Laurent Kahl, Import-Export Consultant at GlobalFootprints, is a US citizen who was born in Venezuela and lived in 8 countries before graduating from high school.
After college, it was natural for him to enter the global business universe.
Listen to him talk about his experiences and explain why companies should go global!
Connect with Wendy - https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendypease/
Connect with Laurent - https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurentkahl/
Music: Fiddle-De-Dee by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com
ATTENTION: Below is a machine generated transcription of the podcast. Yes, at Rapport International, we talk a lot about how machine translation is not good quality. Here you see an example of what a machine can do in your own your language. This transcription is provided as a gist and to give time indicators to find a topic of interest.
[00:00:34] Wendy: Hello everybody. Welcome to the global marketing show. I'm your host Wendy Pease. And I'm very excited today, uh, because our guests has lived all over the world. So we'll hear more about that in a minute. If you enjoy this episode or one or the other from the global marketing podcast, please go ahead and send it on to somebody else where all over the world now.
[00:00:55] And I just learned that one of the. Prior guests, [00:01:00] um, got a new job offer because he was heard on the podcast. So this, the guests here are fantastic. They share really good information. I am so honored to be able to just sit and ask them questions to my heart's delight and learn about them. Uh, so share a way, particularly if it's an episode you like.
[00:01:19] So today we welcome Laurent Kahl who got his start in global business. Very, very early on. And he's lived all over the [00:01:30] world. So Laurent
[00:01:31] Laurent: welcome. Well, thank you Wendy. I appreciate it. And thank you for inviting me. I look forward to our chat today.
[00:01:38] Wendy: Yeah. Yes I am too, because you've got so many awesome stories.
[00:01:43] Uh, let's start out with what countries have you lived?
[00:01:47] Laurent: Sure. Well, I was very fortunate from this, from when I was born. Actually, my dad was a Sears robot, uh, multinational executive, as he knows, tears was the Amazon of the, of the twenties. And [00:02:00] to top out the seventies maybe, but then it's, you know, it faded away some other major American companies have, but the Sears
[00:02:07] Wendy: catalog that used to be the thing that people need through for their Christmas presents, how you compare it to Amazon yet.
[00:02:16] Laurent: Anyway, so he, uh, helped start Sears overseas. Uh, he was one of the executives to start their operations in south America, central America and Europe. So we, you know, we kind of were army, they say military [00:02:30] brats moving every couple of years from one country to another. And, uh, you know, we had that just all the time.
[00:02:35] And, and naturally I was fortunate that, you know, he gave me the opportunity to learn four languages overseas and, you know, learn about the cultures of both Latin cultures and European cultures, as well as, uh, the American culture. So very fortunate.
[00:02:55] Yeah, my mom and dad met drama street dog, right? I'm again,[00:03:00]
[00:03:01] I'm half Italian, half American and my grandfather was German anyway, a little bit of everything. So, uh, but yeah, born there because that's where they met my. I was visiting her sister and fell in love and Caracas. And then from, from there on I, we moved on, but, uh, had the opportunity to live in Venezuela, Argentina, uh, Panama, uh, Costa Rica.
[00:03:24] And then we moved to Europe, uh, Belgium, Italy and Spain, um, cause [00:03:30] Sears had operations as well after, you know, my dad was transferred there. Uh, and then came back to the states after my dad, uh, his last year, it was a Cirrus naturally the Sears headquarters is in Chicago. So that's where he retired, uh, in that, uh, uh, in, in Chicago.
[00:03:46] So, uh,
[00:03:48] Wendy: somewhere. Like what elementary schools in south America and then high school in Europe, I'm guessing from the,
[00:03:59] Laurent: yeah, [00:04:00] all of them, all of them were American schools. Uh, you know, naturally there are a lot of them were run by the department of defense DOD as they mentioned. But, uh, some of the, some of the, uh, elementary and middle schools and high schools were, all of them were American.
[00:04:16] Uh, Uh, by mostly, uh, run by, uh, you know, other department defense or, and, or the, uh, the American, uh, under the American high school, uh, you know, uh, association, whatever it is. But, uh, [00:04:30] so yeah, we, we, uh, educated in, um, uh, with American, uh, curriculums and, but also forced to learn the local language of that country to when we were there, that they normally taught that language where you were right.
[00:04:46] Yeah, that was part of the requirement.
[00:04:48] Wendy: So all do your education was done in English, but then you also, you said you spoke four languages, so you have
[00:04:56] Laurent: Spanish, French, Portuguese. [00:05:00] Uh, Italian and, uh, well, I learned Portuguese when I worked for, in my career, in, uh, in Brazil for, uh, 10 years, but this was later in my career, but, uh, the French, Spanish, Italian and English were the primary languages that I learned, uh, Belgium, the French, the Italian, Italy, uh, the Spanish national, Latin American, Spain, and then the English with the high schools and junior highs and everything else.
[00:05:25] Wendy: So it's real interesting. When we have a translator apply to work with us, a [00:05:30] translator or interpreter, we're always looking for their two strongest languages. Cause we know they're native and one, and then their second languages where they've gotten bilingual, but you've had exposure from young on to foreign languages.
[00:05:44] Like what's your strongest language. And then your second strongest, or do you feel equally competent across though?
[00:05:52] Laurent: That's a good question. Yeah. You know, with Mike, uh, last, uh, say 20 or 30 years, my career used my Spanish and [00:06:00] Portuguese quite a bit because I wasn't involved with Latin America. Um, the French, I picked up, uh, you know, Belgium, and then I also majored in French in college because I wanted to continue and strengthen that Lang.
[00:06:12] And my Italian because of my mother's, uh, family and, uh, visiting there. Uh, we visited, uh, my family in Rome, uh, you know, in the summers and I continued it because I love the language and, you know, it's just a love of the language and, and. Uh, but I would say [00:06:30] my strongest to rate it English first, probably Spanish.
[00:06:34] And then I would say Tahlia, and then the, uh, the Portuguese, the Portuguese and Italian similar. And then the French last, because I haven't, I don't use French that much as I used to in the past. So, uh, but you know, it's, it's like everything else. You have to use it. If you don't use it, you lose it.
[00:06:51] Wendy: Right.
[00:06:51] Oh yeah. I've definitely seen that with my languages. Cause I'm doing mostly English talking now, even though I run the translation company. [00:07:00] Okay. So, so that's interesting. So you definitely do dream.
[00:07:07] Laurent: Sometimes. Yeah. Sometimes it's just, you know, especially when you're overseas and you're thinking the language all the time, then you really, you know, you start getting involved more with the language, but yeah. Do you, I mean, I noticed you learned Spanish. Uh, in your LinkedIn, but I don't do you know any other languages or, um, I
[00:07:28] Wendy: know some, well, I went [00:07:30] to half, um, English, half Spanish school on first and second grade when we lived in Mexico city.
[00:07:36] So I learned, you know, in school there, and then I came back and took it all through high school and college. Um, but I've never lived there as an adult. And so it's gotten rusty, but if I traveled to a Spanish speaking country, you know, I could, I can hire around a dinner table and do some talking. I wouldn't do business on it.
[00:07:55] Um, and then French, I took through high school and college just, you [00:08:00] know, love the language. And then I learned Italian. Cause when I went over to Europe, everybody said, you'll love Italy. I said, I speak Spanish and French. Uh, you know, I'm the love of those countries more. Love those countries, but then fell in love with Italy.
[00:08:13] I went back to learn Italian, but it messed up with my Spanish and French. So I kind of had to push that down to keep the others more current, but you know, it's, I'm not using them enough right now. We need to get back on the planes and trucks. I have tracked in [00:08:30] Spanish before. And they say you hit a certain level of competency when you, when you dream in it.
[00:08:36] So, uh, I just grabbed, it sounds like you've jumped in all the
[00:08:39] Laurent: languages, I would say. Yeah. You know, it's just as, yeah, because I've naturally, I've lived over there and you will, I was very immersed and, uh, yeah. So I would say that. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:08:51] Wendy: Yes. Okay. So tell us about what you're
[00:08:54] Laurent: doing now. Well, I've been, I've have two, two businesses, so to speak, to pay the [00:09:00] bills.
[00:09:00] Uh, one is I represent an Italian company out of Modena, Italy, where a lot of your well known, uh, high high-end cars are made Ferrari Lamborghini, Maserati, et cetera. But anyway, they, um, the company, uh, represented, uh, makes, uh, conveyors industrial conveyors for production. Of, uh, various types of industries, uh, beverage food, um, uh, pharmaceuticals.
[00:09:29] And that's just [00:09:30] like a manufacturer's rep here and importers manufacturers rep, and I get paid on commission and, you know, and so whatever I can, uh, when the opportunity arises here in the U S and then I also do import export consulting because of my, um, I had, uh, what almost 20, 22 I'll have 40, 40 years, four decades, uh, involved in the import export fields.
[00:09:52] So that's also kind of, uh, you know, Through those experiences, I've gained a lot of knowledge and war [00:10:00] stories and, and, uh, you know, it's, um, it's, it's a up and down business, you know, because as you know, consulting projects come and go. And so it's a very Radic, but it's an interesting, uh, uh, Opportunity to learn about other companies and also to help grow small businesses, whether they want to import or export.
[00:10:21] Yeah. So what
[00:10:22] Wendy: kind of companies should reach out to, like, what would you specialize in the importance? Where, what would, what are your strongest. [00:10:30] Uh,
[00:10:32] Laurent: well, the, the ones that normally, uh, that I I've been helping out or a small, you know, small sized companies from, from maybe five to, you know, uh, 7,500 individuals, uh, between, you know, maybe a 3 million to.
[00:10:49] To a $50 million company, so to speak, that's the sweet spot. Sweet spot for me. I mean, naturally, as you get, as they get bigger than, you know, they, they have more means [00:11:00] of, of, uh, investing overseas in offices and things of that nature. Uh, generally, you know what, uh, That the key thing is as is to have a product or a service that's exportable or importable natural yet.
[00:11:13] You know, you have to, you have to do your homework on, uh, whatever the product is and, and what's what markets are, uh, that you want to sell to. You always want to start small, maybe pick three and then do it well, and then, you know, grow and, and at, at those [00:11:30] countries to your, to your business, But there's a lot, you know, there's a lot of things that you have to do international versus domestic.
[00:11:37] Uh, you know, the, uh, the banking, the way you get paid is different. Uh, national, you have shipping involved with various parties. You have not only, uh, you know, the trucks and rail, but you also have, uh, uh, ocean or, or, uh, air carrier. And, uh, you know, it's a lot more complicated. There's a lot more, more parts moving parts in the import or export transaction.
[00:11:59] You [00:12:00] need to know about. Uh, and there's also selecting, you know, whether you want to have a distributor or you want to go through, through a representative where you want to go through the government or, you know, there's different channels of marketing. Or, or selling, um, uh, like your book global marketing I'm, you know, I'm going to have to pick it up one of these days, but I'm sure you mentioned about, you know, marketing the product and w w what's you know, learning about the culture and, and whether the, you know, the, that [00:12:30] product fits that culture and makes, make sure that it's adaptable to that culture.
[00:12:34] Right. Yes. Yes.
[00:12:36] Wendy: Yes. There's a ton on that, but let's, there was a time in there. So let's break this down. So first you said the company has to have a product or service that you could import or export what's the most. Unusual product or service that you've seen that really focused on exporting. And the reason I asked that is because, um, I've got feedback.
[00:12:59] Um, I'm [00:13:00] talking to, you have to have a minute to think about that, but, um, when I've had some marketing agencies read my book about global marketing, because there's really no other business, how to book out there about it, they've come back. And they said, huh? I never thought about the, I could be a global company.
[00:13:17] And so to me, it's breaking down the barriers. Like I know that, um, you know, if you have a local, dry, cleaner, that's hard to bring in international business unless you want to expand it and, you know, be international. [00:13:30] Right. You know, it's heavy asset it's locally based and people are dropping by or getting picked up.
[00:13:35] So anyway, I'll take it back to you. What, what's the most unusual. Export.
[00:13:43] Laurent: Very interesting question. Oh, wow. Uh, right now I just try, I was trying to think on some of my experiences, but most of them have been commodities, industrial products. Um, oh boy, that's a great question. Um, [00:14:00] you know, it's just, um,
[00:14:02] Yeah, let me think about that.
[00:14:05] Wendy: I know I caught you off guard on that when I thought it was a, it, you know, the reason I ask it is just so many companies think, oh, well, you know, why would I go international? Or there's not really a need for, uh, for my products or services, but I've heard of. When gauges, and I've heard of consumer products that are very, you know, if you're talking about cranberries or you're talking about, um, you know, maple sugar [00:14:30] products or, um, you know, even potatoes go international from the year.
[00:14:36] And, you know, you'd think that, you know, some, I'm kind of curious of
[00:14:39] Laurent: what kind of industry, you know, for example, like, uh, you know, chicken feed and China. I mean, they love that kind of stuff. Awful, you know, stomachs and linings and things of that nature that we don't eat, uh, uh, people in Italy and other countries, you know, it's, uh, yeah, I, I understand, but I'm trying to really think of some something very
[00:14:59] Wendy: interesting.
[00:14:59] [00:15:00] So parts of the chicken that we don't need here, we can ship to China because. And their
[00:15:06] Laurent: chicken fee next. You name it. Yeah, there's this? Um, there's a lot of weird cup of parts of, uh, animals that, uh, you know, we, you know, we don't touch, but other countries would love to, you know, they enjoy eating it. I remember living
[00:15:25] Wendy: in Taiwan when I was a kid and that.
[00:15:28] Uh, children that live next [00:15:30] door were, um, Chinese. And we went out to dinner and they were fighting over who got to eat the fish eyes, America and LA, really? So, right. So that's a good message to the listeners. Think about what products that you might be throwing away that you could repurpose. To someplace else in the country that has a value
[00:15:52] Laurent: for it.
[00:15:52] Absolutely perfect example, even, you know, when I used to, uh, I worked, uh, I helped [00:16:00] a textile company, um, you know, the, they dealt with waste, but some of the wastes that they use to, you know, the yarn waste and cotton waste and, uh, synthetic type of, uh, Residue or waste that was involved in textiles.
[00:16:16] Some of the us state will use it, but, you know, in other countries they remelted and do other things with it. So, you know, there's always, you never know what if you have to, like, as mentioned, if you have, uh, some residue or waste or some kind of [00:16:30] by-product, uh, it might have another market somewhere else in the world.
[00:16:34] Wendy: And so true. In an earlier episode, I talked with Joan , who's in charge of international marketing for darn tough socks. And then not long after I had the interview with them, I was up with a bunch of business owners in Vermont, where their factory is, and he gave us a tour and he showed us the waist and like barely anything goes to waste there because it's.
[00:16:58] We'll be sent off to someplace [00:17:00] else. Who's you know, where they're using it, but I, you know, darn tough socks and really impressive. So if you haven't tried them out, they definitely do. They're. They're impressive. Okay. So most import export first you have to decide, then you said, um, you don't have to start with all the markets, maybe pick three, which is interesting because oftentimes I stayed pick one for translation, figure out your process and then replicated.
[00:17:27] But I'm curious as to why. And three is an [00:17:30] interesting number to, to do because you can leverage. So I'm curious about why you said three and how would you go about picking
[00:17:39] Laurent: those three? Yeah, well, naturally you have to, depending on the product, uh, you know, you do your research on, uh, you can, there's a lot of our ways of getting data from the government, uh, since, you know, international data from, from the governments and different governments to overseas.
[00:17:57] Uh, and then, uh, w I [00:18:00] picked three because maybe you want to do one country in a. One in Europe and one in Latin America, for example, and then see how they all, you know, how that goes. Um, but the important thing is to really, you know, to your research on the product, uh, say for example, um, I don't know.
[00:18:21] You're selling high-end bourbon. Okay. Eventually you do your look at there's various, uh, uh, companies. They [00:18:30] provide stats on bourbon. Exports are falling, you know, whatever, the different types of bourbons, uh, journal of commerce, uh, uh, trade, trade stats. So there's various various types. There's I can, you know, I have a whole thing of, I can provide you a list of information, of different things of, uh, Organizations that provide Trey data.
[00:18:53] Uh, so from there then you say, okay, I see that, you know, Japan uses high-end, you know, as [00:19:00] a big importer of a bourbon and then maybe, uh, Germany and Europe. And then maybe possibly Brazil or Mexico, because those are the biggest countries in Latin America that have the population and also the, the wealth to buy high-end products.
[00:19:17] Um, and then, you know, you go from there and actually you, you, then you tailor the, uh, you've got to do the labeling and the packaging for that country. And the translation, like reach out to report international. So if you want to get everything done in [00:19:30] German or any. Portuguese report international. Right?
[00:19:34] Don't forget. I love it.
[00:19:37] Wendy: He talked about my book and the company now,
[00:19:45] Laurent: but anyway, so you could, you know, make sure that all that is done, the packaging and the pricing. Natural. You have to go through, find out all the different, the steps that go in the import export transaction. Keep, uh, keep in mind all the [00:20:00] different costs and make sure you cover all your costs plus profit and all that.
[00:20:03] Uh, what else? Uh, you know, the marketing, do you want to put it on the line? Do you want to sell it directly to a distributor? You know, those are choices of channel market that you want to use the go-to, you know how you're going to go to the market. Um, uh, and then, you know, give it a try and then you learn from it, learn and, and, and then you, uh, redo or re what do you call it?
[00:20:27] Uh, you know, the Japanese Kaizen, right? [00:20:30] The continuous improvement and trying to, you know, learn as you go right. And, and redo and replant, uh, as you, uh, as you grow.
[00:20:40] Wendy: Okay. And so it's not as easy as just saying, all right, I'm going to go to. Italy, Venezuela and Brazil go forward. You're S you're doing research on all the different markets and seeing which ones bubble up to the top,
[00:20:57] Laurent: actually.
[00:20:58] Yeah, because that'll save you a lot of time. And [00:21:00] also you may start in countries that, you know, may not have a lot of interest in the product, and then you lean, you fell and say, oh man, I don't want to import or export anymore. So it, it, it, it, it, uh, it it's, uh, recommended correct. Recommended that you do your research first and, and, you know, really see where what's best for your product or service overseas.
[00:21:24] Or if you're importing here in the U S you know, what kind of product and where do you want to start in the [00:21:30] Southeast? You want to start in the Northeast? Uh, is this something that. You know, whether that might be sensitive to the weather, you know, whatever. There's a lot of questions you've got to think about and, uh, regarding to the market and its factors.
[00:21:45] Right? So,
[00:21:46] Wendy: so how, how, if you're a business owner, global strategy person, where do you start?
[00:21:56] Laurent: Uh, well, there's various ways. Naturally you have the government, the us [00:22:00] government can help. There's a department of international department of commerce that helps with, uh, that have people that specialize in, um, uh, international trade, you know, they can help out, uh, the SBA has, uh, offices that also have international, um, people that help, uh, that have, uh, trade expertise, you know, international consultants such as myself.
[00:22:22] Uh, you can also use, uh, um, you know, the governments overseas, the, um, whether it's the foreign government or, and [00:22:30] also the us government, for example, the department of agriculture has various offices overseas. Uh, you know, the embassies, you can use the embassies. There are people that know, uh, that have contacts with companies and, and, and markets and know what's going on in the country naturally.
[00:22:45] Um, is this very many sources? Uh, you can also. When you, uh, start importing your export and you want to build a team. Of an ecosystem to survive, to help you build your business. And that's, you know, whether it's a freight [00:23:00] forwarder for exporting or a custom miles broker, you also want to have a, uh, select a, uh, uh, a banking, a banker, you know, some kind of banker that knows about trade finance.
[00:23:10] Um, you also want to, uh, uh, get, uh, help from a carrier, whether it's scenario airline or, or an ocean carrier. Um, uh, there's also the port people can help you, the port of Savannah or the port of Boston. They have people that can also help give you some advice and [00:23:30] strategies, et cetera. Uh, you know, there's just a lot of parties that can, can give you a lot of advice and help and direction in your business, but you have to use them and make, and you have to choose, uh, also, you know, w you know, you've got to have a, an ecosystem of, of, of, uh, people that will support, help your support your business.
[00:23:49] Wendy: Yeah. And you mentioned the department of commerce. They're a, they're a wonderful resource because a lot of the consulting or the advising they do is for free and they have connections [00:24:00] all over the world. They've got, they've got employees all over the world that can write. So, I'm glad you mentioned
[00:24:05] Laurent: that.
[00:24:06] Yeah. I mean, you know, consulates, uh, even the foreign console that's going to help you, uh, uh, what else? Uh, associations, like if you're involved in a steel association, maybe they could help give you. There's some guidance, uh, universities have sometimes con professors can help you with that specializing in certain countries or languages or things of that nature inspection [00:24:30] firms.
[00:24:30] You know, when, when your car gets inspected, they can also be of help. Um, there's just a lot of various, uh, channels that you can find information.
[00:24:40] Wendy: Oh, that's so interesting. Cause you were talking with like the doc and the SBA and um, you know, governments, embassies associations, and then you got into, you know, so they're kind of the government.
[00:24:55] NGO non-profit then there are, [00:25:00] um, people who are in the industry providing services like us with translation, you with consulting. And we all have tremendous networks because the global network is small about who the providers are and where to go. So I hadn't thought about that. Is this even finding one vendor that you.
[00:25:18] You trust and then tapping into their networks. So
[00:25:21] Laurent: that's a good way to look up. Yeah. Yeah. You need translators, you know, your maybe your, even your translators, you can give other maybe a third leads and [00:25:30] customers for you as well. I mean, they're just, you know, you've got to find different, different ways of getting information from different sources, right?
[00:25:38] Wendy: Right. And have you heard of soft land partners? Of course. That's how we met it. That's why I kept bubbling up all the way up. Yeah. They're just coming out with a, um, yeah, so we're both members and it's an organization of, um, global service providers that help companies expand internationally and [00:26:00] softly and partners is releasing in the next week, a checklist like a export readiness checklist.
[00:26:05] So that would be a handy.
[00:26:08] Laurent: Yeah. Yeah. If, if you're, uh, uh, uh, a small company, that's one slur more about, like you said, getting going overseas and, and, um, building their business. That's offline is a good, a good way to learn from other folks as well from, you know, resources to tap into. So that's, that's a good one.
[00:26:28] Yes. [00:26:30]
[00:26:30] Wendy: Yeah. So you listed off a bunch of resources that are helpful. Okay. So if we go back at first, it was a product or service that you can import or export, and that was pick your markets. Then you got into banking and how are you going to get paid? What do you advise people on, on that area? And now we're kind of getting off the marketing area?
[00:26:53] Laurent: Well, that's one thing that's a big worry for a lot of importers and export is getting paid. You know, you want to make sure that, [00:27:00] uh, that it's secure your form of payment is secure. Whether it's a letter credit, there's various tools that you can, or a different, um, Things that you, you know, uh, methods of getting paid, uh, site drafts and let her credits.
[00:27:15] And I mean, there's a quite a bit of different types of in there. And each one has its, uh, its uh, risk level. Right? Um, let her credit being the most least, uh, risk averse. Uh, [00:27:30] open credit. Like if you sell somebody and say, okay, you pay me in 30 days, uh, with you just hope that they pay in 30 days, you know?
[00:27:39] So you have to be very careful, careful, especially when you first start, because you want to get a history of, of your clients to make sure that they're paying on time and. And maybe after a year, you can say, okay, now that you know, I've got a, you've been a very good customer. You've paid, you've been a good payer.
[00:27:55] Uh, you know, I'm going to give you a little bit, a little more leeway on my, [00:28:00] on your terms or whatever your payment terms. So you can give them a less riskier, uh, vehicle to pay
[00:28:06] Wendy: and people pay. Do they, are they paying in American dollars mostly? Or how do you currency exchange?
[00:28:14] Laurent: You could, you can have a pain euros or dollars.
[00:28:16] Uh, but most of the time has naturally for American companies is done in dollars, but, uh, but you know, you can, you can do, uh, for contracts and, and currencies. Uh, that's another topic of getting [00:28:30] paid. Uh, also, you know, if you want to get paid in credit card or wire transfer, Swift, um, there's other forms of payment.
[00:28:38] Now you have Bitcoin and if you want to get paid in Bitcoin, uh, you know, there's just, there's a growing number of, of, of, of ways of getting paid. But the important thing is to know, again, do your research on the customer, get a DNB or whatever. You can get, whatever you can get your hands on, on, on their credit history, if you can.
[00:28:58] Uh, and, uh, you [00:29:00] know, and, and then start with the, the, the least risk. The most risk is no it's going to be the least risk is vehicle to get paid. And that would be a letter of credit or cash cash in advance before you ship anything, things of that nature. Right,
[00:29:15] Wendy: right, right. Yeah. And it's interesting because I also see PayPal being used a lot internationally, and then they have an affiliate, you know, or subsidiary of PayPal, which is zero.
[00:29:26] I think it is where you can pay somebody to their bank [00:29:30] in American dollars. And so there's all, you know, and I've heard of other ones that have, um, I was saying, if I could find the names of them, of, you know, that their fees are supposed to be less. So there's so many ways to get paid now. Okay. So, um, I got a ton more questions off the, you know, off of those, of what you were talking about, but I want you to talk about biggest mistakes that you've seen companies do.[00:30:00]
[00:30:00] Laurent: Well, you know, for one is, uh, sometimes like, uh, you know, with your marketing, for example, uh, uh, is, is naming a product or that might offend their culture or they might, uh, um, you know, they might, um, Make an impact on their, on their, on the sale of their, of the, of the product. For example, uh, I think it was Chevy or GM.
[00:30:25] They call, they put a name of a car called Nova and ova [00:30:30] in English. It's okay. Nova's fine. But when you, when you translate. And in Spanish, it means it doesn't go, it doesn't run Nova. Right. So it, it, uh, you know, it was a, it, wasn't a very good, uh, marketing, uh, choice to put that, that kind of name in a car.
[00:30:48] Uh that's that's just an example. You have to be careful how you, what you name the product or the service or whatever, you know, people will make, take it differently. Right. Um, so.
[00:30:59] Wendy: [00:31:00] I've heard that I've heard that, that it was true, but I've also heard that it wasn't. And the distinguishing thing was that Nova in Spanish is two words where Nova and
[00:31:16] Laurent: we're going
[00:31:17] Wendy: to have it, you know, where do you go? Check those urban myths because I've heard that, but there's one that came out recently, um, with Zuckerberg who named Facebook, Metta. Yeah. And [00:31:30] that is supposed to mean, um, death and.
[00:31:37] And Israel. Yeah. Which the irony of what it means. So I, you know, somebody emailed me that and I'm just going to go back and check that
[00:31:49] Laurent: you gotta be careful with.
[00:31:51] Wendy: Yes. Yes. So it's a very good point because I've heard about that just stopping products. And then it takes a couple of years to recover from. [00:32:00]
[00:32:00] Laurent: But speak, speaking to the mistakes naturally. You know, when you want to go into a country, you want to do it, you know, present a product and in their language, whether it's, you know, uh, online or print or whatever, you know, A lot of companies sometimes just go in English and, uh, you know, not, not there's countries in the world, that English is not very well-spoken.
[00:32:25] And I mean, you know, we take it for granted. That is, it is the lingua Frank Frank [00:32:30] franca of the, you know, the world. But, uh, but there are countries in the world that don't speak a lot of English. So, you know, it pays to. Like you said to, to get everything translated to, to do everything in their language, whether it's online or, or, or print, um, uh, and also make sure that it's a spelling and, and, you know, uh, uh, and the words, the meaning of the word is, is okay to use so to speak.
[00:32:59] Like we just [00:33:00] had those examples. Uh, so. Uh, those, you know, those are some of the major mistake because I think that a lot of companies do, they don't, you know, they have to adapt their product and, or service to that culture. And that means the translation and the, and the, the for word usage and, uh, you know, and the way it's presented to, you know, for example, you know, if you're going to do a, um, a, uh, uh, an online.
[00:33:27] You know, a presentation in, [00:33:30] in with the Arab countries, you want to make sure that the writing is, I think they read, they write from, or they read from left to, right, right. Uh, so you want to, you know, make sure all that's done, not left right to left. Like we do or left or right. Done. Like we do. They, they read right.
[00:33:45] I've left a writer anyways,
[00:33:48] Wendy: and just the opposite of what English reads, but then sometimes with character languages, it's acceptable to put it in the English reading format, but not always. [00:34:00] And it depends on product. So you're bringing up a very good thing is understand your target audience and how they expect to read.
[00:34:07] Laurent: Yeah, exactly. Right. But that's just part of it, you know?
[00:34:11] Wendy: So what do you, what do you think about who does your translation.
[00:34:17] Laurent: Um, well, I, I, in the past, um, you know, he's, uh, there, uh, well, this is with the other companies that we use, but we always used an outdoor, you know, a third party translator such as [00:34:30] yourself.
[00:34:30] And then after that, that, that, uh, that's done from you as once we get the product from you or the translation from you. What I would do is have it a second. I look at it, a distributor or the somebody overseas in that market. Look at it and say, Hey Lauren, this is good, but you should use this word instead of this word.
[00:34:51] Or, you know, sometimes there's, there's a little nuances sometimes that you may want that, uh, you know, a native person to look at it, uh, [00:35:00] after not only the translator done it and I've looked at it, but also I have a third, maybe a third. I look at it too. Make sure that it needed a small nuances are properly done or just things that are changed that need to be changed.
[00:35:15] Right. So there may be not a lot of things, but it, it, you know, it, it just adds, make sure that it's properly done. That's all.
[00:35:24] Wendy: Yeah. That is. I'm simply going to ask you that question because that's like the. A scenario on how to get [00:35:30] marketing material translated. You have a professional do it. So you know that the grammar and the punctuation and everything like that is taken care of, and then you have internal folks review it because if there's any company culture or industry terminology, they're reviewing it and capturing it.
[00:35:47] And then you're also making sure that your distributors or your salespeople buy into it because they don't like it. They won't use it. Um, and oftentimes it's just a stylistic word here or there, but, um, have [00:36:00] you seen problems with having your distributors or internal people do the translation or are you never even given the opportunity?
[00:36:08] Laurent: Um, oh, when, when they do it themselves. Yeah. Sometimes I've seen things that, you know, the, the grammar wasn't well done, whether it's, you know, uh, or maybe they, they didn't quite express the product. Right. Uh, wasn't properly presented. Uh, there's been occasions where, you know, they needed a little bit more, um, [00:36:30] uh, uh, suggestions or, or, you know, uh, Um, what do you call it?
[00:36:35] Opinion from, from, from corporate? Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes you have to be careful. Yeah. Um, so yeah,
[00:36:44] Wendy: we had a really interview earlier on the global marketing show podcast with Zach sell, choose an international sales person. He was saying with distributors, he had seen them do translation and. It was so far off that it ruined the [00:37:00] market entry for a couple of years and they had to pull back and then retry later on.
[00:37:04] So I have heard stories like that and it's so it's, you know, companies think they're saving money by doing that, but it's, you know, they don't realize the problems that they can run into, but I love how you have people review it because translation is like writing. Your marketing person write it. You're going to have other people edit it.
[00:37:23] So you make sure that that it's really clear, right? Yeah. So, um, [00:37:30]
[00:37:30] Laurent: what
[00:37:30] Wendy: kind of suggestions in our, why should companies go global? I want to go then because you have all this.
[00:37:40] Laurent: Yeah, that's it. That's a great question. I mean, I think, um, no for one is not sure you want to expand your revenues. Uh, for example, when, if, when, if there's a recession here in the U S you know, you could, you could be selling overseas and it offsets the, the, the sales here in the us.
[00:37:56] So it gives you another, uh, you know, a blanket of secure. [00:38:00] Uh, by obtaining revenues from, from overseas countries. Another way another thing to look at is, is it also allows you to learn about new possible new products from, from that market or new ventures or ideas that you may get, uh, by selling in that country that you can bring back to your country, to the U S or whatever.
[00:38:22] So that might be another way of, you know, another positive thing that comes out of that. Um, uh, what else? Uh, [00:38:30] Uh, yeah, it also gives you a lot more, uh, uh, uh, to your competitor. It gives you a new competitive vantage that you're selling overseas versus the guy that's still domestic and not has not done anything.
[00:38:44] So it gives you a like a leg up and also a bragging rights. Hey, I'm global now. I'm not just domestic. I'm global, right? Uh, but yeah, it, it does require, uh, monies. It does require, uh, [00:39:00] uh, investment of time and people and, and, uh, adaptability of, of everything. Right. It's it's, it's not, uh, it's not an easy event.
[00:39:10] But it's worth it because I think in the long run, you know, look at all the multi-nationals, those are the guys that always survive. They're always still there, you know, uh, because they're, they're getting revenues from different parts of the world. They're learning from getting new products from different parts of world.
[00:39:26] Coca-Cola, you know, how many brands that has, [00:39:30] and these all come from different countries, you know, all these different types of tastes and, uh, different types of, uh, you know, Li, uh, liquid products that they've obtained. Oh, it's
[00:39:42] Wendy: fascinating. I assume you, I mean, you're in Atlanta, so you've been to the Coke museum and you go into the tasting floor.
[00:39:50] Could you describe that? Cause I was blown away by all the different
[00:39:54] Laurent: tastes. Yeah. It's uh, you know, naturally it's yeah. I mean, you don't realize how many different [00:40:00] types of flavors and unusual type of stuff that people drink overseas. And. I got out of there with a, I was shaking because of the sugar, uh, high, but it's an interesting, uh, it's just an interesting learning experience about global, you know, business and, and products and tastes.
[00:40:24] And. Right. So right. Cause
[00:40:27] Wendy: there was some cause they sorted them by countries and there were [00:40:30] some countries that had very, very, more, even more sweet than the United States tastes for soda. And then they had some countries that would have like tamarind soda or unusual flavors that you'd never see here.
[00:40:43] So that's, I went around to the different countries, looking for the unusual flavors that I had never heard of before, but bottom why they all had a lot of
[00:40:52] Laurent: sugar. Yep. They're still making money though. I mean, there's some bottled [00:41:00] water, you know, all these seltzer waters and all these different types, like, you know, soft drinks.
[00:41:05] I mean, it's amazing how they keep growing and keep adding to their product lines. Crazy,
[00:41:11] Wendy: taken on a lot of the athletic drinks to. So, yeah, replace your electrolytes, but you know, there's a, there's a company that went international and they really met the changing the different needs.
[00:41:24] Laurent: Yeah. What's next?
[00:41:25] Are they going to give us a drink? That'll make us give us 10 more years. You know, that it'll [00:41:30] be the fountain of youth. I don't know, but.
[00:41:36] Wendy: It was drinks. How many, 10 years would you add on? I'm not sure what you really need answer that.
[00:41:45] Cause I don't want you throwing the question back
[00:41:47] Laurent: at me.
[00:41:52] I don't know if I want to live to a hundred, but you know, as long as your quality of life is good, that's important thing, but still that's
[00:41:58] Wendy: it. Can they develop a [00:42:00] drink that adds years and quality of life?
[00:42:03] Laurent: There you
[00:42:04] Wendy: go. Yeah, no negative benefit. No, no negatives to it. Then I would have at least a couple or third, three to four.
[00:42:16] So you, you have been able, since you were a child, Too, as an adult land in cultures all over the world and really be able to connect with people, [00:42:30] you know, how do you do it? What's your secret for, for getting along with people, even if they don't share a culture and a language.
[00:42:39] Laurent: Yeah. Well, the important thing is to show respect to them.
[00:42:43] Um, you know, if, for example, if you're in Russia, try to learn 10, 10, 20 words, you know, hello, the basic stuff, all thank you. Good night, you know, just try to make an effort to learn some key words in there because your keyboards in our language, because it shows to them that you're [00:43:00] making an effort to learn about their culture.
[00:43:02] Uh, you know, just, just, uh, be adaptable and, and, uh, I think that that's given me a lot of my success, you know, selling and also, um, making new friends overseas, um, uh, yeah, just, uh, all being open-minded and curious about other cultures and trying new foods and, and, uh, drinks and, uh, [00:43:30] doing their local things that they, they do.
[00:43:33] Um, That's, you know, that's the beauty of it is learning from that. And you may like some things, some things you may not like, but you know, you learn and then you take the good and the bad. Right. But you take the good with you. Maybe you might think take all those, those things that you, you liked about it and, and add it to your life.
[00:43:54] Wendy: Have you ever felt uncomfortable in a situation or school? [00:44:00]
[00:44:00] Laurent: Well, you know, I've had stuff robbed in my Robin. I've had stuff stolen in hotel rooms in Latin America, some of my clothes. Um, uh, I've never, thankfully, thank you, God. I've never had any, any bad experiences with being held up or, uh, you know, Anything like that.
[00:44:21] I, I was, uh, one time I had used the credit card in Columbia and, and, uh, got back to, you know, for a trip, got back on. I saw [00:44:30] $20,000 added to, to my, my account. So somehow they copied my card and, and, uh, you know, I had a nice shopping spree when I, you know, during my stay in Columbia, but anyway, American express was a nice enough to.
[00:44:45] To cover all those costs, but you know, there's been some, some, some difficult times like that. Uh, you know, getting sick once in a while, I had to call a couple doctors one time in hospital in hotels and Brazil and, and, uh, and, uh, [00:45:00] Guatemala, you know, when I got written, just because of the food I ate that wasn't very good.
[00:45:04] Uh, no, there's some things that sometimes you, you know, you have some little bit of bad luck and, but, uh, but you know, I mean, just that's part of the traveling and being exposed of foreign cultures, but thankfully I've never had, you know, something really negative and, and just terrible that, uh, thank you, God, nothing that really, um, you know, to really affected me so to speak.[00:45:30]
[00:45:30] Right, right.
[00:45:35] Wendy: Um, yeah, that's really interesting because all of those things that you talked about could very easily happen no matter, you know, even if you're in your own town at home.
[00:45:47] Laurent: And so, yeah. True. True. Yeah. Yeah, no, just you have to have be just watch your, you be . Uh, the location when you're [00:46:00] traveling overseas naturally, you know, don't, you know, just be careful what you, um, just be cautious like in everywhere else when you're traveling somewhere, you know?
[00:46:09] So I don't want to say favorite
[00:46:12] Wendy: place to do business.
[00:46:14] Laurent: Ah, ah, I mean they evolve, you know, I can say that I've enjoyed doing business with Latins and Arabs and Europeans. Uh, some of the Asian countries not allowed. Um, you know, I love, I love, um, I just love doing business with [00:46:30] different cultures. Um, there are they all, or all of them are different, uh, nationally and, and, uh, they all have their way of, of, uh, doing business.
[00:46:39] Um, but I guess in, in Latin America, I love, I love, uh, the Brazilians and Chileans. Uh, I enjoyed doing business with them, um, uh, central America, the Costa Rica, Mexicans, you know, they're very, uh, love Mexico is a beautiful, great country. Um, Uh, [00:47:00] you know, a non partial day, Italy and Southern France and Southern Europe, that kind of Spain, I'm just partial of those countries.
[00:47:07] It's just, you know, also depends on your, your likes and, uh, you know, your, uh, Um, the Arab cultures are, you know, they're, they're very good people. They they're very loyal, but you know, you have to, um, do you have to learn about the Arab culture too? I mean, it's, it's, you know, how they conduct business and how do you, you know, um, you can't, you can't shake hands with your [00:47:30] life because you know, you're not supposed to, and, and you can't show them the sole of your shoe for your foot.
[00:47:35] There's a lot of little new nuances. You have to be careful. And with. But, you know, the key is to do business, to learn about their culture and be respectful and, you know, and, and, uh, and, uh, be mindful of, of how they do business, you know? So, so if you were
[00:47:52] Wendy: going to a new country to business or a new culture, how would you learn about or research that culture?
[00:47:58] Like if you're, if somebody is going [00:48:00] to.
[00:48:02] Laurent: Well, again, the government can, sometimes they have country pre brief. So you can learn about, uh, through the department of commerce, they have different country briefs. You can actually go to a library or, or, you know, buy a print printed or, or, and, or online type of books on the country.
[00:48:21] Uh, there's a lot of, you know, A library of books that I have from, you know, how to do business overseas, uh, uh, [00:48:30] uh, you know, translation type stuff, uh, uh, just, uh, a library of stuff. Yeah. I'm sure you've got some things there too from, you know, cause it's global related, right? Uh, One
[00:48:44] Wendy: of my favorites is kiss bow or shake hands.
[00:48:47] I mean, that's
[00:48:47] Laurent: a, yeah. Yeah, that's it. That's a very good book. In fact, I have that too.
[00:48:54] Wendy: So we're recording this on video and he picks up his copy and I turned around, I [00:49:00] have a copy right over
[00:49:01] Laurent: the global road road warrior, how to, you know, with all your travels and all that, there's just a lot of different things that you, you know, uh, You know, and they continue to publish books.
[00:49:13] I mean, there's, uh, you know, people continue to write books about sales and global sales, marketing, uh, impact. Yes.
[00:49:22] Wendy: I've had people call me and say, Hey, I'm going to business here. Where do I, what do I need to do with business cards and handshakes and bowels and [00:49:30] food and entertaining. And so I'll do that, you know, I'll share with what I know and send them off to somebody.
[00:49:36] If I'm not really, uh, you know, if I can't share enough with
[00:49:39] Laurent: them. So that global marketing is that your first book, have you written something previously before that? That's
[00:49:45] Wendy: my first book. We also have a book out called tidbits, which takes a bunch of the funny signs from around the world and does them, and then I'm, co-writing another book.
[00:49:55] That'll be more like the one minute manager type book about global [00:50:00] communication. Oh, okay. You write one, you know, it's not so bad. I'll do another one, but you really have to have that, you know, right now I'm focused on just getting this book out there so people know about it because we get the questions all the time and with the podcast and the book and the blog and social media, we're just trying to educate because do it, just do it.
[00:50:22] So good. All right. So we're getting to the end of our time, but I got some standard questions that I love asking people. So [00:50:30] I think, you know, the first one is, what's your favorite foreign
[00:50:33] Laurent: word? Uh, yeah, I've thought about the last couple of weeks. I'm going to say, uh, there's a word in French called . Which means collector.
[00:50:44] So it could be a, you could be a Brickler of experiences of memories, of things, of our music. I decided it was pretty cool where Brickler I'm a collector. Blah. Brickler um, it's [00:51:00] kind of an interesting word. So I
[00:51:01] Wendy: love that I'm a particular of, uh, global stories, global business
[00:51:07] Laurent: stories.
[00:51:12] Uh, experiences, uh, guests experiences and memories, you know, I mean, that's, that's for me, that's the key in life. All right.
[00:51:19] Wendy: Then that's a layup for the next question. What's a memory of a, um, crazy or rewarding cross-cultural experience that you've [00:51:30] had.
[00:51:30] Laurent: Wow. Um,
[00:51:38] I think just, you know, uh, working with the Arabs was a very different, uh, type of, you know, uh, way of doing business. It was very, you know, very different. I mean, you know, and that should be everything from their food and religion. And, uh, so I think that was really probably the most cross cultural. Uh, most, [00:52:00] most interesting and very unique, uh, type of experience that experience that I had, uh, you know, with the lens and Europeans are similar.
[00:52:08] Right. Um, Asians, you know, the, yeah. The Asians are different as well. Um, I haven't,
[00:52:14] Wendy: it goes back to a moment when you were working with the Arabs where you just felt like, so out of place or the food was so different or you made a mistake or there was something you laughed about it.
[00:52:27] Laurent: Um, yeah, just, uh, [00:52:30] I don't know, just the food sometimes.
[00:52:32] Uh, you know, it wasn't to my taste. I mean, for me, um, uh, the food you're eating, uh, it was, uh, um, there were some kind of, uh, a lamb or something I can't remember, but it was, it wasn't a very appetizing dish, uh, um, I don't know. I mean, uh,
[00:52:56] Wendy: so what did you do? Did you eat it to be polite?
[00:52:59] Laurent: I tried it, [00:53:00] but I, you know, I said I could that's as good.
[00:53:05] I don't want to be forced and then get sick or anything like that. Right. Try it at least, you know, to show him that respect again. Um, Yeah. Uh, I mean, I've never tried snake or something. These, you know, these, what these, some of these Asians people eat, you know, sometimes they held all eat, anything that walks, right.
[00:53:25] Uh, so, uh, you know, I'm, I'm fairly adventurous, but not [00:53:30] too adventurous, right? I'm not like what's this guy, uh, that does that food program that needs the bugs and. Uh, anyway, but you know what, to, what level of adventure you want to go, but no, and say I'm
[00:53:47] Wendy: adventurous. I like eating that stuff. It's not a thing that would bother me, I think, is putting anything alive in my mind might talk a line there, but anything else?
[00:53:58] Yeah. [00:54:00]
[00:54:00] Laurent: what's the most, probably the most weirdest thing that you doing.
[00:54:05] Wendy: Oh, I've had snake water, which is an outdoor hall and I've had, you know, snails in China, but you know, they're called as cargo and freight. So, um, I've had, uh, of course Benison and Yale, you know, I gotta see I'm that ready to answer the questions?
[00:54:23] I'll I'll try anything. All
[00:54:26] Laurent: right. Yeah. As long as it's not live, right? Yeah. [00:54:30]
[00:54:30] Wendy: Yeah. Something moving in my mouth, my pop, their I. How about your favorite vacation?
[00:54:40] Laurent: Um, I think my, the favorite thing that I've ever done was, uh, I went around the world. I had, uh, with Dell, you know, frequent flyer points. And at the time Delta was giving 150,000 points you can do around the world.
[00:54:54] So I took, I took, uh, I think it was two and a half, three weeks. And, you know, I started in the us, [00:55:00] Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand. And then I went to, uh, uh, uh, Crenshaw then, uh, grease and the back to the U S but yeah, it was just one of those experiences that, you know, you've got to go around the world, right.
[00:55:16] So it's a bucket list type of thing. So it was interesting. I enjoyed it, uh,
[00:55:22] Wendy: three days. Uh, I'm sorry, you were, you stayed about three days in each
[00:55:28] Laurent: three or four days. You had just jumped [00:55:30] and went on and yeah, just, uh, three about a two or three week trip, but you can still do it. I don't know how many points you use it, but as long as you travel, you know, in one direction, one direction, you can't go back, but you can go laterally, but you can't, but it's a, it's an interesting experience now.
[00:55:47] And, uh, I recommend it to, if you ever, you know, if you want to do something on your bucket list to go around.
[00:55:53] Wendy: I've heard of people doing it. I don't think I've ever actually talked to somebody who did, so that is so cool. And you did it [00:56:00] fast. I mean, when I've heard about people doing it, they take a couple months.
[00:56:03] Laurent: So that's amazing. This was right after, uh, September 11th, you know, so there was very little, you know, not so many people traveling like four or five months after the, you know, after that terrible, uh, incident. But, uh, yeah, I mean it's, uh, but it was an experience, you know, it's like anything else. That's, that's probably the most interesting trip I've ever done.
[00:56:26] Oh, I think
[00:56:26] Wendy: that's fabulous. It's one of the most fun ones that [00:56:30] I've heard around the world.
[00:56:33] Laurent: You need to do that due to your global marketing tools.
[00:56:37] Wendy: Oh, I am all over that. I, now I just have to figure out how I'm going to work that into the schedule.
[00:56:46] Yeah. I only have any points from the last couple of years. That's a bummer. So what final recommendations would you have for our
[00:56:54] Laurent: listeners? Ah, as far as what good going overseas, or just [00:57:00] a global marketing global, I think, I think, you know, just to be open-minded and, and, and give it a try, try, you know, as you've mentioned, you know, maybe one market overseas, three markets overseas, do some importing.
[00:57:12] If you want to add to your business, uh, do something different. It, it, it adds a perspective in a variety and perspective and new revenues, uh, new learning experiences. Um, you know, it could, it could change your business, right? [00:57:30] So,
[00:57:31] Wendy: yeah. Yes. Well, this is you. Haven't been a wealth of information if people want to reach out to you with
[00:57:39] Laurent: yeah.
[00:57:39] Uh, while you can, my natural, you can look at my LinkedIn Laurent call. K H L last name. Um, my cell number here in the U S is 4 0 4 7 3 1 2 4 1 5. And my email is first name, last name that's Laurent, L a U R E M T [00:58:00] K a H L Lauren. email@example.com. So if you'd like to reach me, if I could be of help in any way or any kind of advice, let me know.
[00:58:13] And, uh, thank you, Wendy. I really appreciate the time. I know. Our conversation. I learned some many things from you as well today. And, and, uh, I hope you did the same with me. And, uh, uh, I hope, you know, wish you a lot of success with your book [00:58:30] and your, uh, talk show and, and, uh, report internet.
[00:58:34] Wendy: Oh, thank you so much.
[00:58:35] Yes, you were. You just had so much practical advice. And so I think if anybody's even got a glimmer of thinking about exporting or importing, you reach out to Lauren, um, and, and pick his brain or ask for introductions, um, through soft land partners or his thick, extensive network. I'm sure you can find a way.
[00:58:55] So, uh, thank you, Lauren. I appreciate it.
[00:58:59] Laurent: [00:59:00] Okay,