Colombia: Let’s Make a Deal!

2015-06-12

Let’s Make a Deal!

Colombians usually observe rules of hierarchy and prefer to follow an agenda.

Formality in Colombian business is expected, especially inland. Along the coast less formality is acceptable. Make your greeting. Small talk before and after meetings is vital towards building a sense of trust and goodwill.

Colombians make decisions by consensus.

The meetings are usually conducted in a dignified and calm manner. You should never criticize anyone openly. Avoid situations where several people speak at once.

Colombians pay close attention to people’s feelings so be wary of depending only on facts and figures. In Colombia, personal relationships make or break business deals.

Always be cognizant of how your behavior is being perceived by your Colombian colleagues.

Your assumptions should always be tested by asking direct and indirect questions.

Colombians appreciate compassion from foreign colleagues so don’t hesitate to show it.

It would be beneficial if you have a local contact who can introduce you to the Colombians you are to conduct business with as well as pick you up from the airport.

If traveling within Colombia, leave all company logo apparel at home for safety reasons.

Most business people speak English. When presenting materials and documentation, use visual aids as much as possible. It is best to check prior to presenting if a translator is required to avoid causing discomfort.

When forming your negotiation team, take time to select the proper members. Colombians like to build personal relationships with team members, so changing the team members could cause a delay in the negotiation process.

Colombians’ payment ethics are generally good but they have a tendency to be late payers.

Colombians move at a slower pace when it comes to making decisions so be patient.

Everything is negotiable until the contract is signed.