Market Success in France


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Doing business in France for American investors, businesses and professionals. Cultural and tactical perspectives. More at

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  • Free trade: US #10 on Heritage Foundation 2013 Index of Economic Freedom – France #62 - GDP 2012 – €13T – France €2T behind Germany (€2.6T) and UK (€2T).
  • Market Success in France

    1. 1. Succeeding in The French Market Culture and Tactics For Invest in France Agency Doing Business in France Breakfast Seminar Portland, Oregon ~ November 5th 2013 Dan Nicollet -
    2. 2. Bicultural Perspective • Born French-American Trained in France and USA • 20 years - international technology businesses (enterprise software, product development, sales, general management) • Chronology and geography: US PA, AZ, CA FRANCE Lyon, Paris US OR
    3. 3. Surprise Is on The Menu • Think Globally but Act Locally. • Don’t let a global mindset keep you from expressing yourself as you are or from being curious and receptive to local differences.
    4. 4. Contradictions and Myths • France free trade and economic freedoms weak but France GDP is 3rd Largest among 25 EU and Top 6 in the World and since mid-’00s France posts systemic trade deficit (US: machinery, electronics, chemical, and medical). • French known for tourism, luxury and cultural lifestyles but France is also a world leader in aerospace, rail, cosmetics, insurance, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, energy, and defense. • France is know for payroll taxes and inflexible labor but France has been and is being deeply reformed and most French business people admire US business culture. • France protects products linked to its “exception Française” but US wine, McDonald’s, and British cheese sell well in France.
    5. 5. France Imports From US $33B USD/Year 2010 MIT Harvard Economic Complexity Observatory
    6. 6. Ready? It’s About People
    7. 7. Business Etiquette Tips • • • • • • • Address people formally when meeting them first. Introduce yourself with your first + last name. Use some French wherever possible. Keep personal life out of professional discussions. Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Expect probing questions and interruptions. Learn French non-verbal and gestures: – Use a brisk, light handshake. – Keep your hands on the table. – Personal space. • Wear quality business attire, even on a Friday.
    8. 8. A Higher-Context Culture From the anthropologist Edward T. Hall in his 1976 book Beyond Culture
    9. 9. 3 Keys To French Culture • Geert Hofstede (Dutch psychologist) cross-cultural psychology – 5 dimensions. Dimensions France US uncertainty avoidance (vs. risk taking) 86 46 power distance (strength of social hierarchy – “dirigisme”) 68 40 masculinity (vs. femininity - task vs. person focused) 43 62
    10. 10. Regions: Differences = Opportunities 65M • Paris Île‐de‐France nearly 12 million population, larges t regional economy in Europe. • Rhône‐Alpes (area around Lyon) chemical industries, wine, tourism, technology • Provence‐Alpes‐Côte d’Azur manufacturing, wine, tourism, services • Nord‐Pas‐de‐Calais manufacturing, transport (rail) • Pays de la Loire tourism, green technology • Cultural differences too: time, formality, business etiquette, attire, negotiation style.
    11. 11. Key Tips • France is open for business now – Generation X and Y open to US business culture – Regulatory simplifications and incentives – Challenged economy creates opportunities • Aim at mid-term milestones – Forging the right relationships takes more time – Use your strategy but use French tactics • Do not go alone – Relationships matter and friends help – France experienced in partnering with US businesses
    12. 12. Merci et Bonne Chance! +1 (503) 616 4007