Communicating with International Bidders

In: International

5 May 2009

One of the joys and challenges of selling internationally is communicating with non-U.S. bidders. Although citizens of many countries speak English, not all door do so well. This means you’re likely to receive emails in fractured English, or in some language that you might not be able to easily translate.

The solution to this problem isn’t always easy. It’s one thing to say you should send non-English-language emails back to the buyer, requesting communication in English. But if the buyer can’t read or write English, how is he supposed to read your request? This problem is a tricky one.

I have found, however, that communication goes more smoothly if you keep your written communications short and simple. Use straightforward wording, and avoid slang terms and abbreviations.

In addition, you have to deal with the time difference between the United States and many other countries. If you’re dealing with a buyer in the Far East, you’re sleeping while he’s sending emails, and vice versa. This introduces an unavoidable lag into the communication that can sometimes be problematic.

The only advice I can give you here is to be aware of the time differences, and plan accordingly. Don’t expect an immediate response from someone on a different continent, and try to avoid the kind of back-and-forth communications that can go on for days and days.

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