5 things you NEED to do when negotiating in France

French business negotiation tactics

When setting up a business in another country, it is inevitable: you’ll have to negotiate. And yet, if you try to negotiate in France just like you would in your home country, you could be in for a surprise, especially so if you come from the US or UK, where traditions are surprisingly different.

As such, there are certain things you should know before engaging in negotiations:

  1. Always dress formally!

Even if it is stated that you can dress casually, the “business casual” look still involves at least a shirt, and preferably a tie.

  1. Pay attention to what you say!

During a meeting, you should always remain polite and formal. If not, you risk appearing as unprofessional, and untrustworthy.

  1. Make sure to stay logical at all time!

This is perhaps the most important point. If you say something that’s contradictory, even if it contradicts something you said a month ago, expect to be called out for it.
Because of this, the French often try to understand each detail of a product before moving on; if they’re nitpicking on every little thing you say, it’s that your product is interesting.

  1. Don’t rush things too much

If you’re expecting a decision to be made in 30 minutes, you’re doing something wrong. The French like to explore every aspect of a given issue, so meetings are likely to last for 2 hours or more. In fact, it’s rare for a decision to be taken during a meeting!

  1. Don’t bother with excess friendliness

Again, only one thing will convince the French, and that’s logic. On the contrary, if you try to act too friendly, they could get suspicious.