It is important to prepare business negotiations in China. Chinese are strategists who see business as battle. Many Chinese businessmen and –women use the teachings of Sun Tzu for negotiating. In “The Art of War”, Sun Tzu describes strategies for war.
Art of War
In thirteen chapters Sun Tzu describes which five factors determine the winner of a battle: Mission, climate, terrain, leadership and methods. Furthermore, it explains specific strategies and actions, which could be used to control the outcome of a battle. Reading the Art of War is a good way to learn about the general importance of strategy in China.
Becoming successful in negotiating with Chinese can be split up in three main stages. The first stage starts at home. when you prepare business negotiations in China, you will increase your chance in succeeding. The second stage happens at the meeting, either in China or at home. The third stage takes place after both parties returned home.
How can you prepare business negotiations in China?
- Decide who leads negotiations
- Hire a good interpreter
- Book open ticket
- Always pay your own hotel in China
- Bring a thoughtful gift
- Use available experts
Who takes point?
Coming home successful after negotiating with Chinese counterparts, starts before the meeting. The first important decision considers who will lead the negotiations. Different stages of negotiating require different people within an organization. Chinese traditionally value hierarchy. The highest in rank should participate at the final stage of negotiating.
Information is power
Second important decision to make concerns an interpreter. Information is power, so you need to be 100% sure that your translator interprets on your behalf. He or she should fully understand Chinese language and culture. Someone who explains what the Chinese actually say and who translates your western approach in a Chinese way.
If possible, book a one-way or flexible ticket. Chinese are famous for delaying the negotiations until the day of departure. This puts pressure on the western party to reach results in the final day. An open ticket gives you time to negotiate and takes away the incentive to delay negotiations. It also provides you with the possibility to respond to inevitable changes in the outcome of your trip.
If you stay in China, then preferably book and pay your own hotel. Chinese expect the same treatment when visiting you in your home country. If you pay for your stay in China, you keep control on your budget. You will not have to feel obligated to arrange the stay of, possibly many more, Chinese visitors.
Give to earn
Bring a beautiful gift linking to your country of origin. Something your country is known for or something, which is very personal to you. Exchanging gifts is an important moment in meeting with the Chinese. In the second article we will explain the traditions around giving a gift.
You need someone on your side that understands Chinese business etiquette. Handing over a business card, seating arrangements at meetings and dinners, everything is different in China. An expert can assist you with answering difficult questions and support you with reaching your goals. A good negotiator is also responsible to help create a good atmosphere during the meetings, dinners and drinking ceremonies. Someone who has experience in how to prepare business negotiations in China and understand Chinese values.
There are many experts available who can easily earn back their costs. They know how far you can go in negotiations. They know what goals are (im)possible to reach and they can teach you what is important. Some experts can even handle negotiations on your behalf.
Interested in hiring an expert? Contact us to learn who our negotiating experts are and what they can do for you.