There are companies approaching exportation like a complement to their internal market. There are also ones that put it on their priority list. Either way, businesses try to diversify their client portfolio with exportation, decreasing their risk of dependence on a restricted agent set.
Even if it brings an ocean of opportunities, there’s a lot to think about optimizing relations with foreign clients. More specifically, we must reflect a little on the communication and languages used with them.
It’s more than established the premise of the validity of English as vehicle language on international relations. All you need to do is surf the internet to easily conclude that almost all companies have an English version of their website. It’s also usual for this language to work well on meetings with non-native English speakers, and even on the email exchange for later commercial processes. So why would a commercial worry about approaching their customers on their native language when the language of Shakespeare is enough?
Let’s look at it the other way around, as if we were the client. Possibly we would not be surprised with a “good morning” on the first conversation on a business meeting. However, we would easily distinguish that one meeting if the interlocutor tried his best to communicate in Portuguese with us.
On a later situation, we would feel another level of comfort, attention and treatment if the commercial partnership occurred in our language.
However, it’s reasonable to admit that limitations in linguistic skills can lead to continuous barriers in communication, leaving for first plan English as a more desirable and efficient alternative (if the lack of skills does not include this language as well). Investing in these skills must be the essential weapon to fight these limitations that can be a differentiating element from a company on a competitive world. Therefore, it’s not weird to look at the fact that Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.
Source: Flávio Ferreira, Consultant at Market Access