Chapter 3 – Be Absolutely Prepared for Your Negotiations

As mentioned in the previous chapter, you are far from home and cannot just run across town to fetch a missing document or your contract if you forgot to bring it along. Of course, you may be able to ask your staff at home to send you the missing information by e-mail, but you may already have lost your face with your Chinese counterparts because you were ill prepared for the meeting.

Therefore, first make a plan about what subjects must be discussed with each of the companies you are going to visit. After that has been established, you have to prepare a checklist of the documents needed for each meeting. If you want to conduct successful negotiations with favorable results for your company, you had better have everything on hand instead of guessing what else might be needed.

I suggest using a notebook computer during your negotiations. Notebook computers can store all of your previous communication with your supplier along with copies of any new documents that might be needed.

Paper Documents

However, during meetings with your suppliers you still may need a paper version of the documents to provide to the participants. It is usually not very convenient to present documents on your computer screen when several people attend your meeting. The completely paperless office is still a future illusion so you need to have hardcopies of the most important documents ready for your negotiations. If more copies are needed, your supplier can make them for you.

Help Your Chinese Partner Prepare

The meeting may only last 2-3 hours total but your preparations will probably need much more time if you want to be successful.

It is also common for your Chinese business partner to request a summary of the intended discussion points in advance. This makes perfectly good sense so they can also prepare for the meeting and can ask for additional information if something seems unclear.

Chinese senior managers seriously dislike being confronted with details they were not aware of and for which they did not prepare themselves. If you wait until the meeting before disclosing key information, the Chinese decision maker will loose his face. The result will be negotiations that go nowhere despite your perfect preparations.

Unfortunately, the preparations were less than perfect if you fail to cover the Chinese side of the equation. Not helping the Chinese prepare for the meeting is a formula for failure. Chapter 15 covers common discussion points for Chinese business negotiations. That is the least you must be prepared for but each case may have different subjects and may need different preparations.

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