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Expertise VS. Attitude: What Exactly International Clients Are Looking for

Expertise VS. Attitude: What Exactly International Clients Are Looking for

At this age, businesses of all sizes are expanding their market reach by working with international clients. The rise of new markets, increased revenue, and global recognition have made it a goal for many companies to establish themselves from a global perspective. However, there’s a common misconception that expertise is the sole determinant of success when dealing with international clients. In reality, attitude plays a big role in building fruitful international client relationships. In this blog, we’ll debunk the myth that expertise always trumps attitude and explore what international clients are truly looking for. 

Expertise: The Essential Foundation

Expertise serves as the essential foundation when it comes to impressing international clients. It represents your in-depth knowledge, honed skills, and proven track record of successfully completed projects. International clients turn to you for your specialised know-how, seeking assurance that you possess the competence required to fulfill your commitments. In essence, expertise lays the groundwork for trust, forming the initial building block of a strong working relationship. Without a doubt, having a solid foundation of expertise is non-negotiable, as it demonstrates your capability to deliver on promises. However, it’s important to understand that while expertise is a critical factor, it alone may not be sufficient to wholly win the hearts of international clients.

The Limitation of Expertise Alone

Although expertise is undeniably important, it’s essential to acknowledge its limitations. While it provides the necessary assurance that you can handle the technical aspects of a project, it doesn’t necessarily encompass the broader qualities and characteristics that international clients seek. These clients are often looking for more than just technical proficiency. They seek partners who not only possess the required expertise but also display exceptional communication skills, cultural sensitivity, and a problem-solving mindset. In essence, while expertise is the cornerstone, it’s only one part of the equation when it comes to attracting and maintaining strong relationships with international clients. 

Attitude: The Connection Point

Think of attitude as the vital mortar that binds the bricks (expertise) of a bridge together. It connects the technical part with the successful delivery of services to international clients. Attitude encapsulates an array of qualities, including effective communication skills, adaptability, empathy, and a sincere desire to comprehend and meet the client’s requirements. These attributes aren’t just secondary traits; they hold a central role in nurturing a harmonious and fruitful client relationship. To truly grasp the significance of attitude, let’s explore why it plays such a pivotal role.

The Significance of Attitude

Effective Communication Skills: Clear and meaningful communication is paramount when dealing with international clients. Language barriers, time zone differences, and varying cultural norms can complicate interactions. Your attitude towards these challenges can significantly impact the success of your collaboration. A positive and open-minded attitude helps surmount communication hurdles and ensures that clients feel heard and valued.

Adaptability: The business landscape is dynamic, and international markets present unique challenges. Clients appreciate partners who can adapt swiftly and flexibly to changing circumstances. A “can-do” attitude that embraces change and seeks creative solutions is more likely to earn the trust and respect of international clients.

Empathy: Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, is a crucial quality when working with international clients from diverse backgrounds. Demonstrating empathy by genuinely understanding their perspectives, needs, and concerns can go a long way in building a strong, enduring partnership.

Cultural Sensitivity: International clients value partners who are culturally sensitive. This involves showing respect for their customs, traditions, and values. A respectful attitude towards their culture fosters goodwill and demonstrates your commitment to a mutually respectful working relationship.

Problem-Solving Mindset: Every project inevitably encounters its fair share of challenges.

When problems arise, international clients look for partners who approach issues with a problem-solving mindset rather than placing blame. A positive attitude towards overcoming obstacles can further strengthen your client relationship.

In essence, attitude is the bridge that transforms your expertise into a holistic package that international clients find truly appealing and valuable. It’s not merely a secondary consideration but an integral part of the equation for success when working with clients on a global scale.

The Perfect Harmony: Expertise and Attitude

Now, what do you think international clients are actually looking for? Instead of setting expertise and attitude against each other, it’s vital to understand that these two elements work in harmony. Consider them as twin engines propelling your journey towards success with international clients. While expertise equips you with the technical skills and knowledge, attitude is the driving force that allows you to effectively apply that expertise in a manner that truly connects with your clients.

Expertise acts as your toolkit, providing you with the necessary skills and insights to address intricate challenges and meet the demands of international clients. It’s your reservoir of specialised knowledge, honed over time through experience and learning. However, this toolkit remains incomplete without the spark of attitude.

Attitude, on the other hand, is the spark that starts life with your expertise. It encompasses soft skills, like effective communication, empathy, and adaptability, which enable you to engage with clients on a deeper level. It’s the human element that transforms your technical competence into a client-centric approach. Attitude ensures that your expertise isn’t just a set of tools but a means to understand, empathise with, and meet the unique needs and expectations of your international clients.

In essence, expertise and attitude are not competitors but collaborators, working hand in hand to create a holistic package that not only delivers results but also resonates with international clients. It’s the combination of both that sets you apart and propels your success in the complex landscape of international business partnerships.

Building your Expertise

To build and maintain your expertise:
1. Read Widely: Stay informed by reading industry publications, books, and research papers. Explore both traditional and digital resources to gain a comprehensive understanding of your field.

2. Attend Workshops and Seminars: Participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences related to your area of expertise. These events offer opportunities to learn from experts, network with peers, and gain practical insights.

3. Online Courses and Certifications: Consider enrolling in online courses and certification programs offered by reputable institutions and organisations. These structured learning experiences can help you acquire new skills and knowledge.

4. Seek Mentorship: Find a mentor who is an expert in your field. Their guidance and feedback can be invaluable in your journey to expertise.

5. Practice and Apply: Knowledge is most valuable when put into practice. Apply what you learn in your work, projects, or daily tasks to reinforce your expertise.

6. Share Your Knowledge: Teaching or sharing your expertise with others can deepen your understanding of the subject matter. Consider writing articles, giving presentations, or mentoring others in your field.

Building the Right Attitude

Now that we’ve established the importance of attitude let’s explore how you can cultivate the right attitude to attract and retain international clients.

1. Continuous Learning

Stay updated with industry trends and international business practices. This demonstrates your commitment to providing the best service possible.

2. Cross-Cultural Training

Invest in cross-cultural training for your team. This will equip them with the knowledge and skills to navigate cultural differences effectively.

3. Active Listening

Practice active listening when interacting with international clients. Pay attention to their concerns, ask clarifying questions, and show genuine interest in their feedback.

4. Empower Your Team

Encourage your team to take ownership of projects and solve problems creatively. Empower them to make decisions that benefit the client.

5. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Lead by example. Maintain a positive attitude in your interactions with clients and colleagues. Positivity is contagious and can contribute to a harmonious working environment.

The Bottom Line

In the world of international business, expertise is undoubtedly essential, but attitude is the glue that holds everything together. International clients are not just looking for a service provider; they are seeking a partner who understands their needs, respects their values, and is willing to go the extra mile. So, when you’re chasing that dream of expanding your business globally, remember that it’s not a battle between expertise and attitude, but a harmonious blend of the two that will truly set you apart in the eyes of international clients.
Expertise and attitude are inseparable components of a successful business strategy when dealing with international clients. While expertise is the bedrock upon which trust is built, a positive attitude is what cements strong and lasting client relationships. So, whether you’re a seasoned business owner or an aspiring international entrepreneur, remember that it’s not just what you know that matters, but how you approach your work and your clients that can make all the difference in the world of international business.

If you want to get more advice that fits your unique business needs, we have more to share here at Filta. We help businesses build a global remote team to accomplish their global business goals. Learn more and reach out to Filta’s Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer, Nerissa Chaux, at

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