Things You Need to Know About Turkish Business Life
Turkish business life is not so different from the other countries around the Mediterranean. But there are some key points that are taken great importance in Turkish business life. For foreigners who want to be successful in Turkey, they need to base their relationships on trust, respect and loyalty in the business life. By gaining the trust and respect of your business partners and showing your loyalty, you will secure your business relationships.
Business Relationships are Personal
Business relationships are very personal in Turkey. Turkish people will have no hesitation to do business with people they trust and know but before reaching that level they would like to know more about their foreign counterparts in order to construct long-term relationships. Strong personal relationships will help you to build even stronger business relationships. Being too impersonal or distant can make Turkish business people skeptical about you.
There is a Hierarchy in Business Life
Many Turkish businesses are run by families and there is a hierarchy in the workplace. First meetings are often held by the younger members of the family, but you will work your way up to the head of the family. Turkish workplace is very traditional, so respecting their natural process and not using any deadlines or pressure tactics will be beneficial for you. The decision maker is often the owner of the business, director, general manager, or supervisor.
Be Familiar with Bargaining Culture
Bargaining is an important part of Turkish business life. When shopping, you can buy a product at a cheaper price than the label price. Even if there is no valid method of bargaining in shops that implement a single price policy, you can bargain in places such as bazaars and markets. In business life, you are expected to be a part of this culture. If there is a request for a bargain from your Turkish partners, you should be willing to negotiate on the price.
Time is Important
Time is important for Turkish people. So arranging your meetings in advance and arriving meetings on time would be a great bonus for you. Business meetings can be arranged at the offices, but most of the time business is discussed over dinners or lunches in restaurants. It is usual for the host to pay, otherwise can even be seen as an insult, so you may let the host pay and reciprocate the gesture the second time.
Dress Code is Very Formal
The usual business attire is conservative and formal regardless of the industry. Men wear business suits with ties, while women wear business suits with a smart top and skirt/trousers or simple dresses. While in hotter areas and months the attire may have alternations Turkish people still would expect you to look presentable.
Meetings Can Be Personal as Well
In meetings, business greetings start with a handshake, but if you are familiar with your associates it is common to hug and kiss each other on two cheeks. When entering a room, if no one is approaching, you should greet the most elderly or most senior person first then continue around the room or table. Meetings are relatively informal, unstructured, and may be lengthy. There is usually some introductory small talk at the beginning of a meeting, which may include discussion of personal or family details. This is an important part of the process of getting to know you.
There are Some Forbidden Conversation Topics
Turkish people like to make small talk but there are some topics you should completely avoid. Asking a person about their sexual orientations, or ideas about politics and religion not welcomed since these are some sensitive subjects for Turkish people. These issues are not recommended to discuss with your partners, co-workers or employees in business life.
If you are planning to own a company in Turkey, you should check the Business Structures page to get information about the law of employment.