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Negotiations In Denmark

Danes are keen on reaching an agreement once negotiations are underway. This is why your Danish partners enter the negotiations with realistic ideas, not with high demands that would have to be renegotiated. They listen in a friendly manner and are willing to cooperate with you as a future contractual partner. It is clear to them that at the end of the day the deal must be of mutual benefit to both sides.

Willingness to cooperate

A willingness to cooperate is one of the most important qualities that you should demonstrate when negotiating contracts in Denmark. This is how Danish society is bred from childhood and it permeates business life as well. Those who are not cooperative cannot succeed. A readiness to cooperate means one thing above all in contract negotiations: flexibility. Therefore, think carefully about any suggestions that are made to you and do not reject any such proposals hastily.

Although the tone during negotiations is always friendly, your Danish counterparts are well aware of the limits at which the deal would no longer be advantageous. “Citronen er presset” (The lemon is squeezed out) is the Danish expression for this state of affairs.

Decision-making

Your Danish business partners will make their decisions as a team and consult with each other. Taking typical situations and the Danish average company as a starting point, you will have to negotiate with the managing director, the export manager or the purchasing manager. You may also meet the head of finance. Export or purchasing managers will be in charge of the proceedings and discuss the matter with the managing director and CFO. In most cases, the decision is a joint one that has been reached in a rational manner.

In many cases, however, Danish companies are so small that the managing director is also the export manager, purchasing manager and head of finance. If so, you only have to deal with one person who will make the final decision.

Contracts

The Danish like to clarify the big picture and are not afraid to leave details unresolved. This is why the average Danish contract is ultimately much shorter than you might expect.

Danes are not inclined to think through all eventualities down to the last detail and pour them into stone in the form of contracts. Instead, they rely on the willingness of both sides to cooperate if something should occur that neither party has foreseen. In such a case, both parties could sit together and find a solution that suits both sides.

In other words, insisting on regulating all eventualities can be absolutely counterproductive. Long and complicated contracts are potentially off-putting for Danish business partners. In extreme cases, it can even cause them to leave the negotiating table. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, the recommendation applies: If you agree to reduce the number of details in the contract, the agreements should be all the clearer.

Excerpt from Business Culture Denmark Compact, Reiner Perau. Courtesy of CONBOOK Verlag

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