Based on what I saw during our last trade mission to Mexico, here are a few tips to help you understand Mexican culture.
Meet your potential partner in Mexico, it’s worth the trip!
If you want to do business in Mexico, you have to understand that Mexicans only negotiate with people they trust. So you absolutely must meet your potential customer in person and win him over. For example, at a cocktail held at the Quebec House in Mexico City, one of the mission participants had a chance to talk to a potential customer before the next day’s meeting, allowing him to begin establishing trust. The next day, the participant was warmly received by the company and introduced to its employees. Negotiations will continue when the potential customer visits Quebec this month.
The challenge of confirming appointments in Mexico
Managing a successful business trip to Mexico is no small feat. Mexican entrepreneurs often wait until the very last minute to confirm a meeting. I therefore strongly recommend that you have someone in Mexico who can help you plan your stay and meetings.
First impressions are everything
In Mexico, as in many other Latin American countries, first impressions are very important. For example, formal business attire is a must. For more information, visit the Executive Planet Web site.
Punctuality is not always a priority in Mexican business culture. That said, a Mexican businessman will expect his future foreign partner to be on time. But when it comes to social events, arriving 30 minutes late is the norm. For example, during our mission, the general Quebec delegation organized a cocktail from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. but most of the Mexican guests didn’t show up until 8:00 p.m.
The meaning of mañana
It’s important to understand the subtleties of the word mañana. Mexicans don’t like to disappoint by saying no. So instead, they will use the word mañana to mean later, in the near future, or simply no. But be careful, because “no” may mean “no” (to us) but it can also mean maybe or we’ll see. It’s therefore important for Quebecers not to take this word literally.
Finally, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you need advice on doing business in Mexico, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.