What Brits Need to Know About Negotiating in America
Since June 23, 2016, when Britain boldly decided to leave the EU, one of the big questions on every business leader’s mind is what shape a US/UK Free Trade Agreement will take.
Getting to a successful agreement is not just about economics, but the personalities of the negotiators as well. Alongside Donald Trump’s frequent changes made to agreements, Boris Johnson and his team must understand the cultural intricacies of deal-making with Americans.
While some say the US and Great Britain share a common language and “special relationship”, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking the cultural differences between them are few and far between. But in fact, they are much more significant than most executives realise, from the pace of business to communication and everything in between.
So what does the British government and its negotiators need to know?
As a regular international speaker, educator and advisor on brand internationalisation, and a Californian based in Europe for over 30 years, breaking into America is one of the most common challenges for the companies I advise, many of which have trouble building profitable relationships with their US counterparts.
They recognise that it’s not simply “business as usual” when they work in the US, and that they must adapt their approaches to influencing, communicating and negotiating in order to make real headway.
How to do so is the basis of our best-selling book Working with Americans, the first business manual exclusively focused on how to win in the US business culture to give executives like you an insider’s view of US corporate cultures to understand the mindset, diversity and preferred ways of working.
Here are some of those insights which any business professional can use when looking to succeed in the world’s largest economy:
1. 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. Those that can “do the deal” are held in high esteem, often more than those that build deep, engaging personal relationships.
2. Keep it simple 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. Making the US “wins” quantifiable will make the negotiations more successful.
3. Evolve or die
As the national religion is Darwinism, if the Agreement is not being improved but stuck in the reviews of its shortcomings, then Americans will lose interest and move on to other priorities. Keeping the attention of US decision makers against the country’s noisy backdrop is critically important.
To learn more about ways you can build profitable business relationships with Americans, download two free chapters from our book where you can also purchase a copy. Or why not listen to my recent BBC Radio 4 interview on the subject here.
We’d love to learn about your experiences of working with our countrymen, so feel free to get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org.