Learn These Smart Multicultural Selling Strategies That Create Success
Do you adjust your sales strategies for people from different cultural backgrounds? You should, if you want to sell to a wider array of customers. If you don't, you may be losing sales, and not even know it. Dr. Michael D. Lee, MBA, CSP, Founder and President of EthnoConnect, www.ethnoconnect.com gives advice about this issue in selling. His company provides seminars, training, consulting and coaching on how to sell more products and services to the multicultural market in America. Bill Cole asked him to address how we can be more attuned to the multicultural sales market.
Learn These Smart Multicultural Selling Strategies
That Create Success
Bill Cole, MS, MA
Founder and CEO
William B. Cole Consultants
Silicon Valley, California
Do you adjust your sales strategies for people from different cultural backgrounds? You should, if you want to sell to a wider array of customers. If you don't, you may be losing sales, and not even know it.
I interviewed top multicultural sales expert Dr. Michael D. Lee, MBA, CSP, Founder and President of EthnoConnect™, in Dublin, California (www.ethnoconnect.com) about this issue in selling. His company provides seminars, training, consulting and coaching on how to sell more products and services to the multicultural market in America. I asked him to address how we can be more attuned to the multicultural sales market. Michael is the author of eight books, including "Cross-Cultural Selling for Dummies" (Wiley Publishing, 2008): https://www.amazon.com/Cross-Cultural-Selling-Dummies-Michael-Soon/dp/0470377011. Michael is the first Asian American to earn the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation in the history of the National Speakers Association.
Bill Cole: Some sales professionals say they don't need to take multi-cultural sales factors into consideration. How would you tell them it isn't enough to just know sound sales approaches today, across their range of customers?
Michael Lee: Culture not only impacts how people buy, but what they buy. If salespeople want to sell more products to Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, and others, they must adjust their practices. For instance, Asians and Hispanics often don't trust banks, so you must concentrate on building a relationship before selling products.
Bill Cole: Do customers today have their antennae up about a salesperson being multi-culturally sensitive and appropriate?
Michael Lee: The Golden Rule was to "Treat others as WE would like to be treated. "The Global Rule(tm) is to treat others as THEY want to be treated." This means learning to be culturally competent. People buy from people they like. If you insult or disrespect them from the minute you meet them, they are not likely to do business with you.
Bill Cole: What are some of the biggest mistakes salespeople make with multicultural customers?
Michael Lee: First, don't assume that all your customers want to shake hands when you first meet. In fact, shaking hands can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing in some cultures. For a stranger to touch a Japanese, Middle Eastern or Asian Indian woman can be extremely disrespectful in their cultures. Instead of automatically sticking your hand out, wait until the customer offers the greeting that is most comfortable for him or her, and simply do the same.
Second, don't look for eye contact from everyone. While Americans consider strong eye contact a sign of respect, looking down may convey the same meaning in other cultures.
Third, watch how close you stand to customers. People from cultures outside the US may stand closer or farther than we may be comfortable. Learn to let the customer set the personal space rather than assuming.
Bill Cole: What advice would you give salespeople about being multi-culturally savvy?
Michael Lee: Recognize that it's OK to ask people about their culture. In fact, if you don't, you create what I call "cultural static" between you and the customer. This means that instead of listening to their needs your mind is occupied with such questions as, "I wonder where they're originally from?" or "I wonder what language they speak?"
Go ahead and ask! We whose ancestors come from countries outside of Europe know we look different from typical Americans and are happy to answer any question about our cultural background. In doing so we hope that eventually salespeople will begin to see past external differences to recognize that we are all very similar on the inside. Ask new immigrants how to say a few words in their language such as "hello" and "good bye". This builds rapport faster than almost anything else because as you struggle to say those few words in their language you are reminded how difficult it is for them to speak English. Ask everyone about where their ancestors are from. This can lead to interesting and valuable rapport-building conversations whether a customer is from Thailand or Topeka.
To learn more about how sales coaching can help you improve your
abilities in media situations, speeches, team sales situations,
and your overall sales career, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental
Game Coach, at:
Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority
on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and
CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business,
life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International
Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com),
an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development,
professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He
is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school
alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author
and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For
a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments
visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
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