Doing Business with France
The Ten Commandments for Doing Business with France
The PaulSourcing agency has prepared recommendations for doing business with France for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with France. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips.
4 recommendations for entering the French market during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Market mapping It is still true that knowledge and communication in the French language is necessary for the successful acquisition of new business partners in France. For the initial search for contacts and initial market mapping, primarily use the French version of the GoogleInternet search engine when entering the correct keywords. PaulSourcing’s foreign office in Paris (ZK Paris) can help you with these initial analyzes and the search and compilation of a clear list of potential customers.Most websites are in French and in some cases companies only have a contact form on their website instead of a contact email. In most cases, however, the general contact email for the company is always hidden in the “mentiones legales” section at the end of each page.
- Contacting the company The first contact is best done by e-mail in French to general company e-mails. In the body of the email, briefly introduce your company and the products or services you offer. Add your catalog, price lists, terms of delivery and other marketing materials in PDF as an attachment, all ideally translated into French. The presentation email should be as short and to the point as possible.ZK Paris subsequently recommends a telephone acquisition campaign. In this case, it is ideal if you speak French. Call general business phone numbers where 99% of the time you will be connected to the front desk. Refer to the previous email conversation and request contact with the person responsible for dealing with new suppliers. Subsequently, send this person an acquisition email again or contact them directly by phone.
- References Work with references – if you have references from France, always mention them in the initial contact.
- Preparation of materials At the moment, some companies are already operating normally, but many administrative workers are still in home office mode. It is therefore possible that you are not allowed to join one of the companies. In the meantime, spend time preparing quality materials for addressing in French. Have French translations checked by native speakers before printing materials.
The Ten Commandments for Trading with France
- Presentation and French matter Prepare representative documentation and website, preferably in French. If you do not speak French, bring an interpreter to the first meeting. Even so, learn at least a few French sentences.
- Personal contact is important For the first contact, do not send an email or fax, rather call – the French prefer personal contact.
- Get help Use state services in the territory (presentation at trade fairs, assistance support).
- Be on time Arrange the meeting in advance, arrive on time, but not before. Do not try to reach your French partner between 12-2pm, on any holidays or in August.
- Be clear and concise Express yourself in a structured manner, clearly argue and propose solutions.
- Be careful with pricing. Set the price with regard to Western European competition (the French do not recognize that a Czech product can be more expensive than a Spanish, Italian or even German product), leave room for a slight discount.
- Be respectful but assertive Show your partner respect, but don’t let their demands push you into a corner.
- Wait for your partner to make the first move Rather be formal and let your partner make the first move towards less formal behavior.
- Make yourself known regularly Repeat the contact at regular intervals, always with new information. This shows that your company is developing. Be patient and persistent, the response from the French side usually takes a very long time.
- Carefully study the contract Pay attention to the business contract with the partner, check the creditworthiness of the partner, insurance. Specify distribution rights geographically and limit them in time.
Contacts at the embassies of the Czech Republic in the territory
Contacts for the embassies of the Czech Republic in France and for France are listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic in the “states and territories” database under the combination of the search terms “France” and “Contact Czech office”. In addition to the embassy in Paris, it also contains contacts for the Czech Center (cultural center) in Paris and 9 honorary consulates of the Czech Republic in the cities of Baie-Mahault (on the island of Guadeloupe), Bordeaux, Dijon, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Strasbourg and Toulouse. The contact for the Paris representative office of the PaulSourcing agency is listed on its France website, and the contact for the Paris representative office of the CzechTourism agency is on its France website. There are also 3 embassies of the Czech Republic to international organizations that have their headquarters in France:
Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to UNESCO Paris: www.mzv.cz/unesco.paris
Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the OECD Paris: www.mzv.cz/paris.oecd
Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the Council of Europe Strasbourg: www.mzv.cz/strasbourg
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
112 – the single European emergency number
15 – ambulance
17 – the police
18 – firefighters
196 – maritime emergency line
116000 – emergency line for cases of missing children
+33 607764394 – emergency line of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Paris
Important web links and contacts
The basic Internet link is the search function of the Google portal.
Internet pages for which the search name might be more difficult to guess are in particular:
- www.elysee.fr office of the French President
- www.gouvernement.fr/composition-du-gouvernementoverview of members of the French government
- lannuaire.service-public.frportal of the French state administration with links to the websites of ministries and other authorities
- www.banque-france.frFrench central bank
- www.legifrance.gouv.fr French collection of laws
- www.insee.frFrench statistical office
- www.infogreffe.frFrench commercial register
- www.guichet-entreprises.frcompany registration in France
- www.douane.gouv.frFrench Customs
- www.impots.gouv.frFrench tax administration
- www.businessfrance.fr/investir investment support in France
- www.boamp.fr database of French tenders
- www.euroexpo.cz/151-francouzske-veletrhy overview of the most important French fairs
- www.aeroport.frinformation on French airports
- www.autoroutes.frinformation on French motorways
- www.oui.sncfonline sale of train tickets