How to Do Business in Japan
The Japanese take their business very serious and follow a strict etiquette and protocol when it comes to doing business_ Personal relationships are the most important aspect when doing business in Japan. The Japanese will not do business with anyone until they get to know them on a personal level. They want to know your whole history, both personally and professionally, so they can create an Image for themselves about who you really are, It typically takes several meetings and dinners until doing business with someone is even talked about.
Personal referrals, from people they already know or whom they are already in business with, are extremely helpful. A good way to help/maintain a personal relationship with a Japanese business partner Is to send them seasonal greeting cards and maybe Include a picture of your family. The second most important thing aspect is business meeting etiquette. Appointments are required and business meetings must be scheduled weeks ahead of time. Punctuality Is key and you should always arrive on time or earlier. When dressing for a business meeting, make sure to dress in a business professional manner.
Men are expected to wear dark colored conservative suits either black, blue, or grey. Women are
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The Japanese prefer to see things In writing so make sure your presentation is organized into a packet so they can follow along, and make sure to have a contract written out. Written contracts are required. While presenting you may notice that some people may have their eyes closed, do not be alarmed or worried though because this Is a sign that they are listening Intently. The Japanese are looking for a long term commitment so it is advised to never refuse a request. By obliging to the needs of their request, the Japanese are more inclined o give a trial period to see how you handle business with them.
By completing the business, in a timely manner and with great service, you will prove your dependability and capability. Along with the Japanese expecting you to never refuse a request of theirs, they too have difficulty saying “No”. The Japanese are non confrontational and have trouble saying “riff’ so It Is advised to ask them questions In a style so they can answer “yes”. Due to their non confrontational demeanor it is highly recommended to never get angry, annoyed or raise your voice in a meeting. Always make sure to bring your best offer to the table because the Japanese will do the same.
Patience and flexibility are key qualities to have when doing business in Japan. Even though contracts are signed and written out they can always be renegotiated. They are often never seen as final agreements. Always make sure to 1 OFF meeting. One other thing looked at with great importance in the Japanese world of business is business cards. The Japanese people look at business cards very seriously and often times they can make or break a business deal. Business cards are exchanged instantly so it is important to have a large stock of cards and to always carry them on you.
Make sure to invest in quality cards because the Japanese will have top of the line cards and will expect the same from you. Have one side of your card printed in English and the other side printed in Japanese. When passing your card out make sure to do so with two hands and a slight bow as a sign of respect. Include your Job title within your company on your card so the Japanese are aware of your status. In Japan the Management style is very similar to some of the management’s styles en in today’s U. S. Companies.
In Japanese management, information flows from bottom to top and senior management has more of a supervisory approach, rather than a hands on approach. Policy is often originated at the middle-levels of a company before being passed upwards for ratification. The key task for a Japanese manager is to provide the environment in which the group can flourish. Managers must be accessible at all times and willing to share knowledge within the group, and team members are expected to keep managers fully informed of developments.
The Geiger a Japanese manager rises within an organization, the more important it is that he/she appears unassuming and ambitious. Individual personality and forcefulness are not seen as the prerequisites for effective leadership. The Japanese are users of coded speech and instructions from managers can seem extremely vague to western ears and this often causes confusion and frustration. It is often necessary to ask for clarification if tasks seem vague or unclear. It is better to seek clear understanding at the outset than to allow misunderstandings to produce poor results or tensions in the relationship.