Dynamics of Doing Business in Turkey
Business Relationship Development
Competition is very high within the health equipment industry. Businesses, thus, work extra hard to build and expand their portfolio for solid brands. Covid-19 pandemic led to the scramble for PPEs developing a wide gap in the industry. Therefore, as a company dealing in the distribution of PPEs, we commit to business relationship development. Closing business deals with Turkish people is an exciting experience. One has to have a developed business relationship-building culture. Primarily, there are about four crucial stages of building a business relationship abroad. The stages include awareness, exploration, expansion, and finally, commitment.
The Awareness Stage
A company’s marketing campaign is the initial traction point to gaining customers. A background check on the company’s marketing policies counts within the awareness stage. Upon initial contact, people unconsciously discern the impression about others and that about their business. Therefore, in this stage, one has to review a dealer’s business relations, experiences, and reviews(Cranston, 2014). For example, the business relationships manager should consider a thorough background analysis of the new supplier. A common question at this stage is “do they share similar goals?”
Also, checking the background on legal and cultural transaction parameters with a Turkish business is vital. For instance, one observation is that Turkish supply laws resemble European laws(Atradius, 2012). Thus, as a UK’s PPEs distributor, the company will quickly build a business relationship with a Turkish firm. At the awareness stage, one usually figures out how the business will occur(Cranston, 2014). For example, the consumer will ask themselves whether they have landed on the right PPE dealer. The consumer will also picture whether the PPEs will suit their needs. Their perceptions will determine whether they will advance towards the next stage.
Exposure and Consumer Perceptions Variables
The main concern during the awareness stage concerns exposure. The variable applies to both the consumer and the supplier. The awareness stage tests whether the consumer has enough background information about the international supplier they want to engage (Sweeney, 2018). It also checks on the underlying parameters of trade between two countries. Likewise, the stage tests whether the supplier is competently driving traction with the marketing campaign. Therefore, during the awareness stage, the exposure variable is very predominant. Also, the consumer’s perceptions drive them towards locating the best supplier (Sweeney, 2018). For instance, there may be several PPEs manufacturers and suppliers within other blocks. However, the business has conducted research and discovered the Turkish supplier. Therefore, consumer perceptions are vital factors. They determine suppliers with whom the consumers build relationships.
The Exploration Stage
Primarily, the supplier and the client introduce each other through phone calls and referrals. Also, the partners can interact through random events and exchange business cards. However, before any encounter with a supplier, one should build rapport with them. After a clear background check, the need for a close professional relationship then occurs. At this point, the initial contact has happened between the consumer and the supplier. Value proposition happens within this stage(Cranston, 2014). The consumer underpins whether the deal is worth engaging in or is a dismissal.
In this case, the PPE client should learn about the Turkish dealer and their proposal. Several factors need consideration within the communication process. First, the extent to which the dealer provides customer education on their products(Sweeney, 2018). The second factor concerns how the company performs sales and customer service. The third and significant issue is about what the dealer is proposing on the table for business. Therefore, the business relations manager should ensure the business introduction with the Turkish supplier yields a quality value proposition and customer demands.
Knowledge is an important variable, mainly during the exploration stage. At such points, the consumer usually desires to get as much information as possible. Thus, the consumer can take the initial step of initiating the relationship (Sweeney, 2018). For instance, the manager may like to know the PPEs’ quality, quantity, price, meeting point, and travel arrangements. Besides, the knowledge variable measures the supplier’s level of customer education (Sweeney, 2018). The supplier also can initiate a relationship based on their methods of locating consumers.
Consumer Preferences Variable
The consumer’s taste and preferences measure as the primary variables within a business relationship. They are the controlling factors as to whether the business will secure clients or not. The value proposition is only possible when the supplier understands what the consumer needs. For instance, for the firm to cross international borders to secure PPEs, then the value proposition by the Turkish supplier must be of equal standards. Therefore, within the exploration stage, consumers tend to investigate whether the supplier will meet their preferences. Also, the supplier’s primary tool to initiate the consumer into the relationship is by proposing the value according to the client’s demands.
The Expansion Stage
Formal business relationships begin with meetings to get to know people and them to know you personally. It is the stage in which the supplier and the client meet physically to discuss the proposal(Cranston, 2014). Both parties need to develop mutual respect. They also require to behave in more personal levels than the formal levels. Within this stage, both players have already made initial communications of introduction. Also, the dealer has provided customer education about the various business products. Similarly, the consumer has enough knowledge about product availability, price, and transport logistics. Also, they are aware of the business location and the meeting points to discuss the deal in detail. At this stage, the relationship has escalated towards a trustable business partnership. Thus, most business discussions occur at this level.
For example, the Turkish supplier and the UK relations manager can assist each other find pleasant business meeting places. The partners can play golf at one of Ankara’s serene golf courses. A good business meeting should involve some fun that makes the partners enjoy discussing the proposals (Shane, 2015). At this stage, the consumer experiences a real-time understanding of the supplier. Therefore, interpersonal and customer service skills play significant roles. The UK relationships manager should maximize on understanding Turkish business culture to present quality interpersonal skills (Passport to Trade, 2013). However, this stage only ushers in the next stage of decision towards deal closure.
