Sales Success Around The World

How people buy in one country is not always going to be how they do it elsewhere. Let's have a look at different foreign markets and point out their top 3 sales success factors.
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Selling In The USA – 3 Sales Success Factors

Merely having the product and the vision is not enough on the international market. You need a deep understanding of the culture behind the market you are leaping into, and you also need strong communication skills based on this knowledge. But the USA is the right place for you if you have a strong vision and you are not easily scared. See our 3 basic tips for successfully selling in the USA!

1 – Think And Talk Big

You are probably familiar with the term “American dream”. You are also probably familiar with product launches and company presentations that are overloaded with words like “great”, “awesome”, “thrilled”, and the crowd cheering in enthusiasm. This is America. Here people like to think big and talk big. They love a vision and someone who can speak of their vision. It’s not only that you don’t have to be shy when presenting your product and/or your company, but rather you have to talk as enthusiastically as you can, using phrases as immense as you can. It’s also about not focusing on the problems or setbacks, but rather on the success and the potential positive outcomes. If you have a really strong positive attitude, and you are the embodiment of enthusiasm, you are more than halfway there already.

2 – Focus On The Product

The US is very task-oriented as opposed to relationship-oriented. Here, the product and the task, the things that have to be done come first, and the personal bond after. Talk about your company, your product, your goals and achievements, and rather than talking, show your potential partners what you can. Show what you have achieved so far, give them examples and make sure you let them know that you are not scared of doing the hard work. Have a thorough and detailed plan, and take them through it, let them know that you have everything covered.

3 – Take The Risk

Taking risks and not being afraid of the unknown are key elements in building the American dream. One of the most important things that make the US the destination of people who like to think big, is the fact that people there are not scared of taking risks, neither of failing. They will try again and again, and consider each failure as an investment. So if you show up, you have to be very okay with risks, the unknown, and possible failure. And you also have to communicate this to them. One very important aspect of business communication in the US is that you have to always stay positive, always conclude your presentations, talks, meetings on a positive and optimistic note, but at the same time you have to be prepared for anything. You have to be cool in the face of risk, and this has to show on you.

Selling In The Netherlands – 3 Sales Success Factors

Adjusting your communication skills to fit the country you are preparing to expand your market to is a key component in your sales success, and while some things take time to learn, there are others which you can easily implement. So check out our three top success factors on how to successfully market and sell in the Netherlands!

1 – Directness

You probably heard about the famous Dutch sauna experience. For them, it is not unusual to go with family, friends, and even colleagues to one of their naked saunas. This is how direct they are. They are the people, who in their interactions have nothing to hide. And this shows in their business communication as well. If you are preparing to expand into the Dutch market, and you want to talk to your potential partners, first and foremost you have to be very straightforward and direct. Also, when preparing for a business meeting, you should not expect too much formality. The Dutch are generally very open and they don’t have strong hierarchies either. You are entering as an equal, and you can start your proposal straight away, as they usually don’t expect a strong personal bond to form before doing business. It’s about getting straight to the point when selling in the Netherlands.

2 – Consensus

For the Dutch, this is of high importance. They analyze and work through things until there is a final consensus. And this means that many people are involved in the process, and with no strict hierarchical rules, it’s common that the leader asks for the entire team’s opinion, and everyone contributes their views in an equal manner. But this also means that if you are presenting a new product and want to persuade, you have to be very clear. Otherwise, if you leave them with too many questions, and your product and/or presentation are perceived as not clear, it can happen that they simply say no because of this.

3 – Task And Performance

As the importance of a clear message the practice and no small talk, but rather getting straight to the point shows, the Dutch are a very performance-oriented nation. The task and the results are always much more important than personal relationships. This means that when you are striving to persuade and sell in the Netherlands, you should deliver absolutely impeccable performance and results. They are direct, informal and friendly, but when it comes to the quality, there is no place for compromise. And precisely because the task itself outranks personal relationships, the Dutch are not afraid of criticism. If it helps the case, they openly speak their mind, because at the end of the day all that everyone working together wants is to deliver the best quality possible. Always keep this in mind when selling in the Netherlands.

Selling In China – 3 Sales Success Factors

There are quite a few things to consider if you want to successfully sell in China. In a country where personal relationship values often outrank the strictly professional ones, it is even more important to be familiar with your partners’ communication and expectations. Also, in China you have to pay particular attention to detail when it comes to the words you choose, and also to the social hierarchy. Check out these three basic tips for successfully selling in China!

1 – Focus On The Personal Relationships

China is a very relationship-oriented country, which means that personal relationships rank higher than the professional goals in themselves. It is also a highly collectivistic culture, so you have to be aware that the good and the interest of the group is no questions asked more important than those of the individual. This means that if you want to expand your business in China, you have to be willing to allocate time – often a lot of time – to building strong relationships. Don’t expect to just go there on a meeting and sell your product straight away. Business dinners, going out for drinks or various “off-the-record” activities with your (potential) partners are about building trust and getting to know each other, and you must not hurry with this. Consider it as an investment, but this time it’s not your money, but your time and attention that you put in.

