Global Leadership Blog

Cross Cultural Business Success with the Latino Community

1 in 6 people in the United States is of Latino origin and they are the fastest growing cultural group. It is estimated that by 2050, 29% of the population will be Latino. Further, 1 in 10 businesses are Latino-owned and in addition to opening new businesses and creating more jobs, Latinos contributed more than $1 trillion to our economy in 2010. They are the youngest ethnic group in America and given 87% value higher education, Latinos make the ideal talent pool for firms today. And that’s not all, Latin America is one of the largest cross cultural investment and expansion locations for American businesses and provides the largest global workforce outside the U.S.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month that took place in the United States in September, promoting cultural awareness and cultural differences,ucc I’d like to pass on some advice about how to best do cross cultural business successfully with the Latino community. Firstly, it’s important to understand that Hispanic culture makes up many divers cultural backgrounds so one should try to seek specific information about each country, culture and society individually. For example, someone from Argentina won’t behave the same way nor have the same expectations as someone from Mexico. However, there are some common cultural tendencies that are best practices for doing business with Latinos around the world today.

Jesus Jaramillo, a financial advisor with the Principal Financial Group, and an active member at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce says, “You have to get known within the community, you just can’t show up the first time and expect business to come your way.” Additionally he adds, “You have to build relationships, thereby building trust. And if you plan to do business with someone who’s first language is Spanish, it helps if you speak Spanish.”

So how do you build cross cultural relationships and get known within the Latino/Hispanic community? The following best practices seem simple, yet hard to do in the heat of the moment. Patience is key…

1) Relationships are built on personal connections so get third-party introductions and share contacts in common.

2) Don’t move too quickly to your business goals or tasks, take time to get to know the person first.

3) Share personal information with your counterpart, family, hobbies, and life experiences are great small talk topics to build relationships.

4) Stay away from politics or controversial subjects, keep it friendly and light until trust is built.

5) Invest time in understanding their cultural and personal background. Better yet, come prepared with some knowledge about the country your counterpart’s from.

6) Learn a few words of Spanish (or Portuguese), it shows you’re making an effort. More meaningful than you think.

7) Praise business success, invest time in celebrating your counterparts efforts.

For more on how to be successful in Latin America, contact: *protected email*

Melissa Lamson

About The Author

Melissa Lamson, Founder and President of Lamson Consulting, is an author, consultant, and speaker who accelerates the business expansion goals of today’s most successful companies by developing global mindset, refining leadership skills, and bridging cross cultural communication.
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