Spain Culture of Business

By | July 24, 2022

Subchapters:

  • Introduction
  • Addressing
  • Business Meeting
  • Communication
  • Recommendations
  • Public Holidays

Introduction

The culture of business negotiations in Spain has southern European characteristics. Visit Aparentingblog for more information about Spain culture and traditions.

A personal approach, interpersonal relationships and ideally knowledge of the language (Spanish, for the younger generation English is possible) are important.

In order to establish high-quality business partnerships, it is necessary to take into account the necessity of regular personal negotiations with the partner company.

Addressing

Spanish business relationships are based on a personal approach.

In the beginning, telephone contact is recommended.

Even in the initial correspondence phase, telephone communication should not be neglected.

In order to establish cooperation and sign a contract, it is a good idea to spend time on repeated face-to-face meetings, first in the office, then over lunch in a restaurant.

Although routine matters are handled by e-mail, business relationships emerge from face-to-face meetings. The address begins with the abbreviation for Mr./Mrs. (Seňor/Seňora), followed by the first or both surnames. Spaniards have two surnames – one after the father, the other after the mother (eg Carlos Fuentes García).

Mostly, however, the first name after the first name (Sr. Fuentes) is used in the address. The initial address is always in the form of an exhortation.

In subsequent negotiations and correspondence, only the first name is often used, and in the Czech context, the first name is also used earlier.

This happens spontaneously, not as with us by offering to poke. The company does not suffer from titles, but from social status within the corporate hierarchy.

In particular, high-ranking persons tend to be respected.

The Spanish also have more respect for the elderly.

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Business meeting

It is advisable to request an appointment at least a few days in advance.

The first contact should definitely be made by phone.

The details are then resolved through e-mail communication. However, it is good not to neglect telephone contact before the meeting.

Due to the clearly defined hierarchy in Spanish companies, it must be expected that more representatives of the company will participate in the meeting, both the business partner and his superior.

The Spanish are very tolerant of a well-groomed appearance. Therefore, it is recommended to wear a classic suit with a tie, which will correspond to fashion trends, for a business meeting. Clean, polished shoes are also a matter of course. Attention should also be paid to the haircut, and for women to appropriate make-up.

The Spanish also enjoy wearing fashionable and elegant clothes.

Business cards are handed out at the beginning of the first meeting.

The first meeting usually takes place in the company’s office, but others can already take place in a restaurant over lunch or in a cafe.

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Shops are then closed during business dinners or lunches in the restaurant. As for spending on lunch/dinner, it depends on the nature of the meeting. In most cases, an agreement is made in advance as to who will pay the expenses.

If you want to give gifts at the meeting, choose smaller ones. If you want to gift your partner, we recommend a bottle of quality alcohol.

If your partner gives you a gift, unwrap the gift and express your pleasure. The negotiation team should include a representative of the sales department, ideally a director, as well as at least one technical employee who will be able to present the offered product from a technical point of view.

The age or gender composition of the team in Spain does not matter.

Communication

The Spanish are very communicative and open people. However, they usually behave professionally in business meetings and do not show too much emotion.

Establishing business cooperation often takes a longer time than we are used to. However, if the company succeeds in agreeing cooperation with a local company, it will acquire a reliable and loyal business partner and can count on long-term cooperation.

In business relations, the Spanish prefer clear and concise negotiations. The company representative should always be well prepared for the meeting. After getting to know each other, it goes to the heart of the matter.

At the beginning, a short presentation of the company and its achievements is expected. It is also appropriate to mention the economic positives of the Czech Republic. It is good to argue clearly without unnecessary details and returning to previous topics.

Don’t forget to summarize the content at the end. During the meeting, it is necessary to take into account coffee breaks, during which informal conversations take place.

The most appropriate topic for informal conversation is probably family. You can also talk about hobbies, gastronomy or sports.

When communicating, it is desirable to avoid topics related to politics, separatist tendencies of some regions, faith and other controversial topics.

As far as the issue of time is concerned, working hours in Spain are more relaxed and different from customs in the Czech Republic. The Spanish have a lunch break between 14:00 and 16:30. It is therefore not recommended to call at this time.

However, a lot of things can be resolved during lunch with your partner. Sometimes the lunch break is even longer and can turn into a business dinner. Businesses usually work until the evening hours, workers are available until 7 p.m.

On the contrary, at 8 o’clock in the morning you will rarely find someone in the company. It is advisable to plan a business meeting from 9:00 in the morning at the earliest.

Although the Czechs are prejudiced against the punctuality of the Spaniards, they usually arrive on time for business meetings. A delay of about ten minutes from both sides is tolerated. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on national and regional holidays, during which work is not normally done.

Although English is increasingly penetrating business relations, especially in larger companies, Spanish is still preferred. It is recommended to bring an interpreter with you to the meeting, who can also be recommended by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Madrid.

As for business materials, it is definitely worthwhile to have them prepared in Spanish as well. In general, the smaller the company, the lower the language skills. Even outside centers such as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Bilbao, poorer language skills must be expected.

English is sufficient for the initial e-mail conversation. Most of the upper management can speak English, however, during negotiations, Spaniards feel significantly more comfortable in their native language.

During business meetings in the office, it is not common to serve alcohol, however, during a business lunch or dinner, wine in particular becomes an integral part. Of course, it is necessary to maintain a reasonable measure.

In Spain, it is not customary to invite business partners to your home. The same is not expected from a Czech sales representative.

Most meetings take place in offices, or in less formal environments, in restaurants or cafes.

Recommendation

In addition to the standard lessons for successful business negotiations in the case of Spain, we recommend:

In the Spanish market of almost 47 million people, the middle and lower classes are again growing, increasing the demand for new quality brands at a reasonable price. Given that this is a mature market with a lot of competition, companies that offer innovative, modern, design and at the same time affordable solutions can succeed in particular. Before entering the market, it is always necessary to map it. It is important to present company references to the Spanish partner. The easiest way to penetrate the Spanish market is through a local distributor who has a network of business partners and a complete knowledge of the environment. The company should also pay attention to the choice of its sales representative. When making contact, it pays to invest in a business relationship and use breaks during negotiations for a personal conversation.

As part of business relations with Spanish partners, the diversity of Spanish regions must be kept in mind. The biggest difference between big cities and provinces, as in other countries, lies in the different language facilities.

Traditionally, traders from the regions are less equipped with the language. However, they are more open in negotiations and prefer a personal approach compared to business partners from big cities.

Of course, differences also exist between individual autonomous regions, with a more open approach being promoted in the south rather than the north.

A special chapter is the regions of the Basque Country and Catalonia, where businessmen speak English well and the approach to business cooperation is closest to ours.

Public Holidays

Public holidays in Spain are national and regional.

It is common for holidays that fall on the weekend to be moved to the working week.

National holidays:

  • 1. 1. – New Year
  • 6. 1. – Three Kings – a religious holiday when children are given Christmas presents in Spain
  • 14.-17. 4. 2021 – Easter
  • 1. 5. – Labor Day
  • 15. 8. – Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • 12/10 – Public holiday of the Kingdom of Spain – “Día de la Hispanidad”
  • 1. 11. Feast of All Saints
  • 12/6 – Constitution Day
  • 12/8 – Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
  • 25/12 – Christmas

Working hours: 9 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm

Opening hours: 9:30-10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Attention, there may be lunch breaks between 14:00 and 16:30.

Spain Culture of Business