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Working With French Companies

21 Mars 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working With French Companies

  • France is Europe’s second largest economy, and the fifth largest in the world
  • France is Europe’s second largest consumer market, with 65 million inhabitants
  • France is the World’s leading tourist destination, with 83 million visitors annually
  • France features Europe’s largest aerospace and nuclear industries
  • France has Europe’s second largest agri-food and chemical industries
  • France has Europe’s third largest ICT and pharmaceutical sectors

According to the latest figures, only one in ten European SMEs reports export sales. Yet it is clear that exports, or more generally international partnerships, are key factors to achieving long term revenue growth. Exports represent an insurance in periods of downturn, drive innovation and competitiveness, and allow businesses to spread risk over a portfolio of international clients.

So the question is: Why are so few French and Irish SMEs exporting? The next question is: What are the obstacles? And the last one: What should you do?

If a clear and straightforward answer to these questions existed, they wouldn’t keep coming up and agencies and consultants trying to boost exports would have disappeared from economic landscapes a long time ago.

With this is mind, a few general rules cannot be ignored, whatever the situation and whatever the company concerned.

Rule #1 - Language and cultural differences shouldn’t be an obstacle

Make sure that exchanges with partners or potential partners are easy, with a clear understanding on both sides. This is not only a matter of translation, but also involves business culture, combining contact facilitation with the ability to solve problems on both sides.

Rule #2 - The first contact is a win or lose situation

Any experienced salesman will tell you that first impression is crucial. Don’t ruin your efforts with a bad initial choice. Opening opportunities requires the right skills.

Rule #3 - Build trust

The only way to ensure revenue growth in the long term is to build reliability and personal relationships. Everyday business has to be based on trust, both on your side and on the French side.

The French market is open to Irish companies, whatever their size and resources. Just make sure you choose the right approach, this is the key to make your entry a success.