First Business Meeting In Germany
When meeting with German business people for the first time, it is important to inform yourself well about the company and whom you will talk to. A first business meeting in Germany should be well planned and organised beforehand.
German business partners meet you on a professional level. They see you in your role as a representative of your company. Therefore, you should interact in a structured and task-orientated way. Present factual based information and written materials which are highly valued.
In general, the business attire in Germany is neat, conservative understated and formal. You should not dress casually or sloppy. Businessmen should wear dark coloured, business suits, plain ties and white or light shirts. Businesswomen should dress conservatively as well and refrain from wearing heavy make-up and flashy jewellery or accessories.
The business dress code is observed even in hot weather. Do not remove your jacket or tie unless you have asked for permisson to do so or your German business partnr does so.
In German business culture business cards will be handed over at the beginning of a meeting. They have a functional significance and inform about the name and the academic title of a person, their position in the company and contact details. The title (Dr. / Prof.) is important insofar as it is common courtesy to address someon with it if applicable. (Hello, Dr. Meyer / Prof. Meyer!)
A product presentation should be well structured, well prepared and underpinned by data, facts and figures. A good presentation goes together with clearly structured, detailed written material. Again, data, facts and figures are particularly important.
The relationship between business partners is established mainly on the factual level. For Germans, it is important to develop a professional basis of trust. This means on the one hand to demonstrate expertise by detailed knowledge. On the other hand, it means to plan operations and to work along this plan stept by step.
Getting to know each other on a personal or private level is less important than a friendly execution of business processes. Doing business does not depend on the quality of the personal relationship.
Between German business partners, it is important to maintain contact on the factual level.
It is not so much about contacting each other regularly in a given period. It is about the flow of information in order to share on-topic news and to keep each other updated e. g. on tasks that have been accomplished.
Therefore, it may well be that you do not hear anything from your German business partners for a longer time because everything is going according to plan and thus there is nothing to discuss.
A personal relationship beyond the factual level is possible but never expected.
In Germany, it is rather unusual to receive or give gifts to business partners. More common are small giveaways with the imprinted logo of the company.