Globalization is the buzz word for many companies today. As foreign markets expand and opportunities to do business abroad increase, U.S. based companies are realizing the need to adjust their product design, marketing and sales approach to relate to buyers in other countries.
Homebuilders are faced with the same challenge, but for a completely different reason: Many of the buyers on the market today are from abroad. They were raised in other countries and in different cultures, and come here with looking for a home that suits their cultural upbringing and core values.
And there’s the rub. Because of their cultural programming, they see and respond to our product – and often to us and our sales presentation – from a completely different perspective, one that often results in ‘Does Not Compute.’
This week’s guest, Michael Landers, was introduced to my by one of our premier sales trainers, Jeff Shore. Michael is the founder of Culture Crossing, a company that teaches U.S. businesses how to relate to and do business with other cultures.
Listen to my interview with Michael to learn his tips for marketing, selling, designing and servicing new homes to the growing multicultural market. Below are highlights from our conversation:
We’re all culturally programmed. Different cultures, different programing and different thought processes. The issue is communication – not just the words, but the meanings; the ‘why’.
Our cultural programming is what forms our core values.
Americans, for example, tend to conduct business more casually and hate having to negotiate back and forth. We’re a ‘Get ‘er done’ society that places high value on immediate gratification and individualism. This is apparent in our marketing slogans: Have it your way. Be all that you can be. Think Different. Our core values shape who we are.
Other cultures may be more formal in their approach to business. Typically, negotiating is expected and prolonged.
Homebuilding: People buy what they feel comfortable with. Successful companies are willing to change their style to fit the needs of their customers when they realize a significant cultural market.
How to adapt to better service cultural buyers.
1. Self awareness – understand your own cultural programming and biases.
2. Ask: “What does ‘home’ mean for this culture?”
3. What design features are they used to and comfortable with? (Feng shui; numerology, etc.)
4. Marketing brochures designed and translated for specific cultures.
If you were shopping for a home in Japan, what would you be looking for?
Brochure in English..
Back yard with grill…
Solid interior walls instead of rice paper…
Now, ask yourself what your foreign-born prospects will appreciate and respond to.
Multicultural buyer pain points for salespeople:
- Discomfort with other languages/cultures
- Misalignment of core values
- Lack of understanding
Challenge: Be committed to put in the time to build trusting relationships. Cultural buyers require more time. Reward: You’re ‘in’ with the entire community by referral.
Contact Michael Landers through his website, CultureCrossing.net
What are you doing to attract and sell to foreign-born buyers?
Please leave a comment below.