You will soon have appointments with Turkish entrepreneurs and you don’t know much about the local practices to be applied before and during the interview. Here is an article that will help you to better understand your interlocutors better. You will also find some basic practical tips to know before you jump into the water.
1 / Identify your contact person
Identifying the identity of your interlocutor, but especially his position in society is a crucial point that must not be overlooked before your appointment. This information will determine the tone of your conversation.
If you are going to meet the decision-maker of the company, CEO, owner or partner, you will need to be more global and direct, and thus give global information (potential turnover, forecast sales volumes, etc.). The goal is to convince him that the project will be beneficial and fruitful for his company.
If, on the other hand, you are going to see an employee of the company who will hand in a report of the interview to the decision-maker, give more precise figures, explain the step-by-step processes, do not hesitate to give technical details. By convincing him by precise means of the potential success of the project, you will give him the keys in hand so that he himself can convince his superior.
2 / Taking the cultural aspect into consideration
Turkish culture has an important place in professional talks. Know that the Turks are warm and appreciate to exchange a few words at the beginning of interviews and then slowly bring the discussion to the professional side. You will be systematically offered a drink, tea or coffee, then the host will accompany you to drink it. Turkish people appreciate that you enjoy their tea or coffee, so for them, it is nice to share this cup with you. Moreover, if you want to attract the positive attention of your partner potential, learning a few words in Turkish and then slipping them into a conversation can only be a bonus for you.
The Turkish entrepreneurs are very warm, smiling but slightly stressed to meet a foreigner for the first time, especially if his English is insufficient (according to him). It will be good to relax the atmosphere from the start by complimenting the English of his Turkish interlocutor or apologizing for not being able to communicate in his language. Finally, you will end the interview with a “thank you” for the welcome and the time granted. If the interview ends at dinner time or lunch, you may be invited to share a meal with the host. This is not a form of politeness, it is a sincere proposition! If you accept, you will have the opportunity to eat in good company, surely in a pleasant place, with perhaps a view of the Bosphorus, while strengthening your complicity with your interlocutor who will attach importance to it.
3 / Find out about the country’s economic situation
You may offend your host and jeopardize your credibility if he realizes that you do not have the basic economic knowledge about his country. Turkish people appreciate the interest in their country and like to know that their trading partners are concerned about the economic well-being of the country in which they want to do business. So be warned or even make a study on the country BEFORE getting in business with Turkish entrepreneurs.
The subject to be avoided is still a political subject. Not knowing the opinion of your interlocutor on the subject, it is better not to give your opinion neither on the government nor on the overall political situation of the country.
4 / Show your commitment to the development project in Turkey
During the appointment (which you surely have to prepare upstream), we advise you to have:
- Your business card, to be presented at the beginning of the meeting
- Brochures in English or Turkish
- Samples (if possible to leave to the prospect)
- A price list (if you want to share it with the prospect)
- Some technical sheets if the presentation of your product requires precise details
It is not usual to bring a gift to his prospect, but a small box of chocolate will be very appreciated, especially for the prospects with whom you feel a real interest.
But the most important thing is to bring with you a specific plan of actions, although it will certainly not be the final action plan. The Turkish entrepreneurs must feel that you are motivated, prepared to face the market and determine to breakthrough. If he is not confident, he will doubt your credibility and his interest will remain only superficial.
5 / Make concessions and stay flexible
Flexibility is the biggest complain that Turkish businessmen make about some European companies. They complain of the rigidity in action plans, deadlines, prices and the most basic processes of partnerships.
The Turks have direct and instant decision-making methods that are rarely found in some European countries and they ask foreign entrepreneurs who are rather thought-provoking. The Turkish will, therefore, expect from you flexibility that must be granted without falling into excess.
The French version of the article, click here.