Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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"Great education. After just one hour I now know why I have been getting the results I have from Mexico."
Abdul Malik
Founder of California Trading International

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How to Have an Earning Explosion
With Your Business in Mexico

Mexico: Great market with lots of opportunities

Mexico is an incredible market with a stable government and economy. Below are revealing figures on this large economy.
  • Population of over 113 million.

  • One of only a dozen countries in the world with an economy over $1 trillion dollars ($1.657).

  • Several strategic treaties including one with the European Union with reduced or eliminated trade tariffs.

  • Attracting companies from China and other parts of Asia that want to use Mexico as a launching pad to sell their products to Europe, North and South America while taking advantage of low trade tariffs.

  • One of the most advanced telephone systems in the world with fiber optics connecting all major cities.

  • In January 2008, Mexico's central bank raised interest rates from 7.25% to 7.5% signaling that the peso had been a stronger currency over the past months compared to the U.S. dollar.

Mexico and its importance to the U.S.

  • In 2004, Mexico was the third largest importer of goods to the U.S. and the second largest market for U.S. goods.

  • Mexico is California’s primary export country.

  • Mexico imported almost one quarter of the total exports of the state of Arizona.

Mexico has a challenging business culture

However, Mexico can be a confusing market place for companies unfamiliar with Mexican business practices. Even corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Chevrolet make mistakes. These marketing errors can suck your financial resources dry and can limit or destroy your company's chances of succeeding in the Mexican market. Here's what happened to Coca-Cola in Mexico.

Coca-Cola's multi-million dollar mistake in Mexico

If you asked Coca-ColaTM if they have staff trained to handle Mexico, they would probably answer "Absolutely". Yet years ago, they had to pull a major advertising campaign in Mexico. The company had a popular advertising campaign with the slogan "Catch the wave". This was translated into Spanish and put on billboards throughout Mexico. Any national billboard campaign will cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars.

Unfortunately, Coca-ColaTM quickly discovered Mexicans also understood the translation to mean "have diarrhea". The campaign was pulled at a cost of several millions of dollars. The company had to start all over simply because some department in Coca-ColaTM did not check the translation and its impact. It's even possible that the company did not have a department to oversee and review translations. The small investment of having experts with knowledge of Mexican slang could have prevented the loss of several millions of dollars.

Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and tens of thousands of small companies have lost billions of dollars over the years because they did not understand the consumer or how to do business in a particular country. They underestimated the necessity of having experts to help limit or even prevent costly mistakes in foreign markets such as Mexico.

What are the Three Vital Lessons companies should take from this situation?

1. Company marketing messages that are not tested by in-country experts risk giving negative and damaging messages to consumers. AT&T was recently preparing to initiate a new marketing campaign in Mexico. They took the extra step of working with an affiliate experienced in translations. The affiliate reported that the message, a translation of a slogan made popular by Cingular (the company was merged with AT&T in 2007) had a negative meaning in Spanish. The message was changed and AT&T saved itself millions of dollars by taking this one critical precaution.

2. Companies at all levels need to invest in expert translations or risk much higher losses from negative publicity. Even though this is one advertising mistake, this story is told around the world and used as an example of how even the most global companies can falter and make mistakes in their marketing.

3. Companies can offend consumers in a market despite the best precautions. Things happen. Language changes. Companies must be sensitive that what works in one country could be disastrous in another one. Having access to country experts is a normal investment by large multi-national companies. Smaller companies cannot afford to risk their image and reputation in a market and in most cases, have an even greater need for the right expertise.

Nothing "sucks" like a poor translation

Here is another example of how a well-established company with a quality product crippled its business opportunities by not understanding a market. Years ago, the Swedish company, Electrolux, wanted to enter the U.S. market. Their product was a high end vacuum cleaner that had enjoyed great success throughout Europe. The company translated their product tagline into English and put it on all of their marketing.

Unfortunately, the meaning of words change, and the marketing collapsed largely because of the translated slogan that said, "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux." It may have been grammatically correct, but "suck" has a very negative meaning in the U.S. Electrolux annually sells over 40 million products in 150 countries. Yet this internationally successful Swedish company suffered incredible financial losses because they did not invest in understanding the U.S. consumer and the language.

Ready to turn Mexico
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Top 5 Challenges Companies Encounter
to Entering the Mexican Market

1. Knowing the business culture.

The director of one of the U.S. Export Assistance Centers commented that most companies that come to his organization for assistance in entering the Mexican market leave with little or no understanding of how business is done in Mexico. The most important rule of business is "Know your customer and know your market."