2 – Present Your Achievements

But don’t forget to thoroughly present yourself professionally. The Chinese respect achievement and hard work, so be very precise and thorough in telling your partners who you are professionally. Present your company, your goals and achievements, and be self-confident about it. You don’t have to be shy, but being humble will definitely help. Be respectful, but talk about your professional expertise.

3 – Read Between The Lines

This goes both ways: read between the lines when listening, and carefully choose your words when talking. If you are used to very straightforward, direct communication, it’s time to learn the other way as well. In China, people tend to communicate evasively, and you have to listen carefully if you want to understand what means no – because yes is easier to pick up. The Chinese will wrap their rejection in softer words and phrases, precisely because the personal relationship is so important to them and they don’t want to offend. Listen carefully and ask questions, so you understand your partners correctly. Whereas when it’s your turn to talk, be careful and polite in choosing your words.

Selling In Germany – 3 Sales Success Factors

If you want to drive your business to success in Germany, you have to develop a special skillset for local sales and marketing. This comes with understanding your potential partners’ motivation, needs, and expectations. Knowing the factors of decision making in the German business culture, or the kinds of relationships that are required for successfully doing business are all things that you should explore before diving right in.

1 – Organize And Plan

First and foremost, be organized, and have everything planned. As compared to the US for example, Germans are not fans of leaping into the unknown and taking risks. Instead, if you want to make a good impression, have a thorough plan, backed up by facts and numbers. Plan your presentation, and show discipline and perseverance in your attitude. Numbers and hard facts play a major role, if not the most important one, in German decision-making. Here it is always the task, rather than the personal bond. If you want to impress, go ahead, and make everything as transparent and fact-based as you can, and rely less on personal bonding and small talk over casual dinners.

2 – Be Direct, Straightforward

German communication style is always straightforward. Some may even consider it blunt at first, but it is not at all about that. It’s just that as compared to China, for example, the Germans prefer not to carefully hide behind words and look for the nicest phrase, but rather to speak their mind directly. In Germany, you can count on a yes being a yes and a no is a no. You won’t have to guess and try to decode messages, but this goes both ways: you will also have to be straightforward, and always direct and to the point when selling in Germany.

3 – Be Punctual, Play By The Rules

German punctuality is of course yesterday’s news, everyone knows about it. But it’s good to have a deeper understanding of it. Punctuality and precision in Germany are not only about always showing up on time – that too, of course, it goes without saying. It is also about respecting your counterpart’s schedule and time, always. Make sure your presentation is planned, and stick to your timeline. And you also have to be punctual and precise regarding all sorts of administrative issues. Germany is not the place to “just let things be” and “see what happens”. If there are papers to sign, and things to take care of, they need to be done, period. While in other countries you might show your respect and good intentions by small talk, or personal bonding, in Germany you can express the same respect and good intentions by respecting your partner’s time and always being transparent in your communication as well as in your actions.

Selling In Japan – 3 Sales Success Factors

Adjusting your business and communication skills to fit the country you are preparing to expand your market to is a key component in your sales success, and while some things take time to learn, there are others which you can easily understand and implement. So check out our three tips on selling in Japan!

1 – The Art Of Respect

While respect in many places is something that we express in a mostly intuitive manner, not over-analyzing our partner or the situation itself, in Japan it does require a certain amount of attention and reflection. The art of respect is taken to a whole other level in Japan, and it is enough to only think about the act of bowing, for example, to get a quick glimpse of how complex and important respect is in Japanese society. There are three levels of bowing: Eshaku, Keirei, and Saikeirei, indicating three levels of respect. The higher the respect for the partner, the deeper the bow itself. These things are to be taken very seriously, and if you are preparing to expand your business, and sell in Japan, you have to educate yourself on the Japanese respect and be willing to act accordingly.

2 – Think Long Term

Japan is a very long-term oriented country. This means that if you are used to instant gratification, you have to really adjust your business and personal motivations as well, and with these, your communication and the way you present your business and product also. As a result of the Confucian tradition, long-term thinking and the values associated with it define how people relate to doing business. When you present your product, and you propose a collaboration, make sure you are not focusing on things on the surface, but you have a clear vision of the future and show that you are willing to work on and for it. Persistence and perseverance are of great value here, and if you show these traits, and also build your presentation and offer around them, you are on track.

