BRAZIL. BUSINESS TIPS

  • When negotiating with Brazilian business people, be aware that they usually think in terms of US dollars.
  • It is important to keep in mind that personal contacts do play an important role in Brazil and can make the difference in doing business deals.
  • Although many Brazilians speak English, some may feel more comfortable in business meetings if an interpreter is present.
  • Wait for your Brazilian colleagues to raise the business subject.
  • Avoid using Spanish as a substitute for Portuguese.
  • During meetings, use the title ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ and then their first name, not their last name (ie. Sr Carlos, Sra Julia).
  • They are not very straightforward businesspeople and have a policy of never blatantly saying ‘no’.
  • Use local lawyers and accountants for negotiations. Brazilians resent an outside legal presence.
  • Due to the sheer size of the city, business people coming to São Paulo should have some idea of where they are going in order to determine how much travel time will be needed. If possible, try to avoid the rush hours (8.00am-10.00am and 5.30pm-7.30pm). During the rainy season, (January to March) the traffic is virtually paralysed.
  • Business appointments are required and can often be scheduled on short notice; however, it is best to make them 2 to 3 weeks in advance.
  • Confirm the meeting in writing. It is not uncommon for appointments to be cancelled or changed at the last minute.
  • Brazilian business is hierarchical. Decisions are made by the highest-ranking person.
  • Brazilians negotiate with people not companies. Do not change your negotiating team or you may have to start over from the beginning.
  • Meetings are generally rather informal.
  • Expect to be interrupted while you are speaking or making a presentation.

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