Alan Mulally
"One of the most important things in business is to know what reality is, what the business environment really is."

Alan Mulally
President and CEO
Ford Motor Company

Yet, the director of one of the leading federal agencies, mandated to helping U.S. companies export their products, tells me that even if these companies find a supplier or distributor, they do not have the knowledge to maintain long term relations. This means these companies are risking their investments of ten of thousands, even millions of dollars because of their lack of knowledge about Mexican business practices.

Officials with the U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico are quick to agree that all businesses should have a firm understanding of Mexico business protocols. However, training companies on Mexican business practices is not one of the services they offer. This agency and several others are part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The department had an estimated annual budget of $9.5 billion in 2006. Yet I know of no established training by any of these agencies that addresses the critical need of business to know how to do business in Mexico.

2. Difficulty locating distributors.

Many companies have come to rely on the Internet as a key resource in locating business partners in other countries. Unfortunately, Mexico lags behind many countries with the number of businesses that have a presence on the Internet. Only 25% of the population has Internet access. The cost of having an additional telephone line was cost prohibitive for most Mexican businesses. A significant number of companies have only one telephone line. This means that most companies in Mexico will not be on the Internet.

3. Working with Mexican distributors.

One cultural aspect of Mexicans, especially professionals, is that they do not train their business partners. I have devoted an entire chapter in my book “Insider Secrets How to Do Business in Mexico” to this topic. Mexicans feel knowledge "is" power. So if your Mexican associates shares information with you, they have weakened themselves while making you stronger.

Logically, no one wants to make someone superior to themselves so here is the challenge. Companies have to look at ways of gather vital marketing data knowing that many Mexican associates will not disclose information or worse will give misinformation about the market.

Another challenge for business professionals from countries such as Canada, the U.S. and England, is the Mexican business culture and practices are different from these other countries. Written communication in the U.S. is relatively straight forward and direct. U.S. business professionals speak in a clear and open manner. These are generalizations, yet essentially accurate.

On the other hand, Mexican business practices have much more in common with Japanese business practices than with those of the U.S. What is said by Mexican professionals may have no relation to their true beliefs or feelings especially in business matters.

There are countless stories of executives who felt they had established a good relationship with a Mexican company. Yet after half a year or more, these same executives were disheartened because the Mexican company had no interest in doing business. These executives are now stressed out wondering what happened and how did things go wrong.

4. Misunderstanding the need to have information in Spanish.

Companies should start wherever they are. I am one of those that subscribes to the business philosophy "Ready. Fire. Aim". However, what many companies misunderstand is that if they plan to be in the Mexican market for many years to come, they must have a strategy to develop staff capable of responding to the needs of their Mexican associates.

One serious misconception is that since initial communication done in English seems to go well, this automatically implies that there is no need to understand Spanish or to provide company information in Spanish. If a company ever plans to attract more business, be it through distributors or suppliers, the day will come when the company must move into offering information in Spanish or risk losing business to companies willing to invest in communicating with Mexicans in their own language.

5. Not investing in international expert consulting.

New companies start every day in the U.S. These companies will invest a significant portion of their start-up capital in training and seminars. It would sound insane for a person to try to start a business without getting any advice from those who have been successful in the same industry. Whether it’s a company of one or many, businesses invest heavily in knowledge.

Yet something strange happens when companies start to look outside their own market. These same rational business leaders will decide that expert information and advice is no longer needed. Instead, companies will try to enter foreign markets with little or no market research. They will break cardinal rules of business such as knowing their customer and the wants and needs of their customers.

"Successful companies have taken a disciplined step by step approach to developing an export business; building a successful "beachhead" or test market, and then carefully selecting target geographies/customers for expansion."

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

This haphazard way of doing business is less common for companies wanting to do business in Japan or Germany. However, U.S. companies seem oblivious to the necessity of knowing the market and the consumer when it comes to Mexico. This ignorance of the market, business culture and consumer is a key reason why many U.S. companies fail financially in Mexico. Investing in expert information is vital to a company’s success in Mexico.

Has this ever happened to you or your company?

Your company searches for distributors to handle their products in Mexico. After months, they find one or two candidates in Mexico. They handle complimentary products, or they say they are interested in offering additional product lines. Communication is going back and forward for several months. Your company may even send marketing materials and product samples.

