Friday, 06 April 2018 10:20

How to do business with executives in Mexico

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-What we learned by living and doing business with Mexican decision makers-

Mexico has one of the most iconic cultures in the world and one of the most complex to do business. Besides its well-known gastronomy, the marvelous tequila and traditional mariachi music that with any doubt contribute to support the fact that is top in the Rank of Heritage in Latin America, Mexico is also unique in the way companies and executives make business decisions. In the past 12 years doing business in Latin America I have participated in several conversations with other executives about the Mexico uniqueness in the way they make decisions. These are some notes prepared to document the Mexican way to decision making process that will provide some clues to succeed doing business with the second economy of the region.

Decision Making Facts
Trust, Doing business with whom. (Doing business with their “Cuates”) Mexicans are more willing to do business with his close friends and decision making is more driven by whom compared to other countries where features, benefits or facts are relatively more relevant. Trust is always a key factor in negotiation, but in Mexico is top of the ranking.

  • Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, since trust is driven by to whom Mexicans prefer to do business, it is also important to highlight that uncertainty is something that Mexicans normally avoid. That is why compared to other countries in Latin America, Mexico is more willing to acquire US products and technology, not only due to its geographic situation, but because of the influence of high marketing investment by traditional brands. Probably they perceived more acquaintances and “Cuates” in the north than in any other part of the world.
  • Orientation to Control. Compared to other countries, Mexicans take more time making decisions. By slowly and methodically making decisions, they feel they can control the outcome. Mexican's feel they have control over their future.
  • Risk Tolerance. Because Mexican's value keeping face to face interactions, they have very low risk tolerance.  Anything ambiguous or foreign to Mexican's will usually be avoided. Nationalism always resonates in Mexican culture.
  • Autocratic or Participative? The traditional Mexican manager is highly perceived as autocratic. However. New generation managers are starting to accept and delegate responsibility and are more open to participation.
  • Objective or. Subjective?  The Mexican culture is more subjective, they tend to make decisions with a high emotional component. It is not uncommon to see emotions over the facts.

The Mexican Negotiator:
A typical Mexican negotiator is highly emotional and sensible to be valued, passionate and highly influenced by hierarchy, sensible to save its own status and to preserve honor and dignity. Sometimes it’s also impulsive and spontaneous in decision making, and very sensible to the win or losses in personal reputation and most of the time is loyal to employer, specifically the boss.

Starting business in Mexico:
If you are about to start doing business with Mexico and you are preparing your first meeting it is important to understand that probably in the initial meeting with Mexican decision makers going straight to the matter of the business is not always recommended. Start gaining some rapport talking about family, hobbies, entertainment which appeal to their culture might me a good idea, better if there are some emotions involved with high nationalism. Gaining trust by giving first specifically in regards of personal benefits and how the status and reputation will be impacted is key to include in the offer instead of traditional approaches might be another key factor. You also need to understand that negotiations will take some time and eventually more levels in the decision-making process should be added. Since in Mexico hierarchy and status oriented is extremely important you also need to be patient and be sure that you understand well how the decision-making process flows within the organizations. Finally, this complexity also has paybacks, when you are part of the circle and you gain their trust, you can assure long term relationships. You ended up as one of their “cuates” and the fact you gain their trust will reward their loyalty for many years.


Read 6913 times Last modified on Monday, 23 April 2018 22:54
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