Business dos and don'ts in Italy

Rvo,  Thursday, 5 October 2017

Italy Puglia Rutigliano 

Here are some practical tips for doing business in Italy.

Fare bella figura

It is essential to present yourself properly. For example, wearing leisure wear during business appointments is not standard practice. It gives a wrong impression at first glance.

Find the right contacts

An crucial stumbling block is finding the right contact person within a company that also has decision-making authority. The structure of Italian companies is relatively hierarchical, especially in the case of medium-sized and large enterprises. As a result, the business contact person is often not the one who also makes the decision. Therefore, invest enough time in finding the right contacts.

Invest in contacts

Get to know each other well before you do business. Foreigners prefer to put contracts on the table before lunch. Italians explore much more. They want to meet you and meet you again.


This can be a significant obstacle to doing business with Italians. Not all Italians know English. When you first contact an Italian company, it is advisable to do so in Italian.

Long payment terms

Please note that payment terms in Italy may be longer than usual. This is particularly the case with the government. Nevertheless, you can make suitable arrangements in advance. In general, Italians are not defaulters, but unfortunately, there are always exceptions to this rule. Having payment guarantees is vital. This is especially true at the beginning of a business relationship. In advance, you can check the creditworthiness of a client and point out to the client that he or she must comply with payment agreements.

Patient approach

Italian companies are quite closed. It is often difficult to get the right person over the phone and e-mails usually remain unanswered. When finding a possible business partner, patience is a clean thing. It is important not to lose courage and to proceed diplomatically in the event of any problems. Be patient; an indirect approach is more likely to succeed in Italy than a direct one.

This article of is based on . Translated from the Dutch language by Jos Deuling.

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