Success tips when doing business in South America
The following success tips should be used as a rule of thumb when conducting business in South America. Clients should be aware that different countries within South America may operate differently.
- Clients should be friendly when conducting business as personal relationships have a strong influence on the way South Americans approach business. Therefore, Clients should accept social and personal invitations which can be rewarding in the long term;
- There is little personal space in South America, business and private life are closely interwoven. A meeting can begin with hugging, kissing, patting and different degrees of touching, surprisingly even men kiss other men cheek to cheek;
- Business attire in South America is very important. Your outfit should be of decent quality as South Americans will judge you by the way you are dress and your overall appearance;
- The pace of life in South America is much slower than in Europe or North America, therefore, projects are going to take more time to be completed. We advise our clients to be very flexible with time keeping, and not to appear irritated when things are running behind schedule;
- Although it can be seen as a respectful gesture to learn the countries language, if this is not possible, Healy Consultants advises our Client to hire a partner who speaks the native language of the country;
- Although Spanish is the main language in South America, Brazilians speak Portuguese, consequently, Spanish won’t get you far in Brazil;
- If your company suddenly changes its South American representative, expect the relationship to go back to basics. Clients should be prepared to start the negotiations or the relationship building all over again;
- Body language is a very important part of etiquette in South America. One must maintain eye contact, keep hands relaxed and avoid nervousness in order to make a good impression on others;
- It is important to bear in mind that Latin Americans love gestures, therefore, paying attention to these may indicate how your business partner feels about the negotiations;
- Latin Americans are tired of being patronized by Americans and Europeans, therefore, It is important to adapt to the South Americans way of doing business, as they believe others should adapt to their ways of doing things;
- When paying a supplier, they may request a cash payment because sometimes, banks may be unreliable.