Doing business in Spain

In order to get business with Spaniards up and running, you have to be able to fall back on a comprehensive network. 

123rf.com/Katarzyna Białasiewicz

The Spanish business culture is based on a constant give and take. For foreign business people, this means that doing business in Spain always starts with initiating many new contacts.

Ideally, you meet everyone in person and can present comprehensive references from the Spanish business world. And these references do not only refer to the company you represent, but also to you yourself. Contacts with well-known non-Spanish companies can also open doors. 

At all subsequent meetings, the search for mutual acquaintances is repeated. Only when your network has been fully revealed and is satisfying, your new Spanish business partners will devote themselves to the main topics of the meeting.

References and gut feeling

Besides relying on mutual contacts and personal references, Spanish business people often follow their gut feeling when a new project or collaboration is proposed. However, they also love to show courage and to commit themselves fully to a new idea. It is therefore essential not only to convince through facts and figures, but also to do a good job on a personal or communicative level.

 

Pride and honour

In any business relationship, you should never underestimate the Spanish pride. Spaniards must never see themselves restricted in their freedom of choice. And similar to many Asian cultures, keeping face at all times is also essential. Public criticism or loss of control over one’s own emotions must be avoided at all costs. Spaniards react extremely sensitive when they see their honour threatened. The expression of criticism therefore requires a high degree of sensitivity – and above all a gentle tone.

Nevertheless, modesty is very much appreciated in Spain. Make sure, that you do not appear to be self-opinionated if trying to refer to your know-how. And be aware, that Spaniards may easily give the false impression to be insecure and indecisive because of their modest, often reserved appearance.

So be culture smart in Spain to maintain the right balance between honour, modesty and harmony.

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