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Selling to Other Cultures

Do you have prospects whose primary language isn't English? Avoid getting your foot caught in your mouth and accidentally offending them by understanding their unique cultural needs.
March 6, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/83782

If you do business with people from cultural groups different than your own, you would be wise to invest some time understanding their cultures as well as their needs in terms of your products and services. You may not necessarily be doing business with people in another country, but with those from other countries who have relocated near your place of business. If you want their business, you have to understand their needs on many levels.

Some words and phrases you often use in conversation--or even on your website--just don't translate into the same meaning that you may wish to impart, confusing your customers who speak English as a second language. Or worse, the translation may unintentionally be offensive when made.

Here are a few things you need to be aware of when dealing with clients from different cultures than your own.

Culture is as much an influence on people as their personal experiences, so knowing about your clients' customs and traditions only makes sense. That way, neither you nor your client will be made to feel uncomfortable and selling can be done.

If you need or want to find out about another culture, some wonderful resources are available to steer you in the right direction and tell you everything you need to know. Spend some time browsing through your local library or bookstore to see what's out there. Or go online and look under the topics of "protocol," "diversity" or "cultural awareness."

Depending on your product and how much business you might be doing with clients from cultures unfamiliar to you, a good source is: www.usaprotocol.com . This is where you'll find the 25th Anniversary Edition handbook for U.S. diplomats on proper etiquette and protocol for engagements with people from diverse cultures around the world.

Remember: Knowledge is power.