Exporting: Local Language and Cultural Barriers
Before you begin selling overseas, market research is crucial. Here’s why it’s important to understand local ways of doing business
Every market is different, and companies need to be sensitive to local ways of doing business, even in different regions of the same country. Lack of awareness and knowledge of local cultural norms can impede the development of a business relationship.
Being able to speak the language of your potential customers can help to establish mutual confidence.
If you don’t speak the local language, you could consider investing in foreign language training for your staff. Alternatively, you could employ a translator or interpreter.
It can also help to have your promotional material translated. It’s a good idea to avoid colloquialisms and metaphors in promotional material – they could be embarrassing in the local language.
You should conduct research into your target market to establish local considerations.
These may include product or packaging modifications to enable your product to conform to local cultural demands. Or it could be that local sales and marketing channels for your particular product are different from those in the UK.
Export Case Study – Ellis Pharma
The Middle East has become a key market for UK firm Ellis Pharma, a specialist in global supply chain solutions for the pharmaceuticals industry.
Following expert advice, the Staffordshire-based company decided to focus on the emerging markets of Oman and Qatar, winning a £18,000 contract with Doha Clinic Hospital.
It further established itself in the region by going on trade missions and having numerous one-to-one meetings with local decision makers in governments and hospitals and potential agents. This led to Ellis Pharma securing orders worth £150,000.
Business Development Director Gary Campbell says:
“We are confident that with our own efforts and outside support, our exports will increase substantially in the coming months and years.”