Winning business is a tough time for any kind of company or person – no matter how good they are at sealing a deal. With that said, the next level up for any kind of business is to secure Chinese business! Working within the Chinese market as a foreign business owner is tough – and the Chinese market is notoriously difficult to break into- but there are some key tips to follow which make it easier for your sales team to experience success.
I wanted to take you through some of the potential tips and hints which I have gathered over the years in the hopes that it makes it easier for your business to experience success in Hong Kong and with the Chinese market. One of the key parts of securing a deal in China is to ensure that the face you present is appropriate to the style of business you’re in. For many new companies and for businesses who do not have the right kind of capital to invest in a permanent office yet, part of their strategy for winning business can be a virtual office. A virtual office provides the prestige address that you need for your business to be seen with esteem, without the investment of capital that a bricks and mortar property requires. A virtual office is a great way to grow your business and to win new business, but let’s take a look at some of the ways in which it can help in more detail.
You can take your time
Many companies, when they consider breaking into the Chinese market, don’t think about the way in which people do business in China. It takes time for things to come to fruition, just as it does with any other kind of business, and if you have an office that is a virtual one you’re not paying huge amount of money for the premises, so there’s no pressure to perform quickly to achieve results. If you rush things it can weaken your hand in negotiations, and your Chinese counterpart will know that they are able to use the pressure that you have to want to make a deal against you, and for their benefit. If you’re rushed or bothered by time constraints you will end up with a worse deal. A virtual office allows you to relax into the process and to ensure that you’re not bothered by how long a deal is taking.
Mistrust and opportunism are rife
You can extend trust in a couple of ways: one of these is to trust people until you have a reason not to trust them any more, and the other way is to withhold your trust until you are given a reason to be able to trust someone. The business world in China takes the latter approach. As a result of this (and owing to the absence of a well-functioning legal system) there is also a huge amount of opportunistic behaviour which affects the way in which business is done. The Chinese don’t really seem to trust people outside of their ingroup and it’s notoriously difficult for people to get into the trusted sector. One way to get around this is to have a property that is on the ground in Hong Kong and to take your time (see above). If you do this, you are showing the people that you want to do business with that you are here in Hong Kong and that you are willing to wait until they are able to trust you.
Chinese society is hierarchical
And you need to be able to respect this. Only the top of the pyramid of power is typically involved in the making of decisions, and so you need to ensure that the structure of your company and the people who are making the decisions reflects this. If you mirror the style of the culture in which you are hoping to do business you will ensure that you have a good chance of success. Having a virtual office in Hong Kong where key delegates can meet representatives of your company will serve to further instill a sense of esteem to these people.