You feel certain an order or news of a contract is going to come in any day now. The communication has been positive. The Mexican company always says, "You have a great product. It will do well here in Mexico."

Then all of a sudden, the communication stops. You call, but your contact doesn't answer the phone. You're concerned because their secretary says they are out. You're perplexed because emails are not returned.

A few months more go by when you are forced to accept there isn't going to be any business with this Mexican company. You're frustrated because you just spend several months, perhaps a year or more, and now you may be irritated because your company has nothing to show for its time. Maybe you're discouraged because your company has also lost thousands of dollars it spent finding a distributor.

Companies already doing business in Mexico may realize their sales are not as great as they could be

Maybe you found a Mexican distributor. There are some sales coming out of Mexico, but you are concerned that sales could be greater. Your one distributor tells you not to worry because they have "contacts".

They even offer to handle all of Mexico for you because they have "offices" everywhere. Sales continue to come in, but you feel troubled that your products and services should be doing better in Mexico. Companies begin to realize that the business culture of Mexican distributors is different compared to the culture in other countries.

It's not simply that the business people speak Spanish. They have a culture that developed over 3,000 years, and this culture requires that companies unnderstand it or lose out on enormous opportunities.

Now imagine if you had someone with you who has experience in these matters

Imagine getting expert advice so you will have faster, greater success with Mexico

Now you can access this expertise. The solution is to have an expert, a consultant, there with you to show your company how to grow and expand into Mexico. Here's what you and your company could be doing with by working with an expert:
  • Help with the selection process to find Mexican distributors and suppliers.

  • Provide communication training so your staff is prepared and capable to handle international customers calling to buy your products.

  • Access for those unplanned challenges with marketing, negotiations and other business situations that occur when dealing with Mexico.

  • Create a solid relationship with your Mexican associates where they will want to sell more of your products.

  • Have Mexico as a new profit center that supports your company and provides ongoing revenue.

Whether yours is an established company looking to enter the Mexican market or ready to expand your market in Mexico, you and your company can turn the corner and have Mexico as a new profit center.

Ready to turn Mexico
into your new profit center?

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Cultural understanding is a business weapon

It doesn't matter if a company has a marketing team that wins awards every year in their respective country. What matters is having experts who know the Mexican business culture and practices and how to properly communicate with your Mexican associates.

Another critical step needed to ensure success in Mexico is to have a trained in-house staff while taking advantage of continuous coaching from an expert. Continuing education is vital and essential for any company that plans to be here in the future and to remain prosperous.

"In any language marketing means understanding your customer. For multicultural marketers, this is often a difficult and complex learning process."

Jessica Sebor, CRM magazine
Hispanic Marketing goes to UNIVERSIDAD

Why listen to Richard Villasana?

For 20 years, he has helped U.S. companies and businesses around the world accelerate their entry into Mexico, expand their market and dramatically increase profits.

He is a leading authority on Mexican business practices, culture and communication. He is the author of "Insiders Secrets for Doing Business in Mexico" as well as several articles on marketing and business practices in Mexico.

His services have been sought after by companies such as Cisco Systems, Drager and AT&T. He is an authority on:
  • Mexico’s safety certification, the NOM
  • Mexico's telecommunication certification, the Homologación
  • Federal bids and tenders
Nothing speaks louder or more eloquently about the worth of a professional than praise from peers and clients. Here are just a few comments about his expertise, work and presentations.

James Malinchak
"Richard is the number one leading authority on doing business in Mexico. When my company expands and goes to Mexico he will be the first and only consultant that I hire to teach my folks how to properly do business in Mexico so that we ensure our success and you should do the same. Do yourself a huge favor. It will save a tremendous amount of time, effort, and money for you by working with Richard. Hire him today."

James Malinchak
Co-Author "Chicken Soul for the College Soul"
2008-2009 GKIC Marketer of the Year

Barbara I. Pardue
"Any business, government official or visitor to Mexico would benefit from Lic. Villasana's specific advice."

Barbara I. Pardue
former Senior Cabinet Officer and Director of Arkansas Department of Economic Development

"Great education. After just one hour I now know why I have been getting the results I have from Mexico."

Abdul Malik
Founder, California Trading International

"Thank you for a terrific three-part series on 'Why Your Business Needs to go International'. Each session offered excellent information. Our attendees received succinct and useful information that will not only help them in doing business in Mexico, it will help them in doing business no matter where they are."

