This is the first of several “What I Learned in Mexico” posts, all of which will have some relation to my study abroad down in Monterrey. Today I’ll be focusing on doing business in Mexico and more specifically, business negotiation practices. These business negotiation practices are custom-tailored for doing business in Mexico, but it’s important to note that there are several lessons in the post which can be applied to doing business anywhere in the World!
The Meat & Potatoes
I’ll get right into the good stuff… what I specifically was taught by my instructor at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Business negotiation practices are very different wherever you go, even between countries like the U.S. and Mexico. There are several large differences between negotiation practices in the U.S. and negotiation practices in Mexico. To make reading easier I’ll go ahead and list the most common negotiation characteristics and practices in a bulleted list (keep in mind these are very generic lists).
U.S. Business Negotiation Characteristics
- Superiority complexes are common, and as such they feel that everyone should speak their language (English, duh!)
- Direct and to the point – we do not like to waste time on informalities
- Quick to make decisions
- Aggressive and competitive
- Like to use social events to further business negotiations
Mexican Business Negotiation Characteristics
- Don’t always speak English and feel that if we want to do business with them we might try learning their language
- Feel strongly about developing trust and getting to know the other party before starting (and during) business negotiations
- Do not like to feel pushed or rushed when it comes to making business decisions
- Very cooperative with business associates when trust has been developed
- Do not wish to discuss business over social events and will probably be offended if you try
The Point Is?
I’m not going to get into any more details about the differences between U.S. and Mexican business negotiations as that’s not exactly the point of this post. Rather I’m interested in the idea behind all of these differences and what I think is important to learn and accept if you plan on doing business anywhere outside of your home country (or even state or city). I think it’s best if we remember the rule, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Even more appropriate would be to adopt as a general rule, “When you’re Roman doing business in Rome with an Italian, learn Italian negotiation practices.” Here’s the punch line: Go the extra step to make your business counterparts and associates more comfortable and you will go far in your business negotiations.
It’s not a difficult idea but it is one that a lot of people have difficulties with. Especially U.S. businessmen. It may be stereotypical but I do believe that a superiority complex is far too common among our types. If we are to succeed in the Global market we need to change and adapt. We need to learn to do business in more ways than just our way.
Do you have any experience with doing business outside of your national market? I’d love to hear any positive or negative experiences on the matter of global business negotiations.