Things to consider before leaving for an overseas business (sales) trip:

1.

World Clock www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
Immigration / visa specialist  www.immspec.com
Currency Exchange www.xe.com/pca/

2. Leave any vestiges of "my way is the only way" attitudes or thinking behind. Go with an open mind. Be open to different ways of doing things, different values, behaviors, and motivations. Don't judge. Be "curious" and "fascinated" instead. Invest some time in preparing yourself for your encounters with other business and cultural styles.
3. Invest some time in preparing yourself for your encounters with other business and cultural styles. Increase your understanding of the countries and culture(s) you're visiting by attending cross-cultural seminars or trainings. Or, seek out information from one of the many books available on the subject or on the Internet.
4. Study up on the general protocol and etiquette of the country or countries you're visiting. Understanding how to greet your counterparts, dine with them and manage appointments will be most helpful. Learn a few words of their language as well. Your business associates will appreciate any sincere attempt to meet them "part way."
5. Travel light and pack smart. The conveniences taken for granted in places like the United States and Canada are rare if not non-existent in the majority of other countries. Heavy suitcases will quickly become cursed burdens along with excess marketing materials, equipment and product samples.
6. Dress conservatively, and depending on the city and country, add a touch of elegance and class. First impressions are as important in Paris, Sao Paolo, and Hong Kong as they are in the United States.
7. Depending on your destination, question the necessity of carting along your laptop or other related equipment. In many cities around the world, differing electric and telecommunications standards can render your laptop useless. If electronic devices are necessary, be sure to pack the appropriate adapters, power supplies and converters. Don't expect to have easy access to your e-mail while on the road. In some cases, it may be impossible to log-on to your Internet Service Provider's server remotely.
8. Make an extra effort to be flexible. Expect delays, frequent changes in plans, and cancellations. Try to allow twice as much time as would normally be expected to reach your destination, complete your negotiations or close sales in an overseas setting - particularly when doing business in Asia.
9. Do your market research before you go, but be open to adjusting it when you get there. Be flexible on pricing and distribution strategies. Don't assume that market data or sales techniques that work in North America will work in other countries.
10. Mind your manners. Be on your best behavior at all times. You are not only representing your company, you are an ambassador for your country as well. Politeness, graciousness and patience go an incredibly long way to accomplishing your ultimate objectives. NEVER lose your temper or show feelings of frustration openly. Exhibiting any form of anger is the fastest way to burn a bridge anywhere in the world.
11. Never forget to use prudence and common sense in your travels. Beware of falling prey to the custom of drinking and doing business over luxurious lunches and elaborate intoxicating dinners in many countries. Late nights, excess consumption of alcohol and other alluring temptations will only compound the ravages of jet lag and the exhaustion of language differences. Anything that could potentially diminish your ability to negotiate and accomplish successful results should be avoided. Take care of yourself. Your health and your sensibilities are two things you will take for granted until you are suddenly in a compromising situation without them.


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