Interpersonal Skills Variable
The level of interpersonal skills is a crucial determinant within the supplier-consumer journey. The supplier’s convincing power proves a lot towards consumer acquisitions (Zwilling, 2018). During both the exploration and expansion stages, the consumer should observe how the supplier provides the first impression. Also, the ease with which the supplier is ready to communicate with the buyer is paramount. Since the buyer deals with an international supplier, he should ensure moderate conversations.
The Commitment Stage
The commitment stage is the hallmark of a successful business experience. At this stage, suppliers tend to focus on the closure of the deal. The aspect of trust is thus an essential factor. The relationship will depend on whether the consumer is taking the value or not. Therefore, both parties need to show offering than requests (Zwilling, 2018). At this stage, consumers tend to check whether the experience meets their expectations. At such points, the consumer is always sure that they will secure the deal or fail. Therefore, both the consumer and supplier need enough trust towards the business terms and delivery of the agreement. Also, they should have open minds towards deals rather than unrealistic expectations.
The commitment stage determines whether a business acquires reciprocity. If the supplier convinces the client into closing a successful business deal, the level of client satisfaction becomes a factor. Therefore, the relationship is likely to experience perpetual continuity and more referrals(Sweeney, 2018). Also, the consumer expects to benefit through attracting many opportunities from experience. Suppliers use all customer service tactics to ensure they close as many deals as possible. The value of a happy client usually creates a chain of referrals that forms a sustainable business network. Both parties should show mutual support despite the outcome of the business.
Trust is the most critical variable that determines the deal. Trust cuts across all levels of the business relationship. However, it is directly proportional to the succession of the relationship stages (Sweeney, 2018). For instance, the level of trust ascends the hierarchy of initial contact, meeting, and closure of deals. However, the trust levels are of high value within the commitment stage. The client has to keep up with the terms of payment in the invoice, separate expenses, and disclaimers. Similarly, the supplier has to ensure they provide what the client ordered within the consignment note. Failure of both in meeting business agreement terms leads to loss of the business relationship. On the contrary, successful business relationships based on trust enable the players to experience mutual benefits (Sweeney, 2018). For instance, the supplier acquires referrals and business reviews from the clients. Likewise, the clients gain new offers and connections for their businesses.
Customer Service and Satisfaction Variables
Both customer service and satisfaction go hand in hand. However, the former receives measurements from the beginning of the business relationship. The latter receives measures after the deal is over, whether successful or not. Therefore, customer service, especially during the exploration, expansion, and commitment stages, is vital (Shane, 2015). For instance, the Turkish supplier must have high customer service skills to ensure the PPE manager travels to Turkey with the required items. However, the relations manager must also be rational towards the business terms so that the relationship fails to burden both sides. Similarly, customer satisfaction should be the core of the supplier.
The cultural and linguistic Requirements
Turkey is a melting point of culture as it is located strategically where Christianity and Islam meet with Europe on one hand and Asia on the other. The country provides a business opportunity as it has functional democracy and universal values. The strong relations with Europe, peaceful relations with regional powers, and growing market make Turkey an ideal location to source products (Beugelsdijk, Maseland & Van Hoorn, 2015). The interaction with Westerners gave Turkey a chance to democratize and liberalize its economy and culture. The liberalized economy has influenced Turkey as an effective financial and trade center. To establish business operations in Turkey, overcoming differences in communication, language, and business practices are necessary. Using local contacts is necessary for enhancing trust and eliminating the risks of accessing business networks and operating in unknown markets (Block, Landgraf & Semrau, 2019). Access to networks provides businesses with capabilities and unique resources that are related to personal relationships. Therefore, to develop business networks, it is integral to understand how organizations are building relationships.
Operating in Turkey requires businesspersons to develop personal relationships since it enhances their relations in their work. The Turkish values trust and friendship before working with foreigners. As such, when venturing into the country, it is necessary to develop a strong relationship based on trust and mutual understanding (Brieger & De Clercq, 2019). It is integral to respect education, rank, and authority, which means that a person with the higher rank is expected to make a decision. The senior members of society, family, or business are respected as they are considered to have wisdom. Besides, the country embraces collectivism, which means that the decision-making process involves many people (Caprar & Neville, 2012). It is integral to engage the business stakeholders before making decisions. Personal relations help in creating a network of acquaintances and referrals for an organization as trusting relations are developed. As well, it is integral to avoid embarrassing people as Turks are proud people that are offended easily (Jamontaite et al., 2017). In essence, the personal and professional realms in life are often overlapped; hence, the need to develop strong relations based on trust and friendship.
