Breaking America: Succeeding in the World's Largest Economy

As you’ll have seen in my recent article for the i Newspaper, working with Americans can be an expensive business unless you do your homework and know the rules of the game. The number of failures by international companies in the US is a direct result of them not doing enough research upfront to validate that their growth strategy there would be viable or check that the business culture and mindset would support them. As my MBA professor Dr. Peter Drucker used to say, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

As author of the best-selling book Working with Americans, I know that breaking America requires knowing the rules for negotiating, communicating, influencing and building profitable relationships, which include the following top tips for building your business there:

Tip 1 - The Clock is King. Be on time for meetings. Americans need to maintain a schedule. Deadlines are serious. Meet delivery commitments.

Tip 2 - You Look Wonderful Darling. Packaging is important for people, products and presentations. Neatness and attention to details are important. Are your shoes polished? The definition of ‘looking wonderful’ and appropriate business attire is often unclear. Do as the Americans - ask before you go – what’s the dress code today?

Tip 3 - Hi There, Glad to Meet You, What's the Bottom Line? Be prepared to quickly provide specific information about your products including pricing. Arrange your material, your story, and facts in simple formats.

Tip 4 - Business Before Pleasure. Be willing to do business first, build the relationship second. Americans develop relationships through doing business. If they don’t take time to get to know you, remember no insult is intended – they just are keeping to a schedule.

Tip 5 - Hip, Hip, Hooray for Our Team! (We Are Family, Equal and Ethical). Treat everyone as if they will be the person to sign your contract. Everyone, no matter of rank or age should be treated as equals.

Tip 6 - Make It My Way. Americans want choices, to have their opinions recognized. Be sure to involve people in a decision. Provide choices in your product so consumers believe you recognize their needs.

Tip 7 - Let's Do Lunch. Don’t be insulted when your American colleague suggests getting together but doesn’t follow up with a specific invitation. They are sincere in the wish to get together but too rushed to follow up.

Tip 8 - Guides Are Good. Americans use outside advisers as a regular part of their business lives. If lawyers or consultants are included in meetings do not be offended or anxious. They routinely act as advisors to be sure that issues are addressed to avoid future problems.

You can read further tips and the full article here.

This week my co-author Lanie Denslow and I celebrate our new book Working with Americans 2nd edition. Click here to order your copy, using the promo code WWA20 to receive 30% off the RRP...

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