Trusting an employee to negotiate deals for your business can be a giant leap of faith.

Naturally, the higher the stakes, the more disconcerting it becomes.

This difficult delegation is made worse still when you entrust them to negotiate overseas on your behalf.

There are many reasons why this is the case. Put simply, negotiating on foreign turf is like a football team playing away from home. By its very nature, being in someone else’s country puts you at a disadvantage in a business negotiation.

However, this doesn’t mean you should cut your losses and handle these negotiations yourself. This is far more likely to waste your time and lose you money, as your talents are better used elsewhere. After all, there’s nothing stopping you from making the same mistakes as your colleagues.

Instead, a sensible strategy is to provide rigorous training for your negotiating team, making them aware of the risks and providing them with usable solutions.

Here’s what your employees need to watch out for when negotiating a business deal overseas, and simple principles to prevent a failed negotiation:


The language barrier makes legalese even more opaque

This is arguably the toughest challenge your negotiating team will face when they close business deals abroad. Navigating the maze of business legalese is hard enough in your own language, but in another language, it can be downright impossible.

This is a dangerous disadvantage for your staff to find themselves in.

Rather than trying to struggle through it – potentially encountering all manner of legal traps and obstacles – you should use legal translation services instead. By using a professional legal translator, you have someone on your team who understands the legal details of the country you’re closing a deal in, a potentially priceless asset. They are also fluent in the customs of the country and can instruct your team to act or speak a certain way to communicate with the opposing side more effectively and increase the chances of your team closing the deal.


Make sure your staff avoid falling into legal and financial traps by slowing the process down

Following on from the previous point, it is imperative that you avoid falling into potentially dangerous or expensive legal and financial traps. While a translating professional can help a great deal with this, it is also important to train your team not to rush into any agreements too quickly. This approach is important for any negotiation, but is particularly pertinent in this scenario. It can also unearth hidden opportunities that would otherwise go unnoticed if they rushed.


Always meet on neutral ground

This is a small detail with huge results. Advise your team to meet and negotiate with the opposing team on neutral ground. Again, this is a basic negotiating technique, but it is particularly important when closing deals overseas. Neutral ground does not have to be a different country or region; your team just needs to avoid meeting in the opposing side’s offices. By allowing them to enjoy the advantage of home ground, your team puts themselves at an automatic weakness before they have even opened their mouths.

Instead, your team should locate a quiet bar, co-working space, or rentable meeting room to use as a negotiating location.


Give your employees time to rest before decisions are made

Your staff will have to travel a long way to complete a successful business deal overseas. It is imperative that they don’t rush immediately into a negotiation without spending a day or two recovering from the journey and getting their bearings. While it may appear like a waste of company money to put your staff up in a hotel for a day longer than they otherwise would be, the long-term payoff can be huge.

Negotiations are all about being relaxed, focused, and comfortable. If your team is suffering chronic jet lag, confused about where they are, and without a concrete plan, they will fail to negotiate and return home empty-handed. Invest in your employees, and they will better be able to do the job you tasked them with.


Understand the culture and the economy before investing in another country

By allowing your team a day or two to get comfortable in their new surroundings, they can use this time to better understand the culture in which they are doing business.

This process can be reinforced by research carried out before your team goes to negotiate. This also goes for local economic information and background information on the company or individual you’re dealing with.

These details compound into a strong negotiating position for your team and prevent them from bringing cultural baggage into the business transaction.



By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.