Doing Business in Brazil – Effective communication
Doing Business in Brazil – Effective communication is a key success factor.
Brazil is the fifth country in the world in size and population, Brazil has the most powerful economy in South America and one of the most developed in the world. Its vast territory and its abundant natural resources allow an economy of great diversification, with business opportunities in all sectors.
Businesses in Brazil benefit from significant financial stability, a fundamental factor in the unpredictable scenario that international markets have presented in recent years. Through its macroeconomic policies, Brazil has demonstrated a strength capable of withstanding the crisis that has beaten other powers in the world.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, although in the main business centers – southwest and south – English is widely used and understood. Brazilians do not define themselves as Hispanics, because they have been colonized by Portugal. Therefore, they do not conceive that they are called “Latinos”.
The corporate culture has been influenced by emotions, which often interfere in the negotiation table. Socially it is expected to establish, certain bonds of friendship and exchange of favors, both in the public and private. Building a strong personal relationship will be very important to close agreements and also to build a lasting partnership.
The Brazilians are somewhat unpunctual. Expressions such as “um minutinho”, “um instantinho”, “um segundinho” may involve several minutes of waiting. Be patient.
During the first meeting, Brazilian businessmen will greet you by shaking hands and then proceed to deliver the promotional material or other documents of your foreign company, which must be in Portuguese and English or in your language. When entering a room for a meeting, it will be the norm to greet and introduce yourself to everyone who is already there.
It is usual that before discussing the subject in question, an informal conversation about generalities is held, to promote a friendly atmosphere among the attendees of the meeting.
In a process of negotiation already advanced, it is necessary to avoid the change of the people involved, because the fundamentally personal relationships increase the confidence. Try not to make changes in the negotiation team or, otherwise, failure will be assured.
The notion of hierarchy is well rooted in Brazilian culture and is externalized, for example, with the concentration of power and the acceptance of inequality within companies. Even when the treatment is of an informal nature between the people of the high ranking positions and their subordinates, the awareness that the hierarchies are maintained at the other levels is not lost. Although other technical areas are involved in the negotiation, the highest spheres, such as the directors and the presidency, are responsible for the final approval to close the deal.
Although Brazilians are always open to new ideas, they have a hard time dealing with criticism and most of the time, they interpret it as a personal issue unrelated to the task performed. It is better that the criticisms are simulated using suggestions to avoid unnecessary confrontations
Negotiation strategies. To access the Brazilian market, it is advisable to work through a local contact – known as a dispatcher, in Portuguese – to solve bureaucratic problems and report on the company’s commercial solvency.
It is difficult to make transactions by sending catalogs or through the Internet, without there being a personal contact. The Brazilian has to personally evaluate the person with whom he is going to do business and physically see the product before making the purchase decision.
Imports are made, above all, through distributors and agents. It will be difficult to find one that covers the entire country; They usually work in one area or state and outsource to other companies for the rest of the country.
The question of the form of payment is essential. All commercial risks must be covered before committing to the delivery of the product. Issues such as deadlines and banking means to cancel the payment obligation must be agreed with the utmost clarity. It is recommended to investigate what methods and terms are common in the market or industry to which it is aimed, in order to find the parameters to be able to negotiate a position.
Agreements are negotiated globally rather than point by point or sequentially. Therefore, it is necessary to always try to keep a general idea of what is being negotiated and avoid stagnation in points that are not necessarily substantive in the agreement.
Given the complexity of the Brazilian legal system, it is advisable to hire the services of a local lawyer before signing any type of contract. The contracts are written in English or another foreign language and in a currency other than Real, only if the object of the contract is outside Brazil. If the place of performance of the contract is Brazil, the government requires that it be written in Portuguese and in the local currency, the Real.
Protocol standards. English is not a popular language, although in certain areas it can be a tool of “distinction”. Certain entrepreneurs who do not speak Spanish try to maintain contacts in English with their counterparts, as a way to use a neutral language. Although if you have a high level of Portuguese, you could be seen at the negotiating table.
The most usual form of greeting is the handshake (kisses on the cheeks between women) and expressions.
As you can note the culture and language issues could be barriers to get a successful deal there in Brazil. That is the reason we suggest you try always to make the meetings on their language (Brazilian Portuguese).
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