Filipinos are proud of their multi-racial heritage. However, it would be best to be cautious in conducting businesses in this Southeast Asian country, as the etiquette here differs from that found in western countries. For instance, as opposed to westerners’ direct business manners, Filipinos prefer a business environment that is highly personalized. It is very important to establish a cordial and cheerful atmosphere so that you will be able to negotiate well and get the result that you are aiming for.
Learn how to exchange pleasantries, share a joke or two and talk about mutual friends and family members will surely put you on their good side. Foreigners that know how to adapt to this cultural practice will surely have an advantage. For Filipinos, cultivating friends, establishing valuable contacts, and developing personal rapports are some of the things that make the business wheels turn.
For instance, in order to break through and set an appointment successfully, it is a common practice in the Philippines to use a middle man to help you win the business deal that you are targeting. The Philippines even have a matchmaking program that foreign companies can employ to be able to penetrate the market. Business meetings are usually arranged personally over the phone and confirmed by the secretary. It is best to set the time of the meeting during mid-mornings and afternoons. It is also advisable to conduct a follow-up call the day before the scheduled meeting. During initial meetings, it is only normal to wait for about 15 minutes before your Filipino contact arrives; very important persons or VIPs sometimes arrive a bit later. In the Philippines, the person who set the meeting customarily shells out for the expenses incurred during the meeting. The business partner, though, refrains from choosing the most expensive items on the menu unless the host insisted otherwise.
To be continued…