One big difference between doing business domestically and internationally is culture. According to the U.S Department of Commerce, less than 25 percent of U.S. business ventures abroad are successful. A lot of that is because American businesses don’t do their homework or because they think the rest of the world should do business the way they do business.
We at Business Jetsettters recommend the following tips to avoid making costly mistakes in international business meetings:
1.Build a relationship before you get down to business. That entails making small talk and getting to know one another without immediately getting into business discussions. For example, we found in Mexico If they feel uneasy around you, chances are you won’t be closing any deals. To develop relationships, be warm and friendly. Ask your Mexican counterparts about their family, friends, customs, hobbies, etc.
2.Don’t impose time limits- Keep the meeting as open as possible because it adds strength to your negotiating position. Being direct and to the point may be perceived as rude or aggressive. Be gracious and polite. Because relationships come first, negotiations tend to move slowly. Meetings typically are slow-paced, often going off-topic.
3. Do your research. Learn at least a few pointers and facts about the country; it shows you respect your potential partners’ cultural heritage. Also, get comfortable with the basic words in their language. In Latin America most business people speak English, you should learn basic phrases in Spanish such as “por favor” (please), “gracias” (thank you), “adios” (goodbye) and “disculpe” (excuse me).
4. Bring your own interpreter. If they provide the interpreter, warns the interpreter is going to have the other person’s [interests] at heart, not yours.
5. Understand body language. People think body language is universal-it’s not. Strangers shake hands when meeting and leaving each other. In Mexico, the business people usually hold the gesture longer than we do. Friends may hug or kiss each other on the cheek. Men often touch shoulders or pat each other on the back.
6. Dress with respect and authority. This should be self-explanatory. If it’s not, seek the help of an image expert. Business professionals in major cities give a great deal of importance to appearances and in many settings, generally, dress more formally than their U.S counterparts. We advise wearing professional attire when meeting with prospective business partners/investors in Mexico.
At Business Jetsetters our Trips our built to prepare you for any obstacles that may come as long when conducting business abroad. Our Trips prepare each of our fellow travelers on the etiquette and the local knowledge in order to have a successful business meeting. Check out the link for information on our upcoming trips. Mexico City