How To Conduct Business Meetings In Spain
It’s so exciting when you start doing business with other countries, after all, there is a lot of profit to be made by finding a successful partnership, and Spain, in particular, is a good place to start. With an enviable location in Europe as well as great links to the rest of the world, Spain certainly has everything a business needs to thrive. So, if you’re thinking that working with a Spanish company or individual would be a great way to boost your bottom line, you’ll probably want to set up a meeting with someone who can help you. Here are some tips on how to conduct a business meeting when in Spain.
Are They Important?
Business meetings aren’t something that everyone enjoys doing. After all, going to a new country and perhaps even picking up some of the language can seem like quite a lot of work, not to mention expense, for something that may or may not be successful. However, learning the basics of the language is always a good idea; even if you can’t speak fluently, you should have a few phrases in your head to show that you are taking things seriously and to show that you want to communicate well.
However, often Spanish business people do like to meet the people they are hoping to do business with, so you should definitely be prepared to travel to Spain and to meet prospective business partners, suppliers, or even clients. Spaniards put a great deal of importance on doing business with people they know, like, and trust, which is why a business meeting that gives a good impression is often essential.
Plan The Date
Spain has a lot of public holidays; in fact, it has the most in all of Europe. There are at least 14 held each year across the country, but there are also many other, smaller festivals and events held in each different region and even in each town or village. Therefore, choosing the right date is important. Do your research as much as possible so that if you are the one proposing the date to meet up you don’t suggest a day that no one is going to be working. Although your business counterparts probably won’t be offended, not knowing that there is a holiday shows that you haven’t looked into the country as much as perhaps you should.
Not only that but if you pick a date that no one in Spain can attend, you will lengthen the process, and it will take longer to pick a date that works. It could have an impact on how much you will have to pay for your airfare, for example.
Speak to Senior Management
In Spanish business tradition, it is customary for the most senior management figures to be present for a business meeting, whether that is to agree on a prestamo personal (personal loan) or to sign a deal worth million. That means they will expect someone of the equivalent stature in your company to be at the meeting as well. It doesn’t matter if your office junior has all the information is a great orator and negotiator, it will be the boss that they will want to see. Sending someone junior can make it look as though you’re not that interested in the business they have to offer, and some might even take offense.
In Spain, most negotiations can only really take place after the two parties have got to know one another. The first meeting that is held might not be about business at all, but more about finding out more about one another. In many cases, this can be (at least partially) done over the phone or through a video conference call and doing it this way will save time and money. However, until you have met in person remember that nothing is confirmed; you can do as much of the groundwork as possible beforehand, but that first meeting is crucial – you will need to make as good an impression as you can.
To do this, remember previous conversations that you have had. You might want to ask your Spanish counterpart how their spouse or children are, or how well they did in the tennis match they had told you they were going to play. When you are speaking to them over the phone, for example, make notes about what they say. You can use the flight to learn more about it so that you can take an interest in their hobbies and their families.
Make Sure Everyone Understands
The last thing you want to happen is for your point to be misconstrued when you are trying to negotiate an important business deal. If you don’t speak Spanish and your counterparts don’t speak English, there will be an issue regarding understanding. Find out beforehand whether there is a translator that can be hired in for the occasion or take someone with you from your own company who can speak both languages. If you are creating an agenda or any notes, make sure you write them in Spanish as well, just to be sure that no one gets confused or lost.
Will There Be A Decision?
Most often in Spain, a decision won’t be made during the meeting; instead, the meeting is a place to exchange ideas and work out the ins and outs of each deal. Afterward, the Spanish businessmen and women will go away and discuss things among themselves. Be prepared for this to take a long time because in some cases there are various levels of management that the ideas need to go through before a final decision is made.
Remember also not to ask for anyone’s opinions during the meeting – that is, don’t ask them what they think of the idea. In most cases, these opinions will be held back until everyone who needs to be consulted has been. Then you will get all the information you need, whether the answer is yes or no. It can be extremely useful for other meetings going forward, so make sure you heed what this feedback has to say.
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