Mexico has a culture that embraces and enjoys negotiations. From the schoolyard to the local markets to the executive boardrooms, negotiations are an important part of everyday life for Mexican citizens.
Mexican business people are good negotiators and enjoy the process.
You can expect tough negotiations if you are doing business in Mexico. Tough negotiations in the sense that they will question everything, and spend a great deal of time trying to get you to accept their point of view or conditions. The arguments may be based on emotions or facts, or both.
You should always come into the negotiation very well prepared. Know what you want, and have the evidence to support your claim. Your arguments, supported by facts, will be heard and processed by your Mexican counterparts. If facts are presented that are new, take the time to verify the information and sources before you reach a conclusion.
Negotiations in Mexico can be compared to the first round of a sporting event, both sides desire to “win”, but rarely do they burst onto the field with all their energy in the first 5 minutes. The process of “feeling out” the opponent, observing their strengths and weaknesses, are critical to understanding how to develop a winning strategy and understanding what you are up against.
Mexicans are often seeking a long term, stable relationship with suppliers and clients. Focus your negotiations and decisions on creating a long term business relationship and strategy with your Mexican counterpart.
Your ability to negotiate will be a reflection of your company, your character, and your abilities as a business person. Take your time, don’t get emotional, support your arguments with facts, and be consistent with your demands or desires over time. The negotiation process is helping to build trust and credibility, it’s important to build solid foundations for your future relationship.
Don’t be in a hurry to end the negotiations. The Mexican culture is more permissive about time and deadlines than you find in USA or Europe. If you are in a rush, you will lose important negotiating power.
Always start your negotiation with some margin and leeway. It will always to be to your advantage to “give” a little before the negotiations are over. It may take 4 hours for you to “give in”, but the gesture will be seen as your willingness to do business and enough for the negotiator to claim a little victory. Everyone wins.
Write down your final agreement, and the results of your negotiations and have both sides sign and retain a copy. This simple step will avoid any language, communication or interpretation problems that may develop in the future.
Meeting People in Mexico – kiss, shake hands or hug
Before you go on a business trip to Mexico
How to do business in Mexico, parts 1 – 28
16 Essential Questions – International Business Traveller’s Quiz