In international marketing it helps to have an “Uncle,” a trusted go between to help you enter foreign markets
Your “uncle” can relieve some of your marketing and negotiating burden. And as a third party, the uncle can take a step back and not take anything personally when negotiations heat up. Your uncle often can help to explain the ethics and nuances to you and relieve some of your social pressures.
Other ways your uncle can help you:
• The mere mention of an uncle will let your Asian partners see you are on the ball. When you say “on the advice of my uncle,” you are showing Asians you know more about their their particular culture than the average visitor.
• Uncles can help follow up with business meetings by having a local presence.
• Uncles can haggle with hotels, shopkeepers and taxi drivers for you.
• Uncles can train you in cross-cultural understanding.
• Uncles can prepare you for your meetings.
• Uncles have friends. Thus you can get a network of uncles.
• Uncles can act as occasional interpreters.
• Uncles can collect debts you’re owed.
• Uncles can tell you when you’re wrong.
This last point is crucial. Many executives trudge forward in their businesses and never hear honesty.