When you are wanting to buy from China it’s crucial that you have long lasting relationships with the people you are dealing with. In America we often are extremely direct and will make business deals with people we don’t really care for but just want to get the job done.
In China, it is the opposite. You need those strong relationships or else they won’t be interested in dealing with you, or might not take the best care of your order.
Here we will go over how we have built those strong lasting relationships, so you don’t have to spend the time or money to.
The Chinese have a principle that is known as “Guanxi” which loosely translates to social and business networks. It’s a very relational form of doing business that is often lost on us westerners. In fact many Americans have accidentally ruined their business relationships and opportunities by offending their Chinese contacts without even realizing.
Guanxi is more than just cultural norms, although following Chinese cultural norms will go a long way with helping you build those relationships. It’s a different philosophy on doing business. It’s the reverse of the American way of doing business. We like to get deals done and over time build relationships to make things more seamless. In China it’s the opposite. They like to have the relationships upfront before engaging in deals.
The best way to cultivate that trust is with face to face meetings, and not over online calls. This means actually traveling to China and getting to know your Chinese contacts. The Chinese like to host banquets with their potential business partners. There are also cultural traditions that extend even to business.
For example, even the simple act of exchanging a business card is steeped in tradition. The person handing their card will hold it horizontally with two fingers holding each corner, the text of the card facing the person that the card is being handed to. The other person grabs the card by both corners and reads it. Both people bow while they exchange cards. You can risk offending your Chinese contacts by not following these traditions.
Clear and effective communication is essential for building strong relationships with Chinese suppliers. One of the most challenging aspects of building a long term relationship with a Chinese supplier is establishing clear expectations and standards projects. Everything from what the tolerances and dimensions are of a part to who handles shipping and what happens if parts are made out of tolerance should all be clearly communicated upfront. Failure in just one of these areas can result in delays or unexpected costs.
Building long-term relationships with Chinese suppliers requires patience, cultural understanding, effective communication, and a commitment to mutual success. By cultivating trust, investing in face-to-face interactions, maintaining clear and open communication, and focusing on win-win partnerships, you can establish strong and enduring relationships. As you can see, the effort it takes to build these relationships will cost a lot of time, money, and energy.
The GTS Shortcut
At Global Trade Specialists, we’ve already built and maintained these relationships for decades. Our customers have a much easier time getting their parts from China because of it.
Contact us to explore the opportunities for you & your business.