Looking to set up a new business in Portugal? Our business etiquette insights can help establish good relations with your Portuguese colleagues:
a) Portugal is a hierarchical society with rank being very important. People respect authority and look to those above them for guidance and decision-making and treat seniors with the due respect. It is therefore important to know who you are dealing with and their position. Always be polite and gracious when meeting people. Expect to invest a great deal of time in developing relationships as this is seen as key to successful business.
b) Communication style is formal and relies on strict rules of protocol. Appointments are mandatory and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance, with reconfirmation a few days in advance. Always arrive on time as punctuality is seen as respectful and do not get irritated if you are kept waiting. Agendas serve as more of discussion points rather than schedules. The Portuguese are very thorough and detail-oriented so make sure any presentation is well thought-out, comprehensive, and backed up with charts and figures, preferably in English and Portuguese.
c) Business is conducted slowly so you must be prepared to wait and be patient. The highest-ranking person in the company will make the final decision. Do not use high-pressure sales tactics as the Portuguese get offended by such behavior. They place great emphasis on negotiating with people, not companies, and prefer to do business for the long-term. Do not make any changes to your negotiating team during the process or you may have to start over from the beginning. Once a contract is concluded, it is respected.