Trade habits in Brazil: Essential tips
In Brazil, business meetings are generally held in company offices. It is rare for clients to schedule meetings at a hotel or in their residence, as is customary in other countries.
- Adopt an objective and direct approach in meetings, be clear and firm with regard to prices, timetables, and payment forms.
- Do not be concerned if assistants or cell phones interrupt the meeting, even during sales pitches. Pause and continue the presentation as naturally as possible.
- In general, Brazilian executives negotiate business deals alone or with another company representative engaged in the particular field or project.
- Company catalogues and Web sites should be made available in a number of languages, including Portuguese, to ensure specific technical information does not have to be translated or explained during meetings.
- Guarantees, post-sale technical assistance, replacements, maintenance, or any other obligations required following the sale should be clearly laid out, primarily those relating to financial matters.
- Brazilian executives will not always directly state their lack of interest in purchasing the product. Generally, they will allow the business negotiation to run its course until it becomes clear to the visitor that a deal is not possible.
- The reputation of Brazilians as not being punctual does not apply to the business sector. Indeed, Brazilian executives are punctual and will frequently call in advance if they are unable to meet at the scheduled time.
- In regard to dress codes, men and women alike should wear formal business attire.
- Do not be surprised if prior to the meeting lighthearted comments are made about a report in the media or about the preferred soccer (football) teams of meeting participants. These are common “ice-breakers” in Brazil.
- At the outset of meetings, coffee is served in small cups. The coffee is strong, quite different from that found in other Latin American countries.
- Brazilians are interested in the stories foreign visitors have to tell. Generally, visitors are asked to offer some observations or to report on a significant factor development in their country.
- Never offer comments on the country’s political or economic situation, much less about issues relating to Brazilian foreign trade with which one disagrees, as this could give rise to inconvenient comparisons.
- Presentations should be objective, succinct, clear, and, in the event technical information is required, avoid excessive detail. One should assume that the client has an adequate understanding of the sale product. In general, very few questions will be posed during presentations. However, a number of questions relating to all aspects of a particular product, including in regard to prices, will most certainly be raised afterward.
- Depending on the relationship established in the business meeting, a lunch or dinner invitation may be extended with a view to continuing the negotiation. As such, lunch or dinner invitations should not be viewed as social gatherings.
- Visitors are unlikely to be invited to meet the families of clients, a practice more prevalent in other countries. However, after all pertinent business matters have been discussed, Brazilians enjoy engaging in informal conversations about their personal lives.
- Visitors should take the initiative to treat their hosts, even in cases in which clients insist on paying the check. The gesture will be looked on favorably, not so much from a financial standpoint, as for the thoughtfulness of the act.
- On leaving the establishment, the client may want to take his or her visitors back to their hotel. Visitors should accept, for it is important to Brazilian to ensure the comfort and safety of their guests.