- Category: Business culture
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.