Make Business Cards
Despite its location, doing business in Argentina sometimes feels more like doing business in Europe. The vast majority of Argentines are of European descent and retain many character traits of their mostly Spanish and Italian ancestors. The official language is Spanish, but it bears only a slight resemblance to what you would hear in Spain as it has a healthy mix of Italian thrown in.
On the whole Argentines are open and direct in their dealings, but can be tactful and diplomatic when they need to be. They are warm and passionate and quite tactile so any visitor should be this in mind as body language plays a large part of communication here. Social interactions are the fabric of their culture. Argentines have networks of family and friends they call on when they need anything. If one does you a favour, expect to be called upon to repay it one day.
Because of this social nature, Argentines do business with people rather than companies. They will want to get to know the visitor and will only do business once a relationship has been established. It is people that get things done in this country, not organizations. Once they get to know you, their loyalty will be to you and not who you represent. If a negotiating team has to change for any reason the proceedings would have to begin anew as the relationships are built with the new members. This can become frustrating, but it is important not to show this in public.
Anyone doing business in Argentina is going to need some Spanish. Although English is widely spoken, it isn’t the language of business there. It is advisable to have a native speaker with you when you go. Greetings are title and surname until invited otherwise. Academic or educational titles are optional.
Having some Latin American blood means there is a real sense of style to the culture. Argentines dress to impress and any visitor should do the same. Stylish but conservative business attire is the norm. Make business cards stylish too, it will add a little extra to the first impression. Cards are normally exchanged after formal greetings then dismissed, there are no special considerations.
When meeting in Argentina, promptness is expected of you, but they may not be prompt themselves. As with Brazil and other places, this isn’t a slight, just the way things are here. Life is frenetic and there is always lots of things going on at once. Don’t be surprised if your host takes calls or does other business while talking to you, there is no strict organization. Don’t get straight down to business. Although they are direct and open, Argentines like to get to know people first. Expect to make small talk before even broaching the subject of business.
The visitor to Argentina should be on fairly familiar ground, as it is very similar to the European way of doing business. Ensuring relationships come before business will result in a much more successful trip and some lifelong friends.