If you want to make some money out the UK, it’s important to know how they do business there. Of all the European countries the UK is the most traditional in terms of how to negotiate and trade. Here are some tips for doing business in Britain.
Don’t send a kid to do an adult’s job. The Brits are not impressed by MBA’s, Armani suits and zeitgeist buzzwords. They like to do business with someone who can bring a little gravitas and decorum to the situation. Many senior British businesspeople have got where they are today by moving up through the company from the ground floor. They want to do business with someone like themselves. The University of Life is still highly regarded in the UK.
The Brits are a reserved bunch and they do their jobs in a reserved way. They are convinced by solid evidence and hard facts and what you feel about something is really not important. You want a close relationship? Get married!
Giving presents is not part of Brit business culture. It embarrasses them. If you are invited to a Brit’s house, however, take a bottle of decent wine. If you want to mark the closing a big deal, why not invite your opposite number to the theatre or the opera? Under no circumstances give something ostentatiously expensive – that would be considered vulgar.
Don’t talk loudly. If there is one thing the Brits hate it is a ‘loudmouth’. Don’t touch them either! No Continental kissing! Keep your distance and only look them in the eyes when you want to emphasise something. This may seem very cold to you but remember…you’re in Britain. It’s their country and that’s the way they like it thank you very much.
The British don’t speak very much because they like to mean what they say. They find expressions such as ‘Have a nice day’ deeply suspect because they detect a lack of sincerity. They have generally found ‘goodbye’ to be a suitable valediction. Never call a Brit ‘my friend’ unless they are.
The English use understatement a lot and are unlikely to show any overt signs of enthusiasm. If you want to know what a Brit is thinking, listen closely to what they say. Just because your presentation only got a few ‘hmms’ does not mean you haven’t clinched the deal.
The Brits used to have an empire. A really, really big one. They are proud of their imperial past and that should be respected. Say nice things about the Queen.
In casual conversation with a Briton don’t mention Northern Ireland, religion, the ‘Euro’, Brussels or sex. You would be okay to talk about the weather, sport and beer.
Aggressive sales techniques will fail in the UK. Although they are reserved they are quite capable of saying no.
Use your common sense to do business in Britain and don’t take the other tips too seriously!!