I give you some tips from my experience with Russian business people.
Export – import meetings are tough and hard. Exporting to Russia has many difficulties but with this advice I hope you will do it well.
The typical greeting is a firm, almost bone-crushing handshake while maintaining direct eye contact and giving the appropriate greeting for the time of day.
Russian names are comprised of:
- First name, which is the person’s given name.
- Middle name, which is a patronymic or a version of the father’s first name formed by adding ‘- vich’ or ‘-ovich’ for a male and ‘-avna’ or ‘- ovna’ for a female. The son of Ivan would have a patronymic of Ivanovich while the daughter’s patronymic would be Ivanovna.
- Last name, which is the family or surname.
In formal situations, people use all three names.
- Russians are transactional and do not need to establish long-standing personal relationships before they do business with people.
- It is still a good idea to develop a network of people who you know and trust.
- Be punctual when doing business in Russia. However do not take offense if your Russian counterpart is not.
- Patience is essential.
- An indication that you have successfully developed a personal relationship is being asked for a favour by that person.
- Appointments are necessary and should be made as far in advance as possible.
- Typical Russian schedules are constantly changing and everything takes longer than expected, so be prepared to be kept waiting.
- Meetings are frequently interrupted. It is common for several side conversations that have nothing to do with the topic of the meeting to be carried on during the meeting.
- Russians are not impressed by foreigners doing business in Russia who use special visuals, flashy PowerPoint presentations and the like.
- Meetings and negotiations are slow.
- Hierarchy is important to Russians. They respect age, rank and position. The most senior person reaches decisions. Russian companies are often driven and directed by one strong, central character.
- Russians see negotiations as win-lose.
- Russians view compromise as weakness. They will continue negotiating until you offer concessions.
- Companies tend to take a short-term view of any given business opportunity.
- Russians often use time as a tactic, especially if they know that you have a deadline.
- Nothing is final until the contract is signed.
- Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions without formal ritual.
- Have one side of your business card translated into Russian using Cyrillic text.
- Include advanced university degrees on your business card.