Monday, September 26, 2011

Business / Office

Only four hours of sleep last night and now it's 11 pm.  Dinners with customers last from 7 - 10 pm.  That's a long time to sit on a hard wooden chair and listen to people speak to each other in a different language - all the while smiling and trying to listen with your eyes even though you can't understand a word.  Then after 5 - 10 minutes my interpreter will tell me what they are talking about, or interpret something a person is trying to tell me directly, and half the time I can't hear him (he talks too soft) and the other half of the time I cannot understand the words he is saying - or he communicates it wrong.  For instance, when he tells me "water door" I am supposed to understand that they are talking about former President Nixon and the trouble he created for himself with Watergate.  Water door....water gate.  Get it?  Wow.  Now ask a question like "are your residential homes 220 single phase?  How about your industrial buildings?  Are they like 380 or 385 volts?  Are they 3-phase?  The interpreter knows what a cat and a dog are, but has no clue about electricity or accounting or other matters related to business.

The factory is located just a few blocks from my hotel.   There are about a dozen buildings in this industrial park that look  just like ours.  Kind of a drab green.  We need to spruce the place up a bit so that we can bring buyers in and be more impressive. 

The day I arrived I set up at a spare desk in the office of the Deputy (Assistant) Plant Manager, who also overseas Sales & Marketing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcoming an American

Today the plant manager called a meeting of all the top managers to welcome me to the company.  We met in my private conference room.  They brought in every chair they could find from every office.  There were 22 people there.  I listened politely for  two and a half hours, not understanding a thing.  The plant manager (to my left) spoke for an hour and then the assistant plant manager (blue polo shirt) spoke for an hour.  Then they asked me to address the group.  Afterwards we all went to the hotel and enjoyed a nice dinner.  The company meeting started at 3:30 pm.  I am finally back in my room at 8:00 pm.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Christmas Dinner Anyone?

Now that Beth has e-mailed everyone and got us all thinking about Christmas and traditions, I’m starting to think we need to come up with something new and different to add to our tradition.  Maybe something special we can add to the menu.  Anyone game for some international cuisine?

Someone at church told me that the Chinese love chicken feet.  I don’t remember who it was, but I promised him I would try it sometime.

Well, here is proof that I kept my word.  I think that I will not try chicken feet again.

Just to add some background to the previous picture, I will show you what a typical business dinner looks like in China.  We had nine people come that were representing a company located in middle China.  They drove 14 hours to visit our factory and talk about the quality and safety of our products.  They need to purchase four escalators, and we are one of the manufacturers they are considering.  The dinner lasted three hours, and involved may toasts and much laughter.  In China, it’s all about building relationships before making a business decision.

Contact Info

In case you feel compelled to write. Or send me lavish gifts.

Paul Klinge
Changjiang Hotel – Room 8612
99 Changjiang Road (W)
Jingang Town
Zhangjiagang City
Jiangsu Province
China  215633

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wining and Dining!

We wined and dined two different buyer groups from middle China in the past five days.  The second group is still here and we will have dinner with them again tonight.  It’s all about building relationships over a meal.  The first buying group was concerned about the old factory, but the fact that an American was actually here made a difference.  They perceive American products as quality products.  They agreed to purchase four escalators, and there is much opportunity for elevators from them in the future.  These buyers drove 14 hours to get here (and that is only MIDDLE China).  We will be driving to their town on Thursday.

The second group which is still in town, only drove 600 kilometers.  They are RE developers, and are building an 18 story residential high rise building in a busy downtown city.  Safety, quality and service are important to them, so that is what I talked about.  About 50% of Schumacher USA income comes from servicing elevators, so I could really speak from my heart on this issue, and they believed me, so we are on the road to a trusting relationship.  They all wanted to toast the American and have their picture taken with this tall, young looking American.

Here is a picture of an engineer and a lady from the marketing department in my office.