San Diego

Leslie Simmons, Event Coordinator
The City of San Diego

"Your talk was excellent. You were very interactive and got the audience involved. Your tips are rarely heard from college professors. Your lectures should be taught at every college."

Dr. Enrique Venta, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Business
Lamar University

"Lic. Villasana´s insights into Mexican culture and business will be a great asset to anyone venturing into the Mexican marketplace."

Lic. Cesar Gutierrez Ubach
CONALEP Baja California, México

Richard Villasana is recognized as a guru of Mexico. Here's one of his press clips from the San Diego Business Journal.

The Mexico Guru profiled by the
San Diego Business Journal

San Diego Business Journal

CRM magazine
Richard has been interviewed by BusinessWeek and featured in trade magazines such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

Ready to turn Mexico
into your new profit center?

Click here

Proven benefits your company will enjoy working with Richard Villasana:

  • Better results from Mexico meaning more profits

  • Turning Mexico into a profit center

  • Preparation to launch your company into all of Latin America, $250 billion in potential sales

  • Getting your product properly tested so you can sell in Mexico

  • An expert at your side guiding your company past obstacles that stop other companies

Why should I act now?

The simple answer is - Time is money. The longer it takes your company to locate a distributor, get its product certified and into the market, the more time that's wasted. With Mexico being one of the largest economies in the world, companies from China, the U.S., Canada and Europe want to tap the incredible opportunities in Mexico.

You’ve just read about the benefits you and your company can have working with Richard Villasana. You’ve read about the excellent opportunity to increase your sales and grow your profits in 2014. How much better would your profit statement look with tens of thousands of dollars in sales coming in from Mexico each month?

How much are delays costing your company?

The longer you and your company wait, the more money that gets lost every day. If expected monthly sales are $30,000, that means your company is losing $1,000 EVERY DAY in sales. That’s a yearly sales loss of $365,000. And some companies after one year have $0 in sales because they just don’t have the right information to be profitable in Mexico.

How to Get Started

  • Send an email with the name, title and contact information of the person in charge of your project.

  • A representative will contact your company to gather more information about the project.

  • If the project fits into one of our areas of expertise, a short call with Mr. Villasana will be scheduled.

Maybe I should think about this

You already have thought about this. This is why you are reading this, right? You want to enter the Mexican market or you are already doing business and feel you should be receiving greater, larger profits from your investment. And guess what? You're probably right. You can be almost guaranteed that whatever profits you are getting from Mexico, they should be at least four times greater.

Don't delay

Don't be like one client that had six distributors in Mexico City. The company's sales were flat when they called me and asked me to handle all of Mexico for them. I met one of the six distributors in Mexico City who explained the U.S. company's product were too expensive for the market.

Even though the Vice President of Latin American Sales visited Mexico every year, he hadn't discovered the reason for the company's dismal sales. Just imagine how much money this company lost by not bringing in Lic. Villasana sooner.

Don't let this happen to your company

Get your projects moving forward as soon as possible. You could see a break through in your business in Mexico in just a few weeks, but you have to take action now.

To get started, send an email with the name, title and contact information of the person in charge of your project. Time is running out so don’t waste another minute!

To your success,

Richard Villasana
Richard Villasana

Richard Villasana, The Mexico Guru
CEO, Marketing To Mexico
Expert on Mexico Business Practices and Communication

PS. It’s the end of the 1st quarter of 2014. How has your business grown?

Are you thinking about that great investment you made in consulting and how your company is now enjoying more profits from the Mexican market? Or are you stressed out about how several months went by so quickly and your company still doesn’t have a good company in Mexico selling your products? Are sales flat, and you’re concerned whether to search for a new distributor or perplexed on how to salvage the present one?

And what are those lost sales costing your company? $250,000 per year? $500,000? More than $1,000,000?

There are so many business mistakes being made in Mexico every month by companies. Multi-nationals invest millions of dollars to prevent mistakes, and yet they still happen. Can you imagine the damage a cultural mistake could do to your business dealings in Mexico? Imagine the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars simply because your company decided not to invest in cultural and business education for Mexico.

Your benefits from our consulting program are:

  • Better results from Mexico meaning more profits

  • Turning Mexico into a profit center

  • Preparation to launch your company into all of Latin America, $250 billion in potential sales

  • Getting your product properly tested so you can sell in Mexico

  • An expert at your side guiding your company past obstacles that stop other companies

Don’t delay! Send an email to get your company moving forward and taking advantage of Mexico's trillon dollar economy.

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