November 21, 2016:
Looking to set up a new business in Italy? Our business etiquette insights can help establish good relations with your Italian colleagues:
a) Italians are relationship-oriented and usually prefer to establish direct relationships, even on a superficial basis, before business is started in any way. A reciprocal climate of trust and respect is just as important as exchanging information on any business dealings, so take the opportunity to make contact with your Italian colleagues as early as possible.
b) Written communication is preferred as a first approach, rather than verbal, least of all to overcome any possible language barriers. This paves the way for any subsequent phone call or visit. Ideally, an introduction by someone already within the company you are contacting would be very useful, otherwise you should address your phone call to your contact’s secretary. Meetings in Italy are usually held after 10.00am or in the early afternoon, e.g. 3.00pm.
c) Business dress should be formal and smart as Italians consider visual appearance very important. Be prepared for lengthy negotiations as Italians tend to make careful evaluations of any advantages and risks involved. Sudden changes in negotiations are not uncommon and remember that Italians place importance on any verbal commitments so the final contract will be based on any previous informal agreements. Due to their rigid hierarchical structure, final decisions are centralized and taken by the chairman.
Are you considering doing business in Italy? Send a message today to Asinta Partner in Italy, De Besi-Di Giacomo to get all of your questions regarding employee benefits answered. You can send your message here.