While doing business in Europe it is extremely important to be aware of the cross-culture differences. Bearing in mind the cultural influences of a country are crucial for the success of your business. Are you planning to start out a new venture in Italy? Are you apprehensive about getting along with your clients in Italy?
Well here is a list of things to keep in mind to do business the Italian way:
1.Good manners and politesse are held in high regard in Italy. They prefer to deal with people who are polished but not uptight. So it is important to maintain some distance while having a professional conversation, but at the same time it is vital to be courteous. Too much resistance may be perceived as a sign of snooty or cold behavior.
2.Make sure to shake hands at the commencement and at the end of all rendezvous, this implies for group meetings as well. Italians are warm people; so dont be surprised if the greeting switches from a handshake to an embrace after a while. In fact, treat it as a positive sign; it indicates that their comfort level has gone up.
3.Remember that Italy is one of the most fashionable countries in the world. Home to some of the most coveted fashion labels, this place is about looking stylish and being well-dressed. So unpolished shoes and shabby wrinkled shirts are big no-nos.
4.Italians are relaxed most of the times, however, dont be surprised if your client turns up little late for the meeting. And in case you are running late for the meeting, make sure to give them a heads up.
5.With a slightly unconventional approach to doing business, Italians believe in combining business with pleasure. So inviting your clients for lunch or dinner is a good idea. You can take the consent of your senior client, as to who all should be invited for the meal. And by all means, do not decline any invitations; it is a great chance to network and expand your business.
6.If you happen to have any other clients in Italy, you can use your networking skills to introducing yourself; it builds the trust factor. Also, refrain from fixing any meetings between noon to 2pm, as Italians like enjoying their meal at leisure.
7.While trying to break the ice during the first few minutes of the meeting, take a relaxed approach. Dont just get down to business instead talk about casual stuff like Italian food, culture, etc. When you submit your proposal make sure to give as much information about the company and your services as possible.
8.Give the potential client time to go through the proposal. Stay in touch but dont be too pushy, as that can be viewed as rudeness.
Understanding cross-culture differences will take you a long way in doing business in Italy, and help you and your business expand and succeed tremendously.
So are you ready to do an Italian Job?