Indonesia: closing deals
Take your time! The pace of business negotiations in Indonesia is slower than most Western countries. There is also less of an emphasis on efficiency, punctuality, and deadlines – hence the popular concept of ‘rubber time’ that exists in Indonesia. So be patient and accommodating.
Like most parts of the world, long-term personal relationships are of vital importance when doing business here so prepare to take time to establish good will, and this often involves making several trips over a period of months.
Your presentation material and company literature should be translated into Bahasa Indonesia, the country’s official language. You may also want to make your presentation in a bi-lingual format.
Although most business owners may speak some English, they will probably prefer to hold meetings in Bahasa Indonesia. Fortunately, English-speaking translators are usually accessible.
Indonesian business culture is extremely hierarchical. If you are part of a negotiating team, line up so that the most important individuals will be introduced first. Also, if you are introducing two people, state the name of the most important person first.
It’s an asset to have your business card printed in color and embossed, since Indonesian businesspeople tend to appreciate ornate cards. Most importantly, however, ensure that your card emphasizes your name and position.
Your business card should contain as much information as possible, including your business title and qualifications. Indonesians include all of this data on their card, as well as any titles of nobility.
Business cards should be exchanged immediately, after an initial handshake and greeting. Also, ensure that the card is offered with your right hand, facing the recipient. When you receive another person’s card, make a show of carefully examining it for a few moments and then remarking upon it before putting it in your card case or on a nearby table.
Meetings tend to be very formal: the Indonesian participants will enter the room based on their hierarchical position and then take a seat. You will be expected to remain standing until this ritual concludes.
Do you have any experiences of doing business in Indonesia that you can share?