The Managing Director of an online vendor of IT solutions has ongoing relationships with American companies whose products his company sells and/or facilitates their distribution in the Baltic market. Communication with these American companies is completed in three ways:
- Formal, in-person presentation of results and future plans.
- Receiving unscheduled phone calls looking for specific answers to sales-related questions and/or updates on various projects.
- Small talk before/after meetings and during conferences.
Each of these had their own particular challenges as the American counterparts demanded clear and concise answers to each of their questions, not accepting pauses, imprecise language, or being hesitant.
Even though our client had high B2 English when starting with us, he received complaints regarding his English from his American counterparts.
We devised a three-step programme for this client. In the first step, we completed sessions to develop his presentation skills, while also performing a general grammar review.
Step two consisted of three interactions each week and lasted for 12 weeks. We provided and trained the language tools needed to be able to deal with complaints and offer solutions, empathize with his counterpart, concede points in a discussion while not losing face, describing successes, providing sales figures, and giving sales projections while informing others on the unique characteristics of the Baltic market.
In the first session of each week, we would provide the client with the tools to be able to handle difficult questions in those theme areas. Following that, we would do one phone call where we completed a role-play specifically addressing the theme / topics covered in the first session of the week. This phone call was recorded. In the final session of the week, we listened to the phone call to evaluate the strengths and areas to improve. Following this, we reinforced the areas to improve and worked on specific small talk skills.
Step three consisted of addressing specific work issues that were taking place in his work at that moment. These were related to document and presentation preparation as well as preparation for specific meetings.
After his counterpart relationship being slightly tenuous at times, our client was able to form a positive relationship with all of his suppliers and partners. Phone conversations became much easier and he was more confident to be able to initiate the phone call rather than passively wait for a call that may come at an inopportune moment. Our client has now secured the future of his company and has had successful business trips to the US.
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