Expanding your business into a territory such as Australia, whether you are a national or from another country, can unlock a whole host of opportunities for your organization and help you to make more money. Indeed, there are some incredible investment opportunities within the country, particularly if you’re a business in Latin America and want to export agricultural goods to Australia, where consumers are willing to pay a higher price for quality materials and produce.
However, it is important that you understand the business culture and etiquette of Australia, and make changes to your business and market entry to ensure you’re impressing the right people and putting your business in the best possible stead for growth and expansion. Below, we offer an introduction to business culture an etiquette in Australia to give you a helping hand.
Etiquette – Doing Business in Australia
Whether you’re situated in Latin America or the United States, the chances are that the way in which you do business will differ to the way it’s done in Australia. Of course, the business world remains mostly the same – networking is important, and it pays to put in the hours to build and maintain relationships with key clients who will future-proof your organization. But there are some subtle differences, and it’s important that you understand them before you get started.
- Modesty: Like the British, Australians are modest, and don’t like people who big themselves or their businesses up. Of course, you should sell the benefits of working with your business, but you should be modest and put the facts on the table. Be friendly and passionate about what you do, but don’t go in for the hard sell, as it won’t work! In the same breath, remember that Australian’s won’t necessarily shout about their success from the rooftop – don’t assume a potential client isn’t successful because they’re not wearing an expensive Rolex or showing off about how much they’re making.
- Straightforward nature: In terms of business, Australians are very blunt and to the point, and don’t want to spend months chatting before they buy or sell to you. This is both a blessing and a curse, as it means you can enter quick and fruitful partnerships, but it also means that you have to be prepared for rejection – if you’re trying too hard to sell or you’re frustrating them by contacting them too often, they just won’t be interested.
- Slower decision making: The Australian business scene is diverse and ever-changing, but one thing is for certain: they take time when it comes to making decisions. Exercise some patience and don’t try to push sales, as you’ll only turn off a potential buyer.
Whilst Australians are less inclined to attend endless networking meetings and catch-ups before they work with another company, you should still put in the effort to impress. Before you do, make sure you understand the etiquette…
- Be informal: Australians aren’t very formal, so be relaxed and casual when you are greeting a potential client or business partner. However, just because they might say ‘G’Day’ to you, that doesn’t mean you should use the phrase back, especially if you’re not from the country. Stick to a polite ‘Hello’ and follow with standard English terms.
- Talk about the right stuff: If you’re making small talk, then stick to things like the weather, sports and pop culture, and avoid things such as religion, sex, and politics to stay on the safe side.
- Be polite: Make sure that you arrive early when you’re meeting an Australian, and follow Australian working culture. You shouldn’t assume that, because a contact has invited you out for a catch-up, that they want to talk about business, so let them make the first move and take it in turns to buy rounds of drinks.
- Dress smart: Just because Australians are more relaxed, that doesn’t mean you need to dress down. Stick to suits or a smart dress, and bring along a business card, too.
Understanding the differences between the business culture in Australia and business culture in your own country is important, so follow the tips that have offered above and you’ll have more confidence when navigating the market and talking to the right people. Of course, the majority of the differences are common sense, so practice good manners and you shouldn’t run into issues.