Effective Chinese Business Negotiation Tips

Effective Chinese business negotiations begin with having the best information possible so you can get the best deal, whether you are looking to purchase products or looking for Chinese business partner to help sell your goods. You need to do your research, understand the negotiating practices of the Chinese and be prepared to work with a partner in the region that will help you get the most out of your business venture in China.

Your research into working with Chinese businesses should be as thorough as possible. This means understanding the history of their business, who their clients are, the prices that they sell their goods and any other important information to help you fully understand who you may work with. By arming yourself with this information you can now progress to the next step of engaging in Chinese business negotiations to look for the right company for your business needs.

The Chinese are a remarkable people who have embraced capitalistic business practices with fervor unlike most other places in the world. Thus, they may be mistaken by Western business leaders as having a similar management structure and negotiating practices. This cannot be further from the truth. As with Western business practices and negotiations, these skills stem from the collective history of the region that people running the business is familiar with, which means that a person from the USA will negotiate with another business in a slightly different manner than someone from Australia or Great Britain.

Chinese business negotiations have a number of interesting differences that many Western business leaders are simply not familiar with and do not understand which leads to much consternation and strife depending on the seriousness of the negotiations. When looking for Chinese business partner to work with, you need to be aware of a few of their more unique negotiating tendencies.

One of the most common is the non-negotiating tactic where they avoid direct negotiations in the first place. While they might have underlings carry out some negotiations, no real decisions are made. This tends to be a test of the seriousness of your business skills and intentions, so the best tactic is to be patient and simply re-affirm your position until the Chinese business leaders start engaging seriously.

Another common tactic is known as the “big sale” where they offer their products at a much reduced rate, yet in reality they jacked the prices up considerably beforehand. Your research should reveal the actual price they sell their goods for so any large increase should be noticeable. Still, it is surprising how many Western business leaders get taken in by this rather common tactic.

The final popular Chinese negotiating tactic is the “big deal” where a lot of promises are made and seeming agreement is at hand yet no real commitment is actually made. You need to be careful listening to their promises and simply focus on settling one issue at a time, even if it begins with the small ones first. Get them in writing and then work your way up.

Finding a good Chinese business partner takes research, patience and knowledge of their negotiating skills to find the one that works best for your business.

PowerPoint Tip: Presentation Handouts: Yes or No, What Kind, and When?

There are different answers to this question but there is none that is suitable to all situations.

I recommend that you not provide just a print out of the slides. If you’re using slides properly, as a visual aide, you won’t most of what you say on the slides, so images of the slides won’t help people much. An exception would be a handout with space for people to take notes next to each slide. Then, they can write down your points.

Let’s discuss several situations and see what might work best in each one.

In-house business presentation

If you are presenting a proposal or reporting on a project to seek approval inside your organization, there might be these scenarios:

• You are giving a presentation that has no technical data: A handout is not needed in this situation but if you want to use one, distribute it after the presentation and make sure that your talking points are included-not just the slides.

• You are giving a presentation that has technical data that your audience needs to read for a successful presentation. Create handouts that contain just the data your audience needs to look at up close. Distribute them when they first need to see them.

While many people recommend giving out handouts at the start of the presentation, my experience, both as a presenter and as a member of the audience, is that this usually is disastrous. Why? Because people read the handouts while you are talking and don’t listen to you. Some people say that if the audience is motivated enough to listen, they will. Maybe that has been true in the past, but in this multitasking age, few people have the attention control to not read the handouts.

Others say that, you aren’t interesting if the audience isn’t listening to you. I think, as a presenter, that’s a high expectation for you in an everyday business setting.

Sales presentation

If possible, try to give your potential customers the handout after the presentation. Again, an exception would be if you need to present detailed data or description. However, if they ask for the handout in advance, you can’t say no, so I would just ask for their full attention. A sales presentation should certainly be engaging enough to keep your audience’s attention. You could provide two handouts-one with just the data needed during the presentation and another as a leave-behind.

Training presentation

Training presentations have a whole different set of considerations. If you want your audience to take notes, slides with space for taking notes can be helpful. But be careful; as a reader of this blog wrote me, it “ruins the anticipation of learning, causes distraction (flipping ahead) and can defeat the purpose of attending (to some extent).” If you give out all the information up front, people will feel that they don’t need to stay. After all, they have the notes. It’s like a college course that is based solely on the textbook; student will cut class.

In the academic arena, a great deal of research has been done on how to increase learning by students. For example, a 2009 study at Western Michigan University looked at handout out a combination of visuals (such as slides), a detailed outline, and blanks for students to take notes. This system resulted in better short-term recall than when the students took notes on their own paper or didn’t take notes at all. (Research has also shown that students miss a lot of important points when they take notes on their own.)

I always warn people against transferring academic research to the business arena, especially if your goal isn’t to get your trainees to do well on a test. If you’re training customer service reps to provide better service, short-term recall is not your main goal. You want people to think, right? And then transfer what they learned into action.

Interestingly, when tests involve analysis and synthesis of ideas, having the instructor’s notes does not result in higher grades. In my opinion, most situations, business training fits into this situation.

Conference or seminar presentation

Presentations that you deliver at a conference or seminar (sometimes called “ballroom presentations”) are a different. Sometimes, people expect it to be entertaining. Often, the content is not very technical. In these situations, I recommend not to provide handouts during the presentation. People will definitely skim them while you’re talking. They’re more likely to walk out if what they read doesn’t sound interesting. (Your presentation will probably be a lot more interesting than the handout!)

There’s a trend for providing handouts only electronically, because it saves paper, and therefore, trees.

Negotiation Skills – How to Increase Your Sales

Nearly everyday of your life you are negotiating for something, usually many times a day. And that doesn’t include the sales negotiations you participate in as your job.

Yet, despite the fact that you spend so much time in negotiations, during the big negotiations, many salespersons don’t employ the effective skill set and tactics that they use in other aspects of their lives.

For example, have you driven a car today? If so, you are negotiating decisions throughout the entire drive. Using your turn signal is a nonverbal negotiation with other drivers about where you want to turn your car. At every stop sign, you were part of a negotiation as to who should be given a turn to go ahead through the street corners.

By learning what works as a small negotiations, you can learn what works at the bigger discussions and negotiations.

There are three key steps in negotiation skills.

1. Know your sales goals -

It’s very difficult to obtain what you want if you don’t know what it is or why you want it. For example, knowing where you want to go in your car provides the focus you need to get to where you are going. And despite this basic first step and how simple it may seem, many salespersons enter into the larger negotiations without knowing what it is they want and why. Remember, the sales process begins way before you have your first conversation with the potential client.

2. Do your research -

Justifying the price for anything from a new vehicle to a corporation becomes much easier if you can show the buyer the item is worth every penny they are about to spend on it.

This means you must be responsible for the research your potential clients don’t have time to do. By doing this, you make the decision to buy your product or services easy for them. Provide them with as much information as you can to justify why the decision you want them to make is the right one. Many potential clients are waiting for a salesperson to bring them an actionable solution to their problems. Do yourself and the potential client a favor, do all the legwork ahead of time. If all they have to do is sign on the dotted line after hearing your presentation, you are more likely to get that signature.