International Technical Sales – Top 5 Tips

I love to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively, experience different cultures and have worked in many multi-national teams.  I would definitely class myself as a travel nerd.  I found this WebApp on Trip Advisor and have been looking to get more pins in the map ever since.  Here’s my current travel map (to create your own, use the links below the map):

Maps and pins aside, working outside of your home country can be a daunting idea for some. Especially, if you are not used to working with different cultures. Here’s a list of quick tips which I hope are helpful.

Top 5 Tips

Tip 1: People are the same.

People are pretty much the same the world over. Of course, we all have different cultural quirks and ways of doing things but fundamentally people are the same wherever they are from.  They all have hopes, dreams and motivations and you’ll find the same hopes, dreams and motivations in each country.  If you’ve worked in your home country then working abroad is exactly the same.. the only difference is language and location.

Tip 2: Nudging the language barrier.

Very few customers are going to expect you to be fluent in their language.  They know you are a foreigner and won’t expect you to have a full grasp of their language.  That said, out of courtesy, you should try to understand at least the basics such as greetings.  Customers will appreciate any effort you make to fit in with their culture. If it’s possible to use local names and locations in your demonstrations, it would be good to include these.  If you are going to be there for a longer period of time, it’s worth getting a language survival guide so you can get around and order food, etc.

Tip 3: Accommodation.

Check your accommodation before you go and change it once there if necessary. In short, try to find reviews on the hotel or get recommendations from local partners where possible.  Your logistics and administration department will do their best to find you appropriate accommodation, but as hard as they try there can sometimes be a bit of a gap between their perception from their nice warm office back at base and the reality of where you’re staying.  Administrators sometimes get the idea that, if you going on a plane, you’re going on holiday.  I’ve worked in some deep, dark 3rd world countries before and it never failed to make me chuckle when a logistics administrator would say “Ooo you’re going there, must be nice jet-setting around on holidays”. What they failed to realise was the country you were heading to has just been through a 20 year civil war and doesn’t have roads.  Hotel accomodation should be secure and safe above all else.

Tip 4: Safe Travel Advice.

Always search for official governmental travel advice.  A lot of countries are in a state of conflict with continually shifting borders.  It may be tempting to jet of to some country to secure an x milion dollar deal and that can be a strong motivation to go.  For the UK, check the FCO travel advice – www.fco.gov.uk If they say don’t go.. don’t go.

Tip 5: Experience the Culture.

Find out what’s on. Any visit to a county where you don’t get to experience some of the local culture can be a wasted visit.  If  you’re free for an evening, go explore.  The hotel staff are a good place to start to find out what’s in the area.  The concierge will most likely have a bunch of leaflets for events.  If you’re looking for something a little more lively, the bar tender in the hotel bar will know more.

There’s a whole world out there and it’s ready to be explored.  Be careful, you might get the travel bug and if that happens.. pins in the map will follow.

Thank you for reading.

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