When it comes to establishing a new business relationship, you must respect the culture and etiquette of the person you’re trying to impress.
So, from first impressions to sealing the deal, here’s the best advice for working with German business people:
Workplace attire in Germany is generally conservative and neat. Although differing dress codes depend on the type of business you’re dealing with, if you’re unsure, play it safe by opting for formal business attire.
Punctuality and Efficiency
Being on time and organised is a sure way to impress your German counterpart. Turning up even a fraction too late will seem like a snub to your client. So set your alarm and leave plenty of time to get there.
A firm handshake and eye contact are essential for making your German friend feel welcome and respected. Keep the handshake short and greet everyone in the meeting upon your arrival. This works wonders for giving off a warm, friendly vibe.
Respect the Hierarchy
Always follow the chain of command when making workplace or business decisions.
If you have questions, always refer to your manager or your designated point of contact who, if necessary, will then move it up to a more senior level. Undermining anyone by going above them is considered exceptionally rude and must be avoided at all costs.
Be the Tortoise, Not the Hare
Work is expected to be accurate and if this means pushing back the deadline, then so be it.
It’s better to have thoroughly researched your project than to present an inaccurate and sloppy report. Keep your team in the loop and adjust meetings accordingly.
Always include a person’s title, surname and qualifications when addressing a German businessperson in writing, and use their title and surname when addressing them in person.
Getting this right, while simple is incredibly effective for establishing a good business relationship with your German contact.
Rules and Regulations
Sticking to the rules ensures everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and therefore assists individuals with planning their own schedules. Business culture in Germany maintains firm boundaries between colleagues, and thus adhering to procedures is the best way to ensure an organised business life.
German business regulations reflect the structure and expectations of their employees and potential business partners. So take note, there isn’t any room for flexibility or spontaneous thinking. I.e., there’s no Whatsapping last-minute ideas or changes, this would seem incredibly unprofessional.
Reduce Language Barriers
While most German-speakers put us to shame with their extensive knowledge of the English language, making an effort to learn German, even conversationally, will please your German contact.
It’s one of the easiest things you can do to show them respect. The language of business may be our native tongue. Still, relationships are built on equality, so get out your Rosetta Stone and impress your guest!
And there you have it, our tips on nurturing good relationships with German business contacts. So, all that’s left for us to say is good luck and Auf Wiedersehen!
To learn more, get in touch with us today.