Business Meetings with Arab companies

Arabian Business and Cultural Guide is a 200+ pages guide for visitors, exporters, and international traders to understand the culture, business culture, and how to do business with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and other Arab countries. Author: Mohammad Al-Sabt.
Sometimes when trying to set up meeting dates with your clients you will find that their answer is something like "Whenever you are in the area give us a call". Don't interpret this as a sign of lack of interest in your business. It is equal to an answer that sets a specific date and time. Remember that business is done differently in that region. I prefer to describe it as a very relaxed and flexible system.

If you will be meeting with the business owner or key decision maker, the hosting company might suggest the afternoon period. The reason for this is that some business owners work in a government office during the morning period and manage their businesses in the afternoon.

Let your clients know in advance that you will be visiting them and ask them to inform you what they might need before the meeting (catalogs, samples, prices, shipping costs, etc.). This way they will have enough time to evaluate the product and you have contributed to speeding up negotiations in an acceptable manner. Once you are meeting with them, it is a very good chance to ask for their feedback. Unless your product is one of a kind, they most likely have compared it with its competitors and they will use the information to discuss pricing.

Other subjects covered in the guide:

  1. Meeting length and punctuality
  2. Dress code
  3. When to start and when to end the meeting
  4. Take notes
  5. Interruptions
  6. Observe who is meeting with you
  7. Pressure sales tactics
  8. Price negotiations
  9. Rejections
  10. Agreements
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