Spain has long been considered a popular tourist destination, but it’s also an excellent location for other economic interests. As the time for summer vacations is upon us, we want to take a look at the Spanish business world and provide you with some useful tips to improve your business relationships.
Personal relationships tend to be very important in Spanish business. You’ll likely only convince partners of your product or service if you also make a good impression as a person. Relationships with business partners and colleagues thus tend to be rather friendly, and private topics are often broached. Verbal communication is generally preferred over written communication. Instead of writing an e-mail, it’s consequently more effective to call your Spanish business partner directly; it’s a good opportunity to exchange a few personal words and strengthen your personal relationship.
Once you’ve taken this first step, you should maintain your relationship with your contact person, which can definitely be a bit more demanding of your time. It would be a good idea to prepare for some small talk and learn about Spanish cuisine, among other things. You surely already know some typical dishes such as gazpacho from Andalusia, paella from Valencia and crema catalana from your last trip to Spain. Expect personal questions during informal talks and allow a look into your private life; your counterpart wants to get to know you as a person. Some topics should be avoided, however, as they can be polarizing among the Spanish populace. These include the Spanish royal family, regional languages and bullfighting.
Be charismatic during presentations
Of course, the establishment of relationships also plays a major role when it comes to business trips. For instance, you should never refuse an invitation – even if it’s just for a coffee. This will allow you to become better acquainted with each other, and it will provide an opportunity to discuss things informally. Show interest in your counterpart, but avoid business topics and wait for your partner to broach them. You should also wait until an actual meeting to do things like exchange business cards. Your goal should rather be to arouse personal sympathy [as opposed to professional sympathy] and to gain your business partner’s trust.
In meetings and presentations, you can score more points by being charismatic, eloquent and animated rather than by stating facts, figures and expert knowledge. Don’t expect specific measures to be stipulated at your first meeting, and show openness and flexibility. As previously mentioned, you’ll only tend to go into business with your Spanish business partners if you establish a foundation of trust.
On that note, the indirect way of Spanish communication is important, especially when it comes to communicating critical issues. It mainly comes down to not offending your counterpart. Try to remember to mention positive aspects, constantly state the importance of your personal relationship and avoid making your counterpart look bad in front of other people. This advice also applies if your Spanish partner doesn’t adhere to certain deadlines in your project work.
Please keep in mind that the tips we’ve provided here are just general first steps. Moreover, not every Spanish person acts and reacts the same way, so this information should merely be considered a guide. On top of that, Spain has regional differences to keep in mind – just like many other countries. For further information about our service portfolio, take a look at our offerings.