doing business in indonesia

Business Negotiation in Indonesia: How to Do It Right

  • InCorp Editorial Team
  • 28 May 2019
  • 4 minute reading time

Indonesia is a country with diverse ethnicity, culture, landscape, and cuisine. The diversity makes doing business in Indonesia challenging and exciting at the same time. Business negotiation in Indonesia is an art form that needs constant practice and experience. It has also become a part of the business culture in Indonesia a long time ago.

You may have already set up your company in Indonesia. You are ready to take on your very first customer or work with a business partner. But you may ask, “What now?”

Fret not. This article will show how you can go about the next step, business negotiation. With our guide and face-to-face negotiation experience, you will surely increase your company’s bottom line in no time.

Business Negotiation in Indonesia: Doing it Right

Making an Appointment

Indonesians have a more relaxed attitude towards time, as compared to most western countries. For foreigners, efficiency and speed are critical when it comes to business.

Even though punctuality is important in Indonesia, but occasional delays or even cancellations are tolerated due to unprecedented traffic, severe weather, etc.

Indonesians are friendly and won’t be mad about you being slightly late. But, as a successful business owner, you still need to be punctual for every meeting. Perception is everything. You need to make a good impression, especially with new business partners.

If you can’t make it to the scheduled meeting, try to inform immediately. Or better, give at least a few day’s notice if possible. On the other hand, if you want to meet an Indonesian partner on very short notice or without notice, you may be asked to wait until the person is available. So, always make appointments and give notices.

Meeting Atmosphere

The meeting venue with your business partners in Indonesia must be carefully chosen. It depends on the number of attendants and the type of business meeting, i.e. formal or casual.

When dealing with large corporate, business meetings can be held at the company’s premises as they have a complete meeting and conference facilities for that purpose.

It is also common to have a business negotiation held in a meeting room in a hotel or an office building with a convenient location.

For a more casual meeting, business partners can meet in a restaurant, café, or some eatery in a mall.

The Negotiation Process

You may also realize that the negotiation process between you and your business partners is harmonic, polite, and slow. Sometimes, the main points may not be discussed right away.

This might be irritating and seem unproductive for some foreigners who have just gotten into the Indonesian business culture.

However, the small talk and indirect attitude of Indonesians are ways to show foreigners that they take time to build a relationship with you for long-term collaboration.

As a result, the business negotiation can be lengthy and sometimes requires several other meetings. Patience is the key here and you will be on your way to success if you are patient enough to wait.

Disagreements and Vagueness

As we keep mentioning, Indonesians are friendly and polite people who like to maintain harmony in every situation. This applies to business meetings as well.

When an Indonesian business partner does not agree with your proposal, they will not say “no” to you directly. Rather, they will remain quiet or simply ignore it and skip to the next subject.

On the same note, when they say “yes” to your proposal, it does not mean that they have agreed with your proposal. Don’t take this the wrong way as hypocrisy. They just try to be nice and don’t want to hurt your feelings. Just make sure it is a real “yes”. Confirm a few more times and seal the deal with a proper agreement.

Read also: Essential Indonesian Business Culture You Should Get Used to

Final Note on Business Negotiation in Indonesia

Implement all the points mentioned above to have successful business negotiations.

And, when your business is growing, you may want to consider handing over some of the internal tasks of your company.

Cekindo provides outsourcing services, such as accounting & tax reporting, and payroll processing. Get in touch with us to know more about our services and how we can help you grow your business in Indonesia. Filling in the form below. Or, visit our offices in Jakarta, Bali, and Semarang.

Pandu Biasramadhan

Senior Consulting Manager at InCorp Indonesia

An expert for more than 10 years, Pandu Biasramadhan, has an extensive background in providing top-quality and comprehensive business solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managing regional partnership channels across Southeast Asia.

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