The business culture in Turkey has semblance to countries n the Middle East, though as a Muslim society, religion and its values have less influence on the daily life and business of Turks. Turkey provides a vibrant mix of cultural values, beliefs, and ideas both from Asia and Europe (Kun & Xi, 2017). As aforementioned, loyalty, confidence, and trust play an integral role in enabling an individual to secure deals. For professionals, it is necessary to develop strong personal relations. The people are proud of their achievements, ancestry, and society though they are historically experienced working with a foreigner, which makes them practical and flexible (Montealegre & Cascio, 2017). Therefore, it is necessary to contact them through formal approaches such as phone calls and email with direct communication to establish trust. The communication needs to be formal and cautious during the first meeting then less formal and direct with a phone call as a follow-up to strengthen the personal relationship (Ngo & Janssen, 2016). While communicating with people, it is integral to maintain personal space with a reduced amount of touching for strangers. Besides, it is necessary to avoid public gestures though handshakes are critical particularly when meeting or leaving as it signifies respect.
Besides, negotiations are an integral part of the Turkish culture; hence, businesspersons should endeavor to make concessions. As aforementioned, it is critical to involve stakeholders before making decisions though the senior members of an organization are responsible for decision making (Oyewole, 2018). It is integral for managers of local companies to know their international counterparts in-person to strike deals or be introduced within business circles. As such, operating in Turkey requires that an individual appear less guarded and impersonal as they are likely to be perceived with reluctance and suspicion. As well, time management is emphasized by organizations as schedules and time are valued by large businesses (Nobre, Walker & Harris, 2011). It is necessary to set agenda though meetings may run over time. In essence, foreigners are expected to meet on time as prior planning and scheduling are valued.
The capabilities and knowledge of the environment are premised on the network that an individual establishes, which shows that it is an asset and resource that is integral in operating in Turkey. National culture plays a role in fostering the growth of entrepreneurship, which shows the reliance on traditional and collectivistic management approaches (Prange, 2016). The business and cultural values that pervade society are at the center of establishing better business relationships. As aforementioned, the Turkish culture is not a mix of values that is neither autocratic nor democratic. As well, the country is neither liberal nor conservative though shows that they value relationships and security (Rico & Puig, 2019). Studies showed that the Turkish are highly hierarchical, conservative, and egalitarian; the society is perceived to have affective intellectual and autonomy. To foster business relations, it is integral that organizations understand the culture of Turkish people.
The Turkish people have high entrepreneurial spirits, which makes the country effective to source materials. As such, society values business relationships that are cultivated and facilitated by relatives and friends. The collectivist cultural attributes of the Turkish people make it possible to establish external relationships that will guide the ability of a business to build close ties with foreigners (Sener, 2013). Despite the closer cultural relations between Turkey and Europe, the traditional values, practices, norms, and beliefs of Turks are different; hence, the need for businesses to understand the dynamics of operating in the country (Sari & Asad, 2019). Despite their avowed commitment and drive, the language skills are a challenge owing to a lack of knowledge on cross-border skills or lack of competence in the English language.
The cultural environment in Turkish is founded on trust, commitment, satisfaction, and information sharing. Trust plays an integral role as it helps to enhance integrity and reliability to foreign businesses. It is integral that trust is established as it helps to entrench commitment for Turkish to work with strangers. Commitment relates to the emotional devotion and connection of Turks to foreign entities (Riezebos & Grinten, 2012). The approach aids in enhancing satisfaction, which relates to the feeling of fulfillment after the relationship is established and fruitful business transaction is successful.
International mobility and immigration play a role in changing the societal structure of Turkey. The country is welcoming to new cultures and languages. The interaction of the Turks with foreigners enabled the spread of foreign languages such as English, French, and German. English has become a popular language for tourism, banking, trade, and media as economists, politicians and cultural critics have embraced it as means of entrenching globalization (Topbaş, 2011). The growth of English was necessitated to foster economic, political, and commercial relations. Though embraced by the younger population, English faces resistance among the older and conservative population. The conservatives believe that the use of English in business is a form of colonization, which makes cultural and linguistic imperialism an issue of concern. As such, the majority of the adult population lacks competence speaking the English language; hence, the need for an interpreter. The challenge with the use of English among conservatives in Turkey is because of its association with elitism.
The English language is perceived as unique to intellectuals, which increases the gap between commoners and businesspersons. The problem is that it creates a lack of confidence with locals preferring not to ask questions and hinders effective participation. The proponents of English contend that the language will help Turkey attract foreign investment and its integration with Europe. It will enable the country to benefit from technological, scientific, and economic development (Acar, 2004). As astute businesspersons, Turks prefer well-structured and clear presentations, which means that the use of statistics, visual and oral communication is preferred. The language and presentation should be loaded with charts, graphs, and maps to attract their interest in the idea. As aforementioned, the choice of words should reflect an indirect and courteous tone though humor is appreciated when a personal relationship is established. While communicating, it is necessary to maintain eye contact while words should reflect sincerity to develop trust.
Since the English language is patchy, speaking clearly and slowly with minimal use of complex vocabulary is recommended. The sentence structure and colloquialism should be avoided. As well, one should get a translator in case the meeting is between persons with no good command of the English language. Good communication is an integral element in doing business in Turkey; hence, the need for using clear and accurate words (Atradius, 2012). As well, the Turks prefer the use of titles, which shows that one appreciates hierarchy and signs of respect; thus, it is critical to address people with their titles. Likewise, emotional communication is preferred with strong eye contact, body language, and tactility is appreciated. A person should be less impassive since it signifies a lack of interest in the conversation.
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