When you are doing business negotiation in a country you are not familiar with, it is wise to know and understand the values held by its people and how they do business. Of course, this also applies when you do business negotiation in Saudi Arabia.
To give you an idea of how you should negotiate with your Saudi counterpart, below we give you some basic guidelines in doing business negotiations in Saudi Arabia.
The first and foremost thing you need to keep in mind when negotiating in Saudi Arabia is to build trust. If your Saudi counterpart doesn’t trust you, the negotiation is unlikely to be fruitful.
Also, before you build a professional relationship with your Saudi counterpart, you must first build a personal one. Before any negotiation, invest time to get to know your business partner and build trust. Show an interest in getting to know them.
Never make an impression that you are just interested in the business only when you are negotiating in Saudi Arabia.
Always Be Respectful
Honor and reputation are important aspects of Saudi culture. This is why being respectful is important. When you do negotiate with your Saudi counterpart, you must protect their honor.
For example, by giving your Saudi counterpart time to finish what they are saying and not talking over them, by not disagreeing publicly with them, and if you have an issue with what they say, discuss the matter in a way that doesn’t put blame on anyone.
Another way to show respect to your Saudi counterpart is by sending a gift as it is a central part of Arab culture.
Business Negotiation in Saudi Arabia Involves High Context Communication
In Saudi Arabia culture, communication is done not just through words but also nonverbal languages and body language. Nonverbal languages, such as facial cues, tone of voice, and even silence mean a lot.
For example, silence is usually used for contemplation. When you negotiate with your Saudi counterpart and there is a moment of silence, don’t feel obliged to speak. Rather, give your Saudi counterpart the time to contemplate. In Saudi Arabia, it is a normal part of business negotiations.
Intermediaries Are Common
There might be a conflict between the negotiating parties. When this happens, you should bring an intermediary that you and your Saudi counterpart know and trust.
The intermediary will then serve as a broker between the two of you, doing it in a way that both sides can reconcile and benefit from.
Don’t Take Offence
You might hear your Saudi counterpart raise their voice during the negotiation. You should not take offense at this, however. In Saudi negotiation culture, this is a way to show commitment and passion to the proceedings.
When Saudis raise their voice during a negotiation, they are not intending to disrespect you. So, maintain a calm, pleasant, and friendly demeanor.
When it comes to business negotiation in Saudi Arabia, knowing and understanding the values held by Saudis and how Saudis do business will improve the likelihood of the negotiation to succeed.
In Saudi Arabia, you build a personal relationship first before you can build a professional one. In addition, you also need to learn things related to the Saudi Market Strategy. This is done to simplify your business plan in Saudi Arabia.
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