Guide to Build Long Distance Business Relationships in Brazil
We are addressing the challenges faced by inside sales people that are located outside Brazil, don't speak Portuguese and are responsible for the companies activities in Brazil.
Are you currently desperately searching the web for quick tips about how to close your sales target this month? You might be better off stop reading now. This guide aims to put you in a position where you can establish meaningful retaliations with Brazilian business professionals.
How to Find an Interesting Brazilian
With 195 million people that mostly speak Portuguese between themselves, it can seem very difficult to find an interesting Brazilian to establish a professional relationship with.
You will have to crack the shield and find the first Brazilians who speak English and that are active in your industry that later can refer you to new people.
Start online, many Brazilian business people use online services like:
When you have found a Brazilian that you would like to contact use a bit of time to find background information about the person. Maybe you can find some common ground to establish a dialog.
Don't pitch the obvious
So when you are ready to contact your targeted Brazilian for the first time it's important not to fall into the classic pitfalls.
Do not pitch obvious information that Brazilians hear on a daily basis. It might be that you or your company just discovered Brazil and you might be very enthusiastic about the Brazilian market, but Brazilians have been aware of the magnitude of their local market for quite a while.
This is the first paragraph of a 4382 word e-mail template sent out from a UK company to C-level executives in Brazilian companies.
"Brazil is proving a very attractive market for our product type, with particular emphasis on the growth that our industry has been demonstrating in Brazil over the last 5 years."
Don't waste your pitch on the obvious, this makes you look like another foreign ignorant without any clue about what's actually going on in the Brazilian market.
A Simple Two Step Introduction
Brazilians like to let a business relationship grow rather than getting the full purpose flashed upfront. In the first introduction you should let them know enough to make them curious to interact in a further dialog, this normally should include:
- Who you are and whom do you represent
- What would you like to talk about
Depending on the medium you are using for communication, your first interaction with a Brazilian will have to vary. Twitter has their 140 character limitation, while an e-mail or an InMail in LinkedIn allows you a longer introduction.
Never use phrases like "I just want a couple of minutes of your time" or something similar (please check the meaning). Brazilians don't value being short or effective when communicating. It's rare for phone calls with business contacts to take less than 15 - 30 minutes.
Here is a template that has been used to start dialogs with many Brazilians on behalf of foreign companies:
I’m John Smith, I'm responsible for ABC Company's business development in Brazil. ABC Company are a manufacturer of [product] from France and we have delivered solutions for large organizations like [company], [company].
I found your contact information in the Brazilian Experts group here on LinkedIn and noticed that you have much experience in the [product] industry in Brazil. I wonder if you could spare some time to talk with me about your view of the Brazilian market for [product].
Look forward to hearing from you!
I have not tracked my response rate, but it's more than 75% for sure. In case of Twitter messages, you will have to stay shorter.
@brexpert I have been reading your Tweets and wonder if you could tell me a bit more about your view of the Brazilian market for [product]
It's not necessary to make any introduction on Tweeter, your Bio should hold all the information you want the receiver to know.
Grow you Relationship
Since you are not physically located in Brazil you will have to grow your business relationship over the phone. However, it's important to move from written to spoken communication as quickly as possible.
If you are able to use medium like Skype with webcam it's likely that you will be able to create a more personal relationship and you will be able to benefit from it faster. However, it's uncommon to use webcam in Brazil so if your Brazilian contact refuses the invitation it might be because he feels that communication with webcams are outside his comfort zone.