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Selling to Cultural Diversity Needs!

In a world of political correctness and hyper sensitivity to others, it is still a matter of fact that many sales presentations are sabotage by the sales professional themselves inability to recognize cultural adjustments when presenting. It is critical that you realize the “do’s and don’ts” when engaging others that may be of different ethnic cultural backgrounds than themselves.

In working years ago with one of the leading diversity experts today, Ms. Lenora Billings-Harris (see www.ThePerformanceMagazine.com for regular diversity performance articles), we recognized that there are four critical ways to gain a better understanding of diversity issues and learn how to market and sales to those segmentations. Consider:

  • Knowledge – learn their ways and especially their language. The language will direct you to what segmentations holds important.
  • Understanding – read books, watch videos, hang out where they hangout to learn their ways, values, beliefs and what they associate value to.
  • Acceptance – accept them on the terms in which they want to be accepted. The “Golden Rule” doesn’t apply in diversity matters, as how you may want to be accepted may be in violation of something which is held sacred to them.
  • Behavior – match your behavior to theirs.

As a sales-professional it is critical to understand the internal and external focus on diversity to enhance ones’ ability to connect and sale more effectively.

In working with and selling to culturally diverse groups, mandates that the words, mannerisms, non-verbal communications signals, materials used and how the relationship is managed be altered with respect to the ethnic diverse group being engaged.

Once you are able to affect and effect this connectivity, cultural connections can actually accelerate your selling effectiveness and closing ratios. You can even assimilate others to our deliverables, once they see a strategic benefit. And this is a critical piece of your homework as a sales professional, identify the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM as Zig Ziglar made so famous) point for the recipient and present accordingly.

For example:

When engaging individuals of Asian dissent, a smile in a business transaction is seen as being disrespectful, where as in the United States a smile in the selling transaction may be a norm as a way of being polite and appreciative. Thus, a collision of cultures can cause a selling nightmare. Writing on the back of business card notes in an American interaction is seen most often as a non-issue, whereas this may be seen as a personal defacement with someone from another culture.

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