Don’t let a cultural misstep derail your efforts to close deals with international customers. With these crucial insights, you’ll be able to navigate any cultural differences in the sales process with ease and seal any deal with confidence.
So, let’s dive in and discover the keys to successful international sales conversations!
Build Rapport With Facts Or Feelings?
In foreign markets with a more fact-oriented business culture, sales conversations will very quickly get straight to the point. Customers won’t want to spend to much time with you, and will ask for facts straightaway.
However, in more relationship-oriented countries, cultivating a personal rapport comes first. Customers in these regions may need several preliminary talks and even joint activities to establish a foundation of trust before getting down to business.
So, what happens when a factual and a relationship-oriented person hit a roadblock in a sales conversation? Well, the fact-oriented side will present or ask for more facts, while the relationship-oriented side will focus on strengthening the personal level.
Can you see how these contrasting approaches will cause misunderstandings and hinder progress? By recognizing these cultural differences and learning to bridge the gaps they cause between people, however, you will enhance your chances of completing the sales process and close deals with international customers.
Present Your Data Or Your Personality?
The differences between factual or personal orientation also show in the preferred communication styles. Fact-oriented sales people, for example, tend to present data in a clear and concise manner, often without any embellishments. While this approach can be effective in their rerspective home countries, it can come across as cold or arrogant in other foreign markets, making it difficult to establish personal connections.
Their personal-oriented customers might prioritize building relationships through communication. To them, the presented facts don’t speak for themselves. It’s the delivery that counts. Therefore, if you want to make a lasting impression and close a deal, it’s crucial to develop your communication skills and add a personal touch to your presentations. By doing so, you can close deals with international customers who want to get to know your personality and trust you.
Identify Who Has A Say And Where Decisions Are Made
If sales talks happen in a conference room, you need to know who is present and why. In many foreign markets, it’s important to consider the hierarchical position of each representative. Seating arrangements can speak volumes and you should be able to read and follow them correctly.
For example, for high-ranking business partners, negotiating with “junior sales managers” can be a source of embarrassment. Age and experience are often linked, and a mature manager is automatically seen as having the higher skills and knowledge. As a result, younger salespeople may struggle to be taken seriously in some countries, regardless of their knowledge.
So when it comes to international sales, it’s all about who is talking to whom and who is making the final buying decisions. But, it’s about where and when too!
In some foreign markets, the aim of a negotiation is to reach an agreement at the table. These negotiators value open communication and transparency, and they expect buying decisions to be made collectively, with input from all parties.
In other markets, however, negotiations are seen as a means to exchange information, and the final buying decisions are made behind closed doors. This approach can be particularly prevalent in hierarchical cultures, where decisions are made by those in positions of authority.
To navigate these differences, it’s crucial to understand the decision-making process of your potential customers and adjust your approach accordingly. By doing so, you can avoid potential misunderstandings and complete the sales process by closing the deal.
Here Is How To Close Deals With International Customers In Any Foreign Market:
In international sales conversations, the path to success can look very differently depending on the cultural background of the parties involved and many other factors too. This means that relying solely on familiar sales techniques may not be effective when selling to international clients. To achieve success in cross-cultural sales, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Take the time to understand the cultural norms, values, and business practices of your target market. Find out if joint business meals or get-togethers outside the conference room are seen as part of the sales process or not.
- In many cultures, building a strong personal relationship is a crucial part of the sales process. If so, take the time to get to know your clients on a personal level. Look for common ground. The famous “small talk” and joint business meals help build a sustainable personal level. Every coffee you drink together brings you one step closer to your sales target.
- The individual person counts too! Your foreign business partners are not just a product of their cultural background. Try to learn as much as possible about their personality. After all, the shortest way to bridge gaps is from person to person.
- Be aware of language barriers and differences in communication styles when meeting with customers/clients from different countries. Learn about their local business communication style. Pay attention to nonverbal signals such as facial expressions and body language too. And use clear and concise language, no jargon or anything that might be difficult to understand.
- On the other hand, don’t fool yourself into thinking that great Business English automatically means everything is always clear and straightforward. Instead, be open-minded and ready to do things differently. Surely, this is the best recipe for successful international sales.
- Ensure that the right decision-makers are present at the table. Clarify the decision-making process on your customers side to avoid misunderstandings and conflicting expectations. If your age or level of experience could be a critical factor, make it clear that the you have the necessary expertise and authority. Otherwise, foreign customers may assume that a higher-ranking executive will step in to finalise the deal.
- Be patient. Sales conversations in some cultures may take longer than expected. Avoid rushing the process, as building trust and rapport might suffer. Progress often comes slowly, so discuss a generous time frame with your superiors to not feel unnecessarily pressured.
- Conversely, be ready if speed is at the essence. Customers in some foreign markets might be expecting a faster sales process than you are used to. Don’t let anyone wait who doesn’t like waiting.
By following these tips, you can navigate cultural differences and increase your sales success in your global target market. And one last tip: Our country-specific training videos provide you with basic knowledge about communication, presentation and negotiation styles in different countries. This can help you tailor your sales approach to consistently close deals with international customers.