How to Work with Germans
3 min read
Cultural differences may stay in a way of closing deals, resolving issues, and, after all, positive cooperating at the international level. After completing several projects for German clients, we have defined some aspects that you need to consider to find common ground and be on the same page with your German business partner.
1. Separating Business and Private Life
Cultural books and websites bring out that Germans strictly separate business and private life. We have learnt at first hand that this is quite true. If you are going to a bar with Germans, don’t expect to discuss the remaining business questions there. After work, you should only talk about life and shy away from business issues.
Germans are serious about keeping a distance, especially during negotiations. The distance will become shorter with time, and after signing a contract during subsequent visits, Germans are usually more relaxed. But still – keep business talks for business hours, out of office talk about international travel, sports, or hobbies.
2. Be Prepared
It’s a part of German culture to prepare for a meeting, for negotiations, for everything. Germans often respond on Sunday night to letters sent to them on Friday night or on Saturday. It doesn’t mean that it’s ok to work during weekend. That’s just because it is customary to prepare to Monday too.
3. Friday is a Full-Time Working Day
Having many clients in Sweden, we’ve got used to a short Friday. Don’t carry this practice to Germans. For them, Friday is usually a long and hard day. Everybody tries to get things done and leave for the weekend feeling accomplished. A lot of work, letters, and calls.
4. Go an Extra Mile
Germans can ask a vendor or a candidate to be creative. However, every company and person can pursue different aims with this request. For example, the purpose may be just to check your reaction. In response to such request, it is desirable to make a beautiful, unexpected, pleasant for the client gesture. What’s important for Germans is quality and improvements. As a rule, they are looking for a partner ready to go an extra mile for a client. Any steps that demonstrate it increase your chances to get a client.
5. Quality First
Don’t try to offer a lower price at the expense of quality loss. Usually, German companies are willing to pay for good quality rather than cut the price.Moreover, if you are a vendor for a German company and it rises to a higher level and increases their services or products quality, you need to do the same. Evolve with your customer.
6. Be a Partner
Germans rarely look for a workbench, instead they are looking for a partner. So, be a partner and be open. Never lie or hide business information. If you see risks, including risks at client’s side, inform the client about them.
You may need some extra effort to understand German values and ways of conducting business, but after all you will not be disappointed. I’m sure you will be happy to find the values important for Germans in your business partner: professionalism, punctuality, fairness, and loyalty.
Sigma Software works with clients in many countries. Our managers and directors need to speak a common language with all of them. Sometimes, understanding the conduct of business rules in a particular country may take some time, so our experts who know the ropes in international communications, share their findings in the field of international communications to save you time. Today, we’ve offered some advice in working for Germans, more articles with tips about other countries to come.
Anatoliy joined Sigma Software in 2008 and went all the way up the career ladder having tested all positions from a software developer, a team lead, a project manager and a department manager to a delivery director. His productivity and drivenness are sensational.