Our new blog series, Export Talk, consists of brief interviews with successful exporters. We’ll be bringing you their thoughts on exporting and their tips for international trade.
First up is Kristina S Bobs of Svaja. Her glass and linen design business supplies luxury hotels, company headquarters and boutiques around the world.
What do you find the most difficult part of exporting?
The most difficult part of exporting is the ability to close deals – to receive a purchase order and down payment. My experience working in the Middle East is that there can be lots of promises, lots of sampling, even site visits – but in the end it only counts if you manage to close a deal. The process can last a number of years – be patient and keep a close eye!
What is your approach to cultural differences when you’re trading in different countries?
Personally, I’m very cosmopolitan and well travelled, so it’s easier for me to approach and work in culturally different areas. You can only go to different markets if you are prepared to accept cultural differences, to be flexible and to learn about markets of interest in advance.
What languages do you speak? Do you do business in all of them?
I am a native Lithuanian speaker, and I have full professional proficiency in English and Russian. I also have elementary French and Arabic and can understand and read Polish.
What would your advice be to someone just starting to export?
At first, ask expert advisers such as UKTI. Make sure your product is suitable for the market and try to do a few small transactions before a market visit. Be focussed, dedicated and patient. Visit the target market and learn a few words of the language spoken there – that will make an impression and show that you are serious about entering the market there! Personal relationships and preparation are the keys to success.
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