Interview with Mona Pearl On How Technology Can Improve Sales And Productivity Worldwide
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Founder of three successful businesses, Mona Pearl (www.monapearl.com) of Chicago has become a corporate coach who has helped numerous companies increase their share of the global market, including GM, Rover, Jaguar, Marriott, Hyatt Corp., Michelin, Philip Morris, Bacardi, and more. Her fluency in six languages and experiences living on three continents have given her a worldwide perspective these companies count as a valuable resource.
|According to Mona Pearl, author of Discover Your Inner Strength – Cutting Edge Strategies from Industry Leading and Grow Globally ,social media is great to make connections, but in international business, culture is very important.|
Mona co-authored books include Discover Your Inner Strength – Cutting Edge Strategies from Industry Leading and Grow Globally. Home Business Magazine® recently spoke with Mona about how technology can improve sales and productivity worldwide.
Home Business Magazine (HBM): How can using technology save home business entrepreneurs money when conducting international business?
Mona Pearl (MP): Technology can save you from buying a ticket and going someplace for the first contact. It shortens the time to market.
There’s no way that people out of their home offices can work from their homes without it.
HBM: How can home business entrepreneurs use social media to sell to others internationally?
MP: Social media is a great thing, the first step in making contact. It’s great to make connections, but in international business, culture is very important. [Social media] doesn’t take the place of relationships. I still get a lot of contracts with phone calls and emails. You really have to know people so people can develop a level of trust. Social media can make the connection and introduction, but there have to be other steps that are not so social media connected.
HBM: How can home business entrepreneurs break the ice using technology?
MP: Mutual contact. It’s nicer if you belong to the same group or have people in common such as in LinkedIn. It makes it much easier.
HBM: What about cultural differences?
MP: In the U.S., if you want someone you’re direct and to the point. It doesn’t quite work that way in most of the world. I met someone on the Internet in China. It’s a business relationship for two to three months. Today, the ice broke and we’re talking about specifics. People have to get a feel for you. Do I trust the person? We overcome all of that in the U.S. with legal agreements. In countries like India, you can win a legal battle and not be able to enforce it. I would caution people against moving too fast.
HBM: How do you build an intimate business relationship?
MP: It has to be personal. You can introduce yourself, but the focus is not all business. You have to start talking about yourself. They want to know who you are, what you think, and how you think. In the U.S., we go to a networking event. You hardly ever talk about your personal life. It usually pertains to your professional life, and then you immediately go into what you can do as a business. You need to make small talk with people outside the U.S. It’s not about the weather. In many cases, it’s about opinions on the global economy, your feelings about how to do business, and certain frustrations. Many times, they get into philosophical ideas.
HBM: How can you make international potential clients feel you understand them?
MP: They are happy I know about their country and culture. I’m always amazed about how much people in other countries know about the U.S., and many in the U.S. don’t know much about other countries and their customs. It’s more of a general framework to build mutual appreciation, and you want to learn about the person. You don’t ask how big is their apartment or house, or how much money they make. But show you know where they’re coming from and their values. I was amazed that one of the people I’ve met is from China, has a French name, and speaks fluent French. It was too direct to ask how come she speaks French. But I asked about her background. And this is how we build a bridge.
HBM: What are good next steps?
MP: Skype is good for helping, because you can see the person. It’s three-dimensional. You can hear or see them. You can write and see in social media. But in other programs, like Skype, you can also hear the person.
HBM: How do you use social media?
MP: If there’s a new article I write, I send a link on Twitter and I Twitter anything new about my professional life. I post to LinkedIn. Culturally, you have to be careful about how you articulate what you want to say. Idioms and the meaning of what we say are important. The open new horizons that were almost impossible to reach before. HBM
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant writes articles for business and consumer magazines and marketing and promotional copy. Visit her online at www.skilledquill.net. V19-1 Add: MAR 12 Car: 9/21/12 HP: