A question that is asked of me often is "How do I develop trust in the global marketplace?" Nobody knows this topic better than Dr. Marsha Firestone, founder and president of the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), a nonprofit membership organization of women presidents running multimillion-dollar businesses....

"Recently, we celebrated five very successful years in Canada, and in those five years, we have grown four chapters and are looking forward to launching a fifth," Firestone proudly states. "Our rapidly effective expansion could never have happened without a basis of leadership, trust and commitment."
How did she do it? She connected with an influential leader in the Canadian women's business community. After numerous conversations, they established trust because both parties conveyed a clear dedication to their causes.
"To further validate the WPO as an effective organization, we put our Canadian potential members in touch with our USA members. Our WPO-USA members were knowledgeable ambassadors for the organization and supported our claims with concrete examples from their experience. That's how we launched our first chapter in Canada," she adds.
Lesson Learned: Dr. Firestone says that these five gems have enabled her to build trust in the global marketplace:
1. Research: Understand the dynamics and needs of the community to which you plan to expand.
2. Adapt: Understand and respect traditions and cultural differences. What works in your community or country may not work abroad.
3. Learn: Ask your counterparts abroad for advice on how to proceed .... and listen with open ears!
4. Follow-through: Capitalize on your commitments. The more dedication you exert, the more you will receive from your counterparts abroad.
5. Support: Show your future partners that you support them. Also show them that you have support. Have clients, members and partners who can validate your claims and speak on your behalf. Referrals from happy clients are the best entry into the global market.
Now, what have you done to earn trust with a supplier, partner, client or friend? Care to share?

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Laurel Delaney (LaurelDelaney.com) is the founder of GlobeTrade.com and the creator of "Borderbuster," an e-newsletter, and The Global Small Business Blog. She can be reached at ldelaney@globetrade.com.