France is a market of 67,5 million consumers, with a high purchasing power and a tendency to moderate but regular growth. In addition, according to the World Bank, France ranks 29th in the world in terms of ease of starting a business in your country, but is it easy to negotiate with French companies? Getting used to the work habits of the French can be difficult, so being aware of cultural differences is essential when it comes to easily expanding abroad. In particular, the following cultural features should be taken into account when doing business in France:
1. DO BUSINESS IN FRANCE: BE FORMAL IN NEGOTIATIONS
Compared to other countries, France has a very formal style when it comes to negotiating, so it is important to take into account the first contact, the negotiation protocol, the language, the strategy to be carried out, the dress code, others.
2. FIRST CONTACT
When arranging a meeting it is advisable to do it well in advance, preferably two months, avoiding the months of July and August, which is when they usually take vacations. Appointments are usually scheduled between 9 in the morning and 7 in the evening.
On the other hand, in order to attract attention and be well received, a good documentation must be prepared, providing detailed information about the company, the products and a clear statement about the objectives of the meeting. At the moment of introducing yourself, start by saying “Enchanté” (enchanted), then your name and surname.
3. BE PATIENT
The negotiation is usually slow, so it is advisable to be patient.
It is important to negotiate with the right person because they do not usually make concessions quickly and tend to reformulate their position until they are persuaded, therefore, for important issues, it is suggested to negotiate directly with the top executive. In addition, personal questions should not be asked or treated as confidential matters, for example: business figures, salaries and competitors, among other aspects. The price is the last thing that is negotiated, they do not feel comfortable talking about money.
4. AVOID A FRIENDLY ATTITUDE
You should avoid showing too friendly an attitude towards them because they are very clear when it comes to separating personal relationships with professionals. That is why the greeting should be done with a classic handshake, although when greeting a woman it is preferable to wait for her to offer her hand first. The famous “le bise” are reserved for a social environment.
5. COMMUNICATE IN FRENCH
For any commercial or contractual relationship, it must be taken into account that they are very strict with their language, they have not adopted the Anglo-Saxon business terminology, so it is preferable to speak in French rather than in English or Spanish. However, if you do not have full command of French, it is convenient to apologize for it and continue in English.
6. CHOOSE THE CLOTHING WELL
The dress code is another factor to take into account and not less important. To do this, choose an elegant and sober attire: it is considered that the dress reflects success and social status. Have good taste, be elegant and conservative.
7. SECTORS TO INVEST
The most interesting sectors for investment are construction, real estate development, retail and distribution networks, agri-food products, renewable energy, urban services and design.