Doing Business in Argentina

argentina flagFor an international business person or business traveller, doing business in foreign countries brings with it cross cultural challenges. Understanding a country's business culture, protocol and etiquette is important in establishing good business relationships.

This guide to doing business in Argentina offers some introductory points to some of the above mentioned areas such as business culture and etiquette. It is not intended to summarise all 'doing business tips' nor meant to stereotype. Rather, it highlights some important key areas for consideration when doing business in Argentina.

Doing Business - Making Appointments

Like the Europeans, in Argentina the dates are written with the day first, then the month and then the year, i.e. January 1st 2005 is 1/1/2005. It is important to make appointments to see prospective clients through a third party, an enchufado. The enchufado acts as a middle man with contacts within an industry. Doing business in Argentina involves building up a relationship and establishing trust so it is unwise to consider it acceptable to approach companies directly.

Doing Business - Meeting & Greeting

The most common form of greeting between business personnel is a handshake and slight nod of the head. This is applicable to both men and women. Once a relationship has been built to the point of friendship hugs, kisses and slapped backs will become the norm.

Doing Business - Titles

Doing business in Argentina ultimately means using some Spanish. Most people you meet in a business capacity should be greeted with their title followed by the surname. If you do not know of their professional titles then use Mr, Mrs or Miss - Senor, Senora or Senorita. Common professional titles are Doctor, teacher, engineer or lawyer -  Doctor, professor, Ingeniero or abogado.

Doing Business - Meetings & Negotiations

Establishing trust and mutual benefit oils the wheels when doing business in Argentina. Patience is key to ensuring success as it can often take several trips to the country to finalise any deal. Business is slow due to the several layers of decision making combined with masses of red-tape.

You should approach business meetings and negotiations as both a potential business partner and a friend. Always engage in small talk until the topic of conversation changes to business. Do not be put off if phone calls are taken during a meeting - this is not meant to be rude. Avoid any high pressure sales tactics.

 If your company suddenly changes the representative dealing with Argentina, then expect to go back to square one, as a new relationship will have to be established.

Doing Business - Cultural Notes

Body language conveys a lot in Argentina. Try and maintain eye contact even if it feels uncomfortable. Avoid placing your hands on your hips when speaking - this usually means you are angry. It is good etiquette to cover your mouth when yawning or coughing. If you see someone tapping their middle finger against the thumb this means 'hurry up'.

Doing Business in Argentina

The above examples point to a few areas one must take into consideration when doing business in Argentina. Such tips are meant as a safety-net for those doing business there to help avoid misunderstandings and promote better communication.

Business Culture Guides

We offer free guides to doing business in many countries. Please visit Business Culture Guides for a full list.

If interested in some formal training, have a look at our cultural awareness course on Argentina.