Tips for developing good business practice in Spain

Build successful relationships

Spanish people like doing business with people they know and trust, therefore it is a good idea to spend enough time getting to know and building rapport with your colleagues. This is crucial for good business practice in Spain.
Once you have built up a good relationship with someone, this will continue regardless of whether you stay with their company as they have got to know you as a person rather than the company you work for.
The Spanish appreciate face-to-face contact rather than communication via email or telephone.
It is very important to present yourself well and to keep communication formal adhering to protocol when dealing with Spanish colleagues.
Try not to confront Spanish people as they do not enjoy admitting they are incorrect in front of others. Spaniards always try to look good to other people and never to appear foolish.
Try to appear modest when talking about your achievements and accomplishments.

Business Negotiation

Spaniards are more interested in the character of the person they do business with.
Hierarchy and rank are important. It is better to deal with people of similar rank to your own.
Decision-making is held at the top of the company, since this is a hierarchical country. You may never actually meet the actual decision maker.
Be prepared to be interrupted while you are speaking. This just means the person is interested in what you are saying.
Spaniards do not like to lose face, so they may not always say that they do not understand something, especially if you are speaking English. You must read body language well.
Spaniards are very thorough. They will review every tiny detail to be sure that it is understood.
To begin with it is important to reach a verbal understanding. Later on a formal contract will be drawn up.

Business Meeting Etiquette

Appointments should be arranged in advance by telephone or fax. Reconfirm in writing or by telephone the week before.
Although Spaniards are known for their lack of punctuality, you should still arrive on time for meetings.
The first meeting is usually formal and is used to get to know each other. Normally business does not begin until after the first meeting. Agendas are not normally followed too strictly.
It is important that all your printed material is available in both English and Spanish.
Do not expect all businesspeople to speak English, therefore it is a good idea to find out in advance if you will need an interpreter.
Several people may speak at once. You may be interrupted while you are speaking.
Meetings are for discussion and to exchange ideas. Decisions will be made afterwards.
Most Spaniards do not give their opinion at meetings. Therefore, it is important to be able to read non-verbal communication.

Dress etiquette

Dress stylishly but conservatively as you would in other European countries.
Both men and women tend to wear elegant accessories.

If you would like to learn Spanish for Business see our Corporate Spanish Training page for more details or call Fiona on 07870699404.

 
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