10 Key points for successful negotiations in Brazil

by Sonia Mella

Doing business with Brazil is, without a doubt, the goal of many businessmen and corporations around the world. Therefore, it is good that you become familiar with some of the features which are part of the Brazilian cultural business behavior.

Here are ten things you should consider if you are planning on engaging in business with the South American giant.


For Brazilians, it is important to get to know the person with whom they are going to be negotiating. They do not go straight to the heart of the commercial issue in question. Therefore, they have great appreciation for personal relationships and, in general, they do not enter into agreements until they have met the person involved in the negotiation process.


During conversation, you must make sure your partners understand that you don’t consider the essence of Brazil to be the typical stereotypes, such as football, exotic beaches and beautiful women. Showing appreciation and interest in other values, such as music, literature, or culture is very good. Remember this. It will be very welcomed by the locals.


To achieve a sound business relationship, you need to remember that, first of all, you are taking part in a human relationship. Bonding and building trust are essential elements to achieve the intended agreements, as these will contribute to transparency, a precious value at the time of doing business.


Do not rely on “Portuñol”. Although it is likely that you will make yourself understood using English, and even Spanish, speaking Portuguese goes a long way, and it will be very much appreciated by the Brazilian businessman. On the other hand, it will allow you to understand Brazilian culture, and to relate with individuals from a different perspective. Remember that language will be one of the pillars upon which you will develop trust and long-term relationships. Submitting any written information accompanied by a matching translation into Portuguese is equally important.


Brazilians have a very warm manner of communication, and they make extensive use of body language. It is common to shake hands for a longer period of time, maintaining eye contact. Show that you feel comfortable with their behavior, and don’t act in a reticent manner. Displaying emotions during communication must be seen as a sign of enthusiasm and emphasis, never as losing control.


Do not limit yourself to the use of e-mails. It is convenient that you follow up on conversations through phone calls or videoconferences. Brazilians are not very fond of the American style of communication, through the exchange of a large number of e-mails. In Brazil, emphasis is placed on oral communication, a format which is more valuable than the written format.


You should know that the hierarchical structure of Brazilian companies is organized vertically, through several chains of command. The person of highest importance in the company -or in the department with which you are negotiating- will be in charge of making the final decision.


You are most likely one of those people who enjoy making presentations which include large amounts of data, charts, etc., but this will not be enough. It is essential that you show confidence and assurance. Sometimes, it may seem like something which is not relevant, but that is not the case. Data itself will not prove too useful if it is not accompanied by these two qualities.


After business meetings, it is likely that you will be invited to a lunch or dinner of traditional Brazilian food. Seize this moment! It is an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with your Brazilian partners. We advise you to keep conversation within the social scope. If you want to deal with any business matters, it is best to wait until coffee is served.


Although it might seem like a minor issue, you should carefully consider the dates when you are planning to go on your business trip to Brazil. Doing a business trip during the carnivals will be more complicated, not only to schedule your agenda, but also to book flights, hotels, etc. In general, it is useful to know any other holidays in Brazil, especially when you are expecting, or must make, any phone calls, or send any kind of report by e-mail.

Remember than in any project you are approaching, the important thing is to take solid steps, rather than quick ones. For years, Go Global’s team has been immersed in the Brazilian corporate culture, and its extensive expertise will help you implement all of your business stages more efficiently in Brazil. Would you like to know more about how we can help you? Please contact us here.

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