Preparation before making the trip
Research your destination country thoroughly before you leave New Zealand and start your travel preparations early. Some travel requirements, such as visas and vaccinations, may need to be done well in advance of your departure:
- Organise visas: Some countries will require you to hold an entry visa before you enter the country. Check with the relevant embassy or consulate.
- Passport: Is it still valid? Some countries may require your passport to be valid for six months after entry into the country.
- Insurance: Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you leave New Zealand. Carry your insurance information with you at all times when travelling.
- Money: How much local currency do you need? Are credit cards widely accepted?
- Safety: Check country travel warnings at safetravel.govt.nz.
- Health and vaccinations: If you are on medication make sure you have enough supplies to last the trip. If you are heading to developing or tropical areas ask your GP about vaccinations at least six weeks before departure.
- Check a country's yellow fever and malaria status at the World Health Organisation website.
- Register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) so they are aware of your travels in the case of an emergency.
If you are travelling with staff or sending staff overseas, make sure they are aware of the above issues and are fully prepared for overseas travel.
The first meeting
Negotiating styles and etiquette varies greatly between countries. It's important to research cultural issues and considerations so you do not inadvertently cause offence. It could save you a wasted trip abroad.
It would also pay to get advice in advance regarding appropriate dress code for business meetings.
A small gift of low value is considered polite, particularly one which features New Zealand. This is an option to consider in all countries and in some Asian countries this is rule.
When you get back to New Zealand follow up the contacts you made when overseas. You may need to send out more detailed technical information on your products or just touch base.
Continue to follow up on a regular basis - they may not be ready to work with you until sometime in the future.
Developing the relationship
Relationships are built and strengthened over time. It takes a special effort to build a relationship with someone in a country you do not often visit.
However, the better your understanding of the country, people and culture the better your chance of success.