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Business Culture in Brazil and Etiquette

All you need to know

Business culture in Brazil can be quite unfamiliar in some ways for Americans or europeans. Therefore, today we’ll present you a guide to facilitate your journey, letting you understand all the peculiarities that make Brazil such an interesting place to make business in.

Brazil’s Frame of Mind

Brazilian are quite fond of outsiders. Different from more culturally conservative or isolated countries, Brazilians are friendly to foreigners even though it can be challenging to find a decision maker who speaks English fluently in all organizations.

Being used to making due with what they have, if they can’t find the words to express their ideas, Brazilians will use all kinds of visual resources to make themselves understood.

That willingness to break language barriers is always followed by a wish to host and make their guests feel at home. 

Smiling and laughing, strong hand shakes or even hugs, can be interpreted as an expression of welcome, which is not, in any way, seen as unprofessional.

It’s important to keep in mind that you, as a guest, are being treated as a friend so, even if the experience can be a little bit overwhelming, if Brazilians seem to be loud or invade your personal space, remember that they are trying to do their best to make you feel at home.

Brazilian Business Etiquette

Since we are trying to give you the ropes of Brazilian culture, the first thing you need to understand is that they are not usually punctual in the American or European standard.

Meetings can start between 5-10 minutes late and can also go overtime. Last minute reschedules can happen.

Common hours tend to be from 8 a.m. to 6pm. It’s considered rude to call outside of business hours or at lunch time, which by the way usually lasts for up to 2 hours.

Business people as a whole tend to not wear ties, it’s a tropical country after all. The wardrobe is mostly business casual, especially in the tech industry.

Being too strict on delays or other cultural differences can be perceived as offensive. 

There is an expression in Brazil called “nariz empinado” (“upwords nose”) that represents a person that thinks less of the common people. 

Brazilians really tend to dislike being told that their culture is lax or unstructured. They generally dislike if somebody speaks negatively about Brazil, even though they themselves might do it quite so often. 

Leisure is something quite common in our culture. Meetings in bars and restaurants are to be expected. 

In Brazil it’s rare for someone to pay for everybody’s lunch. Usually each one of the participants pays for their tap or the company can pay as an expense.

We also don’t tip. Tips are usually already added as the service fee of 10-20% depending on the establishment.

Sales in Brazil

As we explained before, Brazilians can be warm and receptive to foreigners, but usually those interactions are made in person though.

Cold contact and sales calls on the other hand are one of the most annoying experiences for anyone in Brazil.

Telemarketing and email spam are such a popular sales strategy that nowadays nobody actually picks up the phone or reads any email from an unknown sender.

Brazilians in general are distrustful of salespeople. We are used to getting scam calls and unwanted messages all the time, so we usually don’t answer at all.

It’s important for any salesperson to build trust through authority and networking.

Business through recommendation and social proof are paramount to establish new businesses in Brazil. Keep that in mind.

On channels, if you do not use Whatsapp right, you should really reconsider, because it’s the most popular means of communication in Brazil right now.

Video calls on Zoom or Google Meet are quite common so you can have all the remote meetings you’ll like.

Negotiating in Brazil

Brazilian higher ups tend to like to negotiate directly CEO to CEO or in an equal hierarchy.

On Negotiating, the Brazilian way is to try to come up with a personalized offer for their needs, cutting pricing based on the features that they don’t want or will not use.

On sale calls you’ll see situations where they will try to cut corners from the offer, taking out what they don’t want and coming up with a new price based only on what they would like to be offered.

Related to purchases and business transactions as a whole: there are not a lot of differences outside of how you will charge.

Brazilians tend to prefer to pay in local currency avoiding unnecessary taxes and fees. Any cost cuts are welcome and they tend to negotiate pricing.

Talking about better pricing, at CambioReal we do offer a solution for companies in the US that wish to make business transactions in Brazil.

If you wish to offer better prices to your Brazilian customers you should really consider checking out our solution for local payments.

Our tech will allow your business in the US to have seamless payments flow bank to bank from Brazil to the US offering less fees and taxes.  

Also, it’s 100% free. There is no subscription fee, no onboarding fee, no nothing.

This will bring the perfect synergy that you’re looking for when starting new businesses in Brazil. 

If you want to learn more about how you can offer local payments and Brazilian Portuguese support to your customers, feel free to access our website here.

Hire in Brazil, Pay in the US Money on the brazilian bank account within 1 business day. Only U$3,99 per transaction. Zero international fee.

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