Hola! Mexico Business Etiquette. Part 1

U.S.-based businesses have a major opportunity to conduct business with Mexican partners, especially in light of joint free trade agreements. On the whole, Mexicans have a low tolerance for uncertainty. Personal connections are the key, as they reduce the uncertainty of who you are and how you will be as a business partner.

If you have no such connection you will need to develop one with an intermediary who is well known to your “target” business. This person will introduce you and bring you into the circle of trust and respect that is necessary for foreigners doing business in Mexico. However, this isn’t to say that business meetings will adhere to a rigid protocol.

Dress code

Think polished, classic, and conservative when dressing for a business meeting in Mexico. Tailored suits in black, grey or navy with white or light colored long sleeve shirts will reflect the importance you place on the meeting. For women – again, think polished…classic tailored looks in black, grey or navy.

These rules are relaxed somewhat if your client is near the beach or in a very hot part of Mexico such as Acapulco. There, smart informal rules the day, but no flip flops! Feet should be covered.

Body language while meeting

In Mexico, there is a lot of emphasis given to the body language you display and this is directly proportional to the probability of you closing the deal, or missing the boat by a mile. Physical contact is a must and people who stand at a distance are always looked at with a skeptical eye.

Meeting Men: A single quick firm hand shake shows you to be friendly and businesslike. However, if your Mexican counterpart tugs at your hand while you shake his, you should move forward and put your arm around his shoulder and give him a couple of pats on the back. While this is a greeting style more common among friends, it can be used as a gesture showing trust and openness. The most important point is that you need to read the signals properly. If you are a woman meeting a man, men will wait for you to offer the handshake and if you lean forward a bit, you will receive a kiss on your cheek

In the next post you”ll learn how to treat women. Hope you have found it interesting. Good luck!