Here are six strategies that almost all Chinese businesses use in China that can make all of us more efficient and effective in Nigeria. This topic is deep but for time's sake, I'll summarise them here.
1. Take your Business Partner For Lunch or Dinner:
Food cuts across every people, culture, and background. I can’t recall any time I had business dealings with my Chinese partners without been asked for lunch or dinner.
Everyone enjoys a good meal and it gives you the time to develop bonding you cannot get in a boardroom. It’s a must and critical the meal holds outside the office environment.
2. Never Discuss Business Over a Meal:
As earlier said, taking your business partner for lunch is very crucial to seal or strengthen a business relationship. This mealtime is not a time to discuss business or business-related issues. Rather it is a time to build rapport and close up the acquaintance. Get to know his family, lovers, hobby and holiday interest. Lack of rapport kills business because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
3. Bring A Gift.
Even our Bible taught us “the gift of a man makes away”.
So, I may say, a gift to your Business partner seals your deal smoothly.
Let me illustrate with my experience with one Bank manager in Lagos.
I was introduced to this bank manager by a customer of mine but was warned not to waste my time because they don’t grant contracts to unknown companies.
Well, I gave Chinese gifting strategy a shoot by customizing a unique Power bank with his picture for free.
I presented to him the first day I walked into his office. Believe me, you need to see the radiance on his face. He accepted the gift with thanks and began using it immediately. Yes, it worked for me. That week, I got a call from his secretary asking me to supply 5000 pieces of same power bank I gave the Manager.
Gifting will smooth the deal because the person getting the gift is going to feel indebted to you.
It also shows your partner that you care about them even if for a minute.
4. Stay Humble
Let me be blunt here. Most Nigeria Businessmen/women are very arrogant especially when six digits start rolling into their bank account. You can feel that from the way they talk, the phone they use, necklaces and wristwatches. But on the contrary, a Chinese Businessman/woman with over $2,000,000 dollars will never show you his/her worth not in a first meeting. So, try as much as possible to appear simple and stay humble when you discuss business deals. Using words like "Laoban" meaning "Boss" sends a cool meaning across the table. Here we use "Oga".
No matter what you are, always try to make your business partner feel important or superior.
That doesn't mean you are not who you are.
5. Pay on Time and Keep To Time:
Chinese Businesses are majorly based on credit; businesses on trust and good testimonies.
No matter the circumstances, the Chinese will always pay debts on time. Giving overly excuses will definitely discourage your partner from further business dealings with you. He/She may forget the debt but will never do any business with you again.
Chinese do not like to "lose face". "Losing face" is a slogan often used in the Chinese business circle which is literarily understood to mean "Shame". The stigma that you don't pay on time can stick with you for a long time. Worst of all, you have your business name and phone listed online as debtor or scammer.
For Keeping to Time, the So-called "African time" is not good for business. Let your 1 pm be at 1 pm.
It makes no sense sharing your personal problems with your New Business partner. He is not your God or adviser. By doing such, you've already created doubts or fear of uncertainty which might hinder your business deal. I've turned down so many business proposals because my clients shared their problems at the first meeting. It exposes your state of insecurity and that scares anyone away.
Well, with these few tips I believe you can smoothen your business deal this year.
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