Making contacts and scheduling appointments in Venezuela
In order to do business with a Venezuelan company, it is important to know their way of making contacts and scheduling appointments. Make sure you collect enough information about the country, the language, the company and the person you want to do business with before contacting the person.
Just as in most other Latin American countries, personal relationships take precedence over business relationships. Venezuelans tend to find it important to do business with people they trust, so the best way to make contacts in Venezuela is to know people who know people there. Senior positions in companies in Venezuela are mostly held by people in the upper class. Since they are the decision makers, it is important that you contact the person with a high rank and gain her/his trust.
Venezuelans prefer the most personal way of making contact. E-mailing a company will probably not get you any further in the process of doing business with them. Making a phone call where you present yourself in a favorable way because you appreciate their personal values might set you up with a serious business meeting in Venezuela. They will generally give you one chance to make a first impression.
Going to Venezuela is a must if you want to actually do business with a company there. But when do you schedule an appointment with them? Since more than 90% of the population is Catholic in Venezuela, it is difficult to plan meetings during Christmas, Carnival, Easter and other religious holidays. Also avoid making appointments on Fridays, because Venezuelan businesspeople like to take off work early for the weekend.
In their eyes, an appointment is used to discuss things, to share ideas and to start building a relationship by getting to know the other person better. It will probably take multiple meetings before you can really start doing business with these hospitable people. Most meetings will take place in the morning and you are likely to end up having lunch together. During a lunch meeting it is allowed to talk about work, however it is not common to talk about business during dinner.