Without Facebook, kisses and the words ‘no’: Russian immigrant told how to establish business relations in the United States

Why business partners can not write in Facebook? How not to accidentally insult the partner-the woman? How to distinguish “Yes” out of politeness from the real “Yes”? Experience in the US market, the founder of confectionery brand Candice Marina Martyanova described edition of Forbes.

Без Facebook, поцелуев и слова 'нет': русскоязычная иммигрантка рассказала, как заводить деловые связи в США

Photo: Depositphotos

Marina Martyanova — 25-year-old founder of the company-manufacturer of desserts without sugar Candice. Brand entrepreneur launched in 2016, in Russia the product is present in the networks of Starbucks, Lenta, X5 Retail Group, “Azbuka Vkusa”. In 2019 Candice came to the US market and today is sold in small grocery networks the five boroughs of new York. Revenue Martyanova is 4-5 million rubles a month ($63 000 — $79 000).

Hereinafter in the first person.

Experience required in any field. The company owns the ecosystem. The ecosystem includes suppliers, customers, service companies, investors, competitors. For legal entities are people. They make decisions, sometimes subjective. The more connections and acquaintances, the easier issues, and achieve results.

In Russia the market economy, there is less than thirty years — since 1992. Many of her orders have not yet become habitual, is not incorporated in our mentality and education. In the US with 1776, with the founding of the country. Americans are taught from childhood to communication and self-presentation. MBA students specifically focus on communication, not homework. Networking here — the focus of an ambitious man, regardless of profession.

Russian companies that enter the market in the United States must understand this difference. Their task is to be clear about the nature of American networking and business etiquette. It does not matter from which country you come from or what accent you have. But to comply with the unwritten rules of business communication you must — otherwise you simply will not be taken seriously.

An online acquaintance

In the Russian business environment can often hear the request to “share contact”. If you are with a person that know and can vouch for him, the answer is usually “stop and tell him that from me.”

In the US things are different. The view of the interlocutors to each other is possible only with the involvement of a third party and is called “Intro”. This scheme exists for two reasons:

The transfer contact of a person without his permission is unethical.

If you vouch personally familiar with your interest man, if he spends some time online Dating to you immediately treat with attention and confidence. So, the likelihood of the transaction or any other cooperation.

From the very beginning, when my project Candice Cake was only going to the States, I asked a friend to introduce me to a partner of the American Corporation. In response, a friend asked me to write a blurb. Blurb is a paragraph telling briefly who you are, what your company does and why you need to submit. In fact it is two or three succinct sentences, of which you lay down your impression of yourself.

A friend first sent me written paragraph to a partner. And only after his consent to the acquaintance wrote a letter by e-mail, which introduced us to each other.

According to the rules of etiquette I had:

  • To answer the first within 24 hours.
  • To thank friend and move his e-mails in the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy, blind copy).
  • To contact your partner with a proposal for the meeting or call.

Social network

What social network in Russia is considered a professional? Right, Facebook. That’s what I thought when I found the page of the Director of the new York accelerator, which wanted to go. The message contained a quite reasonable proposal about the meeting, received no response. Thought saw.

But when we met in person, he immediately recognized me and with a grin said, “Oh. it’s you. I remember you wrote in Facebook. It bothered me”. Apparently my face expressed genuine misunderstanding — he changed his tone and politely explained that Facebook in the US — exclusively personal social network for close friends and family.

For business communication Americans use Linkedin. If you write a person “cold” and not have his mail as a means of communication give preference to Linkedin. Here does not know that in Russia it is forbidden.

You are expected to detail filled pages with contacts not less than 500 persons, a description of your achievements, job positions, over universities and perhaps two-three articles on your behalf. Linkedin is your business card.

Approval of meeting or call

Let’s say you managed to interest the interlocutor and he is ready to meet you in person. How to coordinate a meeting?

Grant the interlocutor at least two options for days and time. In Russia is normal and customary to offer one option. Americans don’t like their choices limited. Sometimes coordination meeting has been delayed for two or three letters for compliance with the rules of etiquette.

Send a Google Calendar Invite — the invitation via Google calendar, which allows you to book a time in the schedule. This is the expected action after an agreed time and place of the meeting. In Russia this instrument is also used, but not everywhere.

In the US, the border between personal and working relationship is very clear. A compliment about appearance can be perceived negatively.

For matching calls same rules apply. In addition, please specify the time zone of the source and method of communication.

For calls to the US often use the Zoom of the conference. If you are the initiator, in the notes to Google Calendar Invite and attach a link to a personal conference Zoom to the person it was easier just to join in the conversation.


Even if the event is something informative — be speakers, conference discussion — often people come to them for the sake of Dating. Every day in the United States organized networking events. To choose among them worthy of a separate art, but now not about it.

Suppose you were standing on the event and around dozens of useful professional contacts. How to behave?

Get to the right person and start a conversation. There are so accepted. The first few times I was very surprised how a person can just fly up to introduce themselves, shake hands and ask what you’re doing.

Conversation it is advisable to start with small talk — dialogue in five or six sentences on a neutral topic. You can notice something at the event, ask a question, do the companion exhibition or to make a professional compliment. If the event is set on the acquisition of Dating, you can immediately ask the question So what do you do?

The more connections and acquaintances, the easier issues.

In principle, similar to the Russian Dating in the USA small talk paying more attention.

A handshake is the most important element of Dating. It occurs in the moment when you exchange names. Example:

  • Hi, how do you like the event so far? This speaker is truly extraordinary.
  • — I absolutely agree, the tips she gave on fundraising were extremely helpful. I’m Marina, by the way.
  • — Martin, nice to meet you! (handshake)

The gender of the interlocutors is not important — my hands shake and all in the same manner. Men kissing women’s hands is strictly prohibited and are perceived negatively.

In the negotiations the Americans hope for quick results rather than building relationships. To detain a person on for a long time is considered bad manners, as it may miss other important Dating.

On one of the professional events we held interlocutor in the dialogue for 20 minutes. After the end of the conversation he apologized and the next day wrote a letter with the repeated apologies for what took a large amount of my time.

If you want to continue communicating, the next day after meeting you need to send follow-up e-mail or Linkedin.

For example, during your conversation, you agreed to cooperate. Sent follow-up, and received a polite reply, which did not anticipate any further action. This is normal. Americans do not like to say “no”. It is OK to get a “Yes” out of politeness. Over time, the difference between “Yes” out of politeness and a real “Yes” is beginning to be felt intuitively.

Large American cities are unique, each becomes his regardless of country of birth, skin colour and accent. But that the networking was successful, it is important to follow generally accepted rules of etiquette. The chances of a successful acquaintance and negotiations in times increase, if you play by the rules.




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