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When trading with Morocco, foreign exporters need to consider its cultural nuances and unique characteristics. Understanding how Moroccan think, act and do business is one of the key points in doing business. Below are some tips to consider when developing business in Morocco in order to help exporters expand effectively into this promising market:
1. Choose the right route.
There are mainly three ways to get into the Moroccan market by exporting directly, appointing a local representative or by setting up a physical presence. The first option may not be simple if you are looking to achieve a high and fast growth. As for the second alternative, you should rely mainly on a local distributor or a salesperson -the sales agent solution is not very common in Morocco-. As for establishing a physical presence, this could be an excellent alternative after testing your market and will allow you to get close to your potential clients.
2. Get a different approach to time.
Moroccans are more flexible in their approach to time and scheduling, it is the insha’Allah attitude (if God wills)! To that end, one of the important points to conduct successfully your business in Morocco is to invest time. In some cases, you will never get an answer to your first email neither win contracts or build contacts in one business trip. This different approach to time could discourage you from continuing business. Being endowed with patience and adopting a long-term view will get you much further.
3. Avoid short-term strategies.
As a gateway to the African continent, Morocco offers a myriad of opportunities for foreign companies. Nevertheless, it is not a destination for ad-hoc or quick and easy sales. Moroccan importers are open to global markets and before you have approached them, they have already approached other suppliers across the world. For this, it is important to establish objectives and a long-term strategy to strengthen your market penetration and to support these objectives with the necessary investment.
4. Build strong personal relationships.
Establishing personal relationships is a key part of doing business with Moroccans in order to build a mutual trust. It is important to be respectful to different cultural customs of the country, avoiding conversations about politics and religion that can negatively affect the development of your business relations. Moreover, Moroccans prefer face-to-face meetings over communicating by email, virtual meetings or telephone. It is recommended to commit to regular business trips to meet your local contacts and gradually build that trust and friendship.
5. Adapt your language to the market.
While classical Arabic is the country’s official language, the basic language for business relations in Morocco is French although some companies use English. Making the effort to have properly translated marketing materials into French will be well received as a sign that you are committed to the market.
6. Follow-up to grow your business.
It is possible to have a great business trip and good meetings with your local contacts but then nothing happens. Once your initial contact with Moroccan companies is over you need to drive the follow-up process. It is always advisable to follow up a meeting with a phone conversation in which it is perhaps easier for Moroccan to express their opinions. It is important to insist and if necessary call several times to get feedback without waiting for an answer each time.
7. Select carefully your business partner.
Finding a local partners, either a distributor or sales representative, can actually bring huge benefits for businesses wishing to trade within Morocco. To that end, it is important to choose a local partner with whom you create a relationship where you feel your interests are protected. Do not sign agreements until you are sure your selected partner is trustworthy and do not give exclusive rights until you test the working relationship. Always start with small deals and once they are successful, then you are ready to start big projects together.
At ieAlliance we are part of a global network of market entry experts. Our allies in Morocco are immersed in the business practices, cultures and customs of their market. We will be glad to help you break into new this market! Ready, steady, Yallah!
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