3 – Hierarchy And Decision-making

Just as respect, hierarchy is also taken to a whole new level in Japan. You have to be aware of the roles and positions in a company and act accordingly. This is one context where respect becomes very important: the three levels of bowing usually relate to different hierarchical positions and levels of seniority. However, this doesn’t mean that decisions at the company level are made by one person, who is in the top position. On the contrary, the Japanese always work towards consensus on all levels, and this is best represented by the special decision-making process, ringiseido: if an idea or plan still has to be accepted, it is first offered in written form to all management levels. At each level, the person in senior position has to either accept, deny or abstain from the idea, and the process is repeated on all levels until a final consensus is reached. So as you can see, hierarchy and respect are strongly related to decision-making, and as a foreigner, you should fully understand this dynamic and your place in it when selling in Japan.

Selling In Saudi Arabia – 3 Sales Success Factors

The bigger the cultural gap between partners, the higher the chance of sales pitfalls. If you are planning to expand your business to Saudi Arabia, there are things you should be thoroughly prepared for, and you have to be willing to shift your perspective and attitude if you are coming from an entirely different culture. See our three tips on successfully selling in Saudi Arabia!

1 – Authority, Obedience

If you come from a country where people are used to always finding multiple solutions, maybe even bending the rules, or at least debating them, you should forget everything you’ve known so far, and start learning the new rules of conduct. In Saudi Arabia, if something is a rule then that is most certainly a rule. They are strict, and if you are not willing to play by the rules, you are welcome to leave. If you are visiting, you should understand that it is expected of you to respect the norms they live by, and do things as they do. Authority is of utmost importance, and with this comes the expectation of unquestioning obedience as well. When working towards establishing a new business collaboration, the first step is letting your potential Saudi partners know that you are respecting and following their rules and boundaries. This goes for everything, including the rules of interaction between sexes, the conversation taboos, and outside of work activities as well.

2 – Collective Values

Saudi Arabia is also a highly collectivistic country, which means that the good and the interest of the group always outrank those of the individual. This also means that you have to invest time and energy into becoming part of the group rather than just act as an individual always working towards your own personal goals. When presenting your offer and your plan, you have to represent strong community values.

3 – Wasta

Wasta, or by its funny nickname, “Vitamin W” is strongly related to Saudi Arabia being a highly collectivistic country. Wasta roughly means “connections” or “influence”. It practically means a set of strong connections and their way of doing the work. It’s a very specific form of networking: in Saudi Arabia, everyone has their own very strong personal and business connections, and they are basically living their everyday life through it. And if you are planning on expanding your business in Saudi Arabia, the best way to kick off is to talk to someone there, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone and can equip you with the necessary information. Also, this means that if you want to talk to a specific somebody with regards to your business, it is always better to be referred rather than just calling directly. It is all rooted in the group- and community mentality, which defines every aspect of peoples’ personal and professional lives as well.

Selling In France – 3 Sales Success Factors

For great sales success, the French market requires some efforts. One the one hand side, you will need to invest some time to build a strong, personal relationship with potential clients. On the other hand, you will need to be well-prepared so that you can present all relevant product details.

1 – Build Strong Relationships

Building strong relationships is important in French culture, and it may take time before being able to sell. French clients tend to value quality, reliability, and personalised service over price, and therefore they tend to prefer doing business with companies they know and trust. Personal relationships are often viewed as more important than business relationships, so it’s important to take the time to get to know your potential cliens. Networking is also important in France, so attending industry events and building a strong network can be beneficial for business.

2 – Attend Business Meals

Food is an important aspect of French culture, and many business meetings and negotiations take place over meals. It’s important to be familiar with French cuisine and dining etiquette, such as using utensils properly, knowing how to order in a restaurant, and being familiar with French food and wine culture.

3 – Give Detailed Information

It can be helpful to provide French clients with detailed information about your products or services, including their features, benefits, and value proposition. In general, French consumers tend to be well-informed and discerning, and they may expect a high level of expertise and professionalism from sales representatives.

Selling In The UK – 3 Sales Success Factors

Politeness and good manners is probably what comes to mind first since these are highly valued in British culture. But there are three more cultural factors that can help you to sell to clients in the UK more successfully.

1 – Show A Sense Of Humor

British people have a strong sense of humor and often use it in business settings. Humor can be a useful tool for building rapport and making connections with potential clients. However, it’s important to be sensitive to cultural differences and to avoid jokes or comments that could be seen as offensive.

2 – Build Trust And Reputation

Building trust and establishing a good reputation are important in the UK. British consumers tend to value quality, reliability, and transparency, and may be wary of companies that make exaggerated claims or use high-pressure sales tactics. It’s important to be honest and transparent about your products or services, and to prioritize building long-term relationships with clients before being able to achieve sales success.

3 – Evidence-based Decision-making

British decision-making tends to be rational and evidence-based. Potential clients may want to see data, research, and other supporting materials before making a decision. It’s important to be prepared with relevant information and to present it in a clear and organized manner.

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