coffee pot is passed. b. Turn your empty cup upside down on the table.
c. Hold the cup and twist your wrist from side to side.
2. In which of the following countries are you expected to be punctual for business meetings? a. Peru.
b. Hong Kong.
3. Gift giving is prevalent in Japanese society. A business acquaintance presents you with a small wrapped package. Do you: a. Open the present immediately and thank the giver?
b. Thank the giver and open the present later?
c. Suggest that the giver open the present for you?
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