How to Do Business in North and South America

15 NOVEMBER 2021

It’s International Trade Week, which means now is the time to (re)focus on the world’s vast appetite for British goods and services, especially those in the US, Latin America and Asia given the UK’s enviable reputation around the world for quality and innovation (even modesty!).

While you may be a seasoned business internationalist, key to your success is making sure you’ve done your homework about the market opportunity and understand the cultures.  Knowing how to influence, communicate and negotiate with your counterparts in these parts of the world – which already appreciate the UK’s track record for global innovations (such as the Covid-19 vaccine, its luxury brands and fintech unicorns not least) – makes the difference between financial success and foreign fails.

Certainly the past 18 months have made it very difficult to meet your counterparts in-person, and now that the US has reopened to inbound travelers from the UK, now is the time to go meet them in person, shake hands and show you understand the world’s biggest economy

Americans are open to new ideas regardless of their country of origin.  There’s never been a better time to get on with staking your claim in the United States than now.

Top Tips for Working with Americans

  • Transactions first, relationships second

US negotiators and business leaders value speed as the business culture rewards those that are first, even if they’re not necessarily the best.  As everyone in the US knows, “the early bird gets the worm.”  So those that can “do the deal” are held in high esteem, recognizing the Americans preference for building relationship while working together, rather than requiring a relationship as the starting point.

  • Keep it simple, clear and measurable

Americans believe “what you see is what you get”, so hidden meanings, irony, implicit or indirect communication will cause delays, misunderstandings and a loss of trust.  Affirmative, confident, quantifiable ways your US counterpart “wins” will make the negotiations more successful.  The more explicit and direct (and of course, diplomatic) your approach, the more interest and attention you’ll receive.

To read The Times full article, visit

Scroll to Top