Last week I was on a trip to the Pacific Coastal City of Puerto Vallarta. I was with a Mexican sales director in effort to close a deal with a Mexican distributor for an American made product. The Mexican sales director, whom I consider to be a talented employee for his company, was complaining to me about products that his Chinese providers were pricing too high. The gentleman stated to me that he wished he could get on a plane to China to negotiate the Chinese down on their products. One problem: he doesn’t speak English. Unless he wants to retain an interpreter, there is no way that he can go to China and effectively negotiate prices with the company’s suppliers. When doing business in Mexico, you will find that many Mexican businesspeople speak English. This is especially the case for high level managers, directors and executives in large international firms in cities such as Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Most of these highly talented individuals studied at elite private Mexican universities such as Anahuac, Ibero, Panamericana, Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, and the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Many even hold advanced degrees from American and European universities and/or studied or worked for some time another country.
Nevertheless, when doing business in Mexico, you will often come across excellent managers and directors who through no fault of their own, never had the opportunity to learn English. Many such employees and their companies are very much interested in doing business with foreigners. Do not let the fact that a Mexican company’s key employees do not speak English deter you from doing business in Mexico. Whether you are interested in manufacturing in Mexico, or possibly selling through distributors, or heading to a trade show south of the border, make sure you are armed with the correct translation and interpretation services for doing business in Mexico. Doing business in Mexico can be a lucrative, symbiotic relationship for both parties involved if things are done right. Unless you’re sure that the people you will be doing business with in Mexico are fluent English speakers, it would be good to invest in translation or interpretation services.