19 June 2015 // Thoughts

Working in China, Part 3: Using Outside Consultants to Get the Job

In our last segment, we discussed the importance of changing your business mentality and communication style when bidding on projects in China.

Guangdong Science Center

4. Getting It Right: Accurate Translation
Sounds simple, but are you sure your portfolio is properly translated or what you say in a presentation is accurately interpreted, so that the decision maker on the client side (who usually does not understand English) gets your message? Often, we all spend a lot of time writing an elaborate proposal or preparing a graphically beautiful package, but the only problem is – it’s not in Chinese, or, even worse, it’s poorly translated by a translation company that has as much insight into your business as they do with insurance or banking. High quality translation or interpretation cannot be overestimated. It’s worth the time to locate professional translators that have experience in working in your specific line of business, who understand what you do, who care enough to take the time and exert the effort to get things right.

5. Get A Guide
If you were to go scuba diving in new waters, chances are you’ll go with a guide. What about navigating the waters of business in China? Even if you have been there many times, it never hurts to have a local resource to help you guide through unfamiliar territory. The sooner you acknowledge the barriers and get help, the sooner you are off to a more efficient and enjoyable journey.

Hiring a guide allows you to focus on what you do best – your business – instead of worrying about how to hail a taxi or how to interpret broken English. It is a small price to pay to engage a consultant who is versed in the Chinese business environment and understands its unique set of subtleties and underlying minutiae. Not only will this help you be more productive in your pursuit of qualified leads, but will also save you a lot of time spent in pursuing “opportunities” that are really wild goose chases. A knowledgeable representative can help you avoid potential clients just looking for free creative, will keep you away from participating in competitions in which you don’t stand a good chance to win and can protect you from clients who just want to use your proposals as bargaining chips against your competition.

So you’ve gotten the job – congratulations! Now what? We’ll tackle that question in our final segment.