Have you ever analyzed the possibility to enter the Latin American market? What are the main hurdles you have found? Is it the business culture? How feasible is for a Swiss company to successful trade with Latin America? I would like to highlight some of the cultural aspects that a Swiss company will need to consider while trading with Latin America. Applying a positive approach you will be able to develop a successful business experience and rediscover the Latin American business culture.
Swiss companies are recognized as innovative. Products are supported with high technology or they are able to cover specific market demands (Market Niche). This market competitive advantage position them sometimes in a comfortable situation of allows little international competition. Their “only” problem relies in having the need to expand to an international level, as the Swiss market may be too small to provide enough ROI that could hinder their further innovation investment. Other Swiss companies face the “nice” problematic that foreign countries are demanding their products and they have to be ready to negotiate with new cultures. So, your company decided to look towards the Latin American Market. The market entry strategy or the experience of other companies may show you some traits. These obstacles will probably make you hesitate to deal with the Latin American Culture. I would like to bring you some aspects that may not be written in your strategy, but that are equally important for your success.
According to K. Hammerich and R. Lewis, The Latin American countries have a “Multi-active culture” representing warm, emotional, loquacious, and impulsive. These characteristics described at the Lewis Model© may crash whenever it comes to do business with Swiss “Liner Active” representing cold, factual, decisive planners cultural these big differences have to be adapted when approaching the new markets. How can you avoid this?
For the Latin American- culture (multi-active culture) personal relationships are sometimes more important than business goals. It is indeed important to invest time in holding a face-to face meeting and acquiring confidence and trust from your business counterpart. You must be ready to have a lunch meetings which not necessarily will be having a defined agenda or providing an immediately result. Building a business relationship will usually take time and this has to be considered in your business plan. Getting to the point for closing a deal requires time, patience and building personal relationships these elements are not only required but mandatory. But, this time investment is not waste time.
As an example; during more than ten years, I have represented Swiss companies in Latin America. One of the wisest decisions of one of my employers was to allow an overtaking time between me and my predecessor. He dealt with the Latin American representatives for a couple of decades, so I was given the chance to travel with him and obtain a personal introduction. Having his support in front of our business partners and customers allowed me to overtake the market responsibilities and personal relationships in a stronger position. This certainly allowed my employer to secure the business, but also to generate a positive acceptance with the Latin American business partners, as they were considered not only as business but also as a person. I could therefore jump fast to the new job, and also allowed me to further increase sales.
Multi-active cultures are warm; this may also relays in the weather, but helping each other, showing emotions, personal touching and small talks are a main part of the culture. In the contrary, the representation of acceptance in the Swiss culture (linear-active) sometimes may hinder to identify the acceptance of our business counterpart. You may leave a meeting with a straight no. The Latin American warmest will allow you on a certain extend to influence the decision; showing your emotions will let your business partner to obtain your acceptance and your positive feedback, therefore he will be feeling more comfortable to do business with you. As a result you may build a long term business relationship that may secure further business opportunities.
If you want to better understand what are the most important traits coming from the Latin American culture that impact performance of the region’s companies and how can we use this insight to improve your trade relationship? To identify how the “soft” skills should be applied to encourage a successful business experience. How ready is your company to adapt/implement a cultural transformation to adapt to a new region? What are the cultural dimensions that identify the Latin American Region that mostly influence their business culture?
Do not miss the chance to learn more during our next congress “Corporate culture vs. National culture” Positive aspects while trading with Latin America in which you not only will have the opportunity to personally meet the authors’ of “Fish can’t see water”, but also to enriched with selected top managers’ experiences and insights in this region. We will substantiate the theory with the experience. To be linked during a panel discussion aimed to identify the most relevant factors and their exploitation. Program