Chinese Business Etiquette : Chinese Business Etiquette: Closing a Deal

Chinese Business Etiquette : Chinese Business Etiquette: Closing a Deal


Hi, my name is Mark Kemsley. We’re talking
about doing business in China and how to follow up and close a business deal. It’s something
that’s extremely important. Why is it important? Believe it or not, many, many Western businesspeople
have walked out of a meeting with Chinese businessmen, believing that the deal was closed.
When, in fact, it wasn’t. Often, Chinese people will agree with you. They will nod their heads.
They will give you indications that they agree. They will say yes, but that doesn’t necessarily
mean that they agreed. I’ll give you an example. Twenty years ago, before I worked as a consultant,
I was a salesman in Taiwan. And when I worked with people, at the time I was selling advertising,
and I would actually get to the point of signing a contract with the Chinese businesspeople
there, and later I was surprised to find out that it didn’t mean a thing. It didn’t mean
anything until they actually, physically gave me their product to go out and create the
advertisement with. Because, the contract, it just didn’t mean much. So, for me to understand
that rule of commitment is what matters. You know, to the Chinese person, face is important.
Making a verbal commitment is really saying that, “I’m going to do this and here’s how
we’re going to move forward.” Well, that’s important to them. But, something like a contract
is not as important to them. This is something that really needs to be understood. Later,
as I had dealings both in Hong Kong and in Mainland China, I found some different kinds
of reactions that I got from people. But still, it is very important for me to understand
that when they make a commitment by actually making an action, then you know the deal is
closed. That action might be to send somebody over to the United States in order for him
to gain the experience that he needs to bring it into the deal. That action might be shipping
some product for branding. Or whatever it is. If they are taking action, you know they’re
in the deal. These days a contract is more important than it was twenty years ago and
a signed contract actually does have legal implications and is more important. But you
need to understand that your counterpart taking action is what really indicates that he’s
behind the deal.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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