How to Deal with Overseas Clients

26th April 2017

If you’re looking to expand your business internationally, or if you already have done, there are a number of considerations you should take on board.

Consider cultural sensitivity when responding to their needs

Working with international clients brings diversity to your portfolio, but when replying to emails, telephone calls or taking part in conference calls, you should keep in mind the difference in culture between those who work for you and your overseas clients. Cultural differences are expressed in different ways, but negotiations are one time in particular that you may potentially conflict with your client. It is highly likely that the majority of your business will be done in English therefore if your client does not have a high level of English language they may find it challenging to get straight to the point. You should always be understanding, patient and sensitive.

Work out an advance payment plan

If your clients work in a different currency, then it’s important to work out currency exchanges when charging a price for the work that you carry out. The best way to do this is to establish a good relationship with a bank that deals with international clients. They will give both you and your client the best possible exchange rate. Another factor to bear in mind is the method of payment. Paying via international bank transfer can often take a period of time deemed unacceptable for some businesses so you should instead promote the use of services such as PayPal which usually charge lower fees and guarantee that you will receive the payment. Whichever you choose, work out a payment plan with your client in advance to avoid any hassle or confusion.

Be aware of legal issues

Business laws differ between countries, so it is vital that you know the differences between your own legal issues and those of the country that you’re working with. The standard contract that you supply to clients in your own country may not stand in when it comes to international clients. Before you sign off a contract with an overseas client, make sure to get any contracts checked by your legal representative, so you’ll know you’ll be protected if anything goes wrong.

Remember the difference in time zones

The time zone difference between you and your overseas client can make communication more difficult. When it comes to dealing with international clients, advise that they contact you and vice versa via email however if a call is necessary, make sure to schedule a time that is suitable for both parties. You should also consider setting up a plan that allows for cheap international calls. Regarding deadlines, you need to make sure that you are meticulous in your organisation so that you can keep on track regardless of different time zones. Another thing to be aware of is that the country you have business with may have different national holidays to you. Let your clients know when you will be out of the office to avoid any bad feeling.

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