Payoff from understanding your client’s cultural outlook

Some lawyers are notorious for emphasizing risks and potential downfalls–so much so that they turn off their clients.

So, while sitting in the Frankfurt airport’s business lounge yesterday, I was interested to happen on a story about just that–but in this case, the “negative spin” was caused by a cross-cultural discrepancy. As my  Knowing how another culture thinks = Payoff post in my Global Rainmaking blog notes, one culture’s concept of detailing business risks (British, in this case) may discourage potential clients in another culture (Americans, in this case).  Again, the potential American clients didn’t like the British proposal because it seemed too negative; this was caused by a basic difference in the the parties’ respective cultural attitudes about disclosing business risks and rewards.

As mentioned, one of the great things about yesterday’s article in the International Herald Tribune is that it shows how increased awareness of such cultural business differences improves the chance of global business success. So, before submitting your next client proposal, you might do a culture check; even if the language is the same, the cultural norms and attitudes might differ.

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