Business Culture in Dalmatia

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Business in Dalmatia is almost ritualistic, here is an example.

A new company wants the Tesla Electric Company to outfit its facilities with wireless lighting and a Tesla-type powerplant. In some places, the representative of New Firm would simply place an order directly with Tesla Co. Well, in Dalmatia it doesn't quite work that way. Firstly, the rep of New Firm would send a letter (telex if it's *really* urgent, but that's not good form - it shows disorganisation, and do you want to do business with someone who is disorganised?) to his local sales agent of the Tesla Co. Never just walk in to the office to see him uninvited (if as in this example, this is first contact) - that's impolite.

So Rep of New Firm sends a letter to Tesla Co. Sales Agent, inviting him or her for dinner (note the letter must always be on proper company letterhead, or at the very least bear the company stamp). The Sales Rep will know right away that this is a prospective business partner, despite the fact that nothing in the letter alludes to business apart from the letterhead - the body of the letter is merely a formal but friendly invitation to a dinner. The Sales Rep will accept, replying by letter, in which he states the time when he will be available for dinner, and stating the place where the dinner will be (never does the initiator specify the place; the Sales Rep will do a quick check on the New Firm in the National Registry of Companies to determine the financial status of New Firm, thereby being able to determine the class of restaurant he selects; for a small, newly established firm with not much capital like New Firm, he would select a pleasant but not extravagant establishment).

This first dinner is merely a "feel-out" session. The New Firm Rep will tell the Tesla Co. Rep about New Firm - what they produce or deal with and such things, but not yet asking for anything outright. After this, the Tesla Co. Rep will talk about his company, but not at such length as the initiator, since the New Firm will have researched the prospective partner before approaching them to do business. After that, teh Tesla Co. Rep will enquire about New Firm's plans for the future. Now the New Firm Rep will talk about their various plans, and somewhere towards the end he would mention that New Firm is building a facility, and they require some form of power and lighting for it. But note he doesn't outright specify that he wants wireless lights and a Tesla-type powerplant - he merely mentions it in the vaguest of terms. After this, dinner ends, cards are exchanged and the two parties go their separate ways.

A week or so later, New Firm Rep will receive a letter from Tesla Co. Sales Rep, inviting him to a dinner, with a suggested timeframe (usually a three or four day period) as to when he has time to attend. Now, New Firm Rep will reply with a time within the timeframe that suits him, at a restaurant of a similar class as where the first dinner was. At this dinner, Tesla Co. Rep will present a range of questions as to what the New Firm needs, and New Firm rep will present his company's requirements. Tesla Co. Rep will take note of this and give an estimate of the cost, but New Firm Rep will not say yes or no yet - that will happen at the third dinner. The third dinner will happen at a time and date specified (via letter) by New Firm, and at this dinner the deal is concluded. Confirmation of the deal's conclusion is by exchange of letters.

The second time New Firm deals with Tesla Co, the first dinner above is skipped, since the two Reps are acquainted, but the remainder of the process takes place as above, over two dinners, always arranged through letter. This slightly shortened process is followed until such time as a 'friendship' has developed between the two reps (sometimes real friendship, but that is not necessarily necessary, but it is helpful), after which the whole thing can be arranged over telex or telephone, just as one would call up a good friend to ask him to go for beer or coffee or whatever. The business friendship is then cultivated as a normal friendship would be, with the occasional meeting taking place even if there is no business to be done.

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