3 Tips To Avoid Timezones Differences Disrupting Your International Trade
People doing international business have all experienced communication mishaps due to time differences, and the chances grow with the more countries/places you engage with.
Dr Edward Anderson, of the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA), found that each hour of time difference reduced international goods trade by between two and seven percent.
In reality, you don’t even have to sell overseas to deal with different time zones. Even on the domestic market, considering the time to book a meeting from Sydney to Perth can sometimes create confusion.
We mapped out how Australia has 7 different time zones. Today, we will share 3 simple tips when setting up a meeting with a client in another location.
1. Be very clear about the time
Remember that not everyone knows about GMT, UTC, and these acronyms. It is best to include a specific location. If you are unsure of their exact location, try checking the telephone area number.
If meeting participants will join from different locations, take the meeting organizer’s location on the first line in a different color and add other times and locations below it. Time would directly be translated to the recipients’ time zones if you send a calendar invite.
2. Be considerate about work hours.
Each country/culture has various work hours, but the standard work hour is 9 am – 5 pm. For companies doing international trade, there is a bit more flexibility of -/+1 hour so keep meetings between 8 am – 6 pm.
For simplicity, let’s talk about other countries with Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) as the base as of 2 December 2022.
— If you have a client in Quebec, we are 16 hours ahead. Don’t schedule anything until at least early evening (5 pm AEDT minimum) unless they prefer early morning meetings.
— If you have a client in London, we are 11 hours ahead. Schedule things for early morning as they are in the evening (around 5 am – 6 am AEST)
— If you have a client in Jakarta, we are 4 hours ahead. Best to schedule an afternoon meeting as it’s morning for them.
There are useful websites to find a suitable meeting time across two or more multiple time zones. Our favorite is https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
3. Keep Constant Communication
You’ll rarely see your clients outside of your geographic area so it’s best to have constant communications to foster the relationship. It’s easy to be effective without being physically on-site, but the long-lasting B2B relationships are the ones maintained both online and offline.
Give your customers a sense of comfort by communicating as constantly as appropriate. Schedule Zoom or calls every once in a while, to keep the human element involved but ensure each communication has value so the relationship remains relevant.
Understanding time differences and their impact prepares your business for international success. If you are unsure which country to expand your business to, we are here to help.
Call +61 (0) 2 7903 0543 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and meet our export experts for a free export consultation.