Many businesses branch out or expand to Mexico because the potential gains are significant. However, the potential for disaster is also great if you’re not aware of the local business culture. Whether you’re opening a shoe store or exporting goods abroad, success greatly relies on your knowledge of the country’s law and their corporate culture.
The right sales pitch isn’t enough to persuade people and businesses in Mexico to buy what you are selling. That’s why you should implement after mentioned five business rules.
Rule #1 – The Importance of Being Punctual in Mexico
As in The US, the UK or any other country you should aim to be on time for any meeting. However, don’t be surprised if your Mexican counterpart is a couple of minutes late. In Mexico, people aren’t rigid about the time since there is an emphasis on living life.
It also isn’t common for them to cancel meetings as most meetings are considered tentative until a confirmation is received that you are in Mexico. Plus, You’ll probably hear the word “mañana” a lot which means “tomorrow,” but which also references to the next few days or perhaps the near future.
Rule #2 – Business Communication
Businessmen and women in Mexico communicate in Spanish with each other. However, they also speak English, but you still should know the basics like “por favor,” which means “please,” “adios,” which means “goodbye,” etc.
You will also want to add a bilingual member to your team. Having one helps make interpreting a lot of what is discussed easier. Also, as a rule of thumb, you’ll want to avoid using first names unless they ask you to.
Rule #3 -Body Language
In Mexico, even strangers will shake hands when meeting and then leaving. The gesture is usually held a few seconds longer. Close friends may hug and kiss, while men choose to pat each other on the back. However, if you stand with your hands on your hips, it can be seen as being aggressive.
Rule #4 -Business Development
In Mexico, people will do business with friends and like in any other country if they feel uneasy when with you they may choose not to close a deal. That’s why being warm and friendly is a good idea. Ask the person you meet about their family, customs, the weather, etc. In some cases, an intermediary may help you make a personal connection which ups your chances of closing a deal with your Mexican counterpart.
Rule #5 -Business Attire
Businessmen will want to dress conservatively. So, to play it safe, wear a dark suit and tie. Businesswomen should also dress formally in business attire. Mexicans and most businesses in Mexico don’t see jeans as being appropriate; the same goes for short or tight skirts and low cut shirts. So, avoid these dresses at all costs.
As a rule of thumb, it is OK to be overdressed in Mexico than underdressed.
When business owners have a genuine interest in assimilating in the local business culture, it is possible to develop a successful relationship. When in doubt, do a bit of research as it can save you a great deal of time and hassle.