Intercultural Business Strategies News & Views

Cross-Cultural Business Success Tips

Cross-Cultural Strategy in Sales Negotiation


Image by Elizeu Santos-Neto via Flickr

The most important cross-cultural strategy in sales negotiations is the same for your domestic sales negotiations.

  • Preparation

Do not forget to prepare for your sales negotiations beforehand.

Identify Sales Basics

Can you set the parameters:

  • What do you want to sell?
  • What is the lowest price you can accept?
  • What price do you want out this sale?
  • What else do you want to get out of this sale?

Different businesses have a few variations to these questions.

  • What are the other questions you need to ask yourself?

Before a cross-cultural sales negotiation, take the time to clearly answer the questions you need to set the right parameters before you enter into your negotiation.

You need to keep this information in mind during your negotiation. During a cross-cultural negotiation you can easily fill your mind with bits of information of secondary importance.

Identify Your Business Strategy

Get the basic outline of your company’s business strategy.

  • Identify key points you can adapt
  • Identify key points you cannot adapt
  • Are you aware of your company’s international strategy?
  • Do you know of any limitations you have?
  • Do you need to touch base with your management first?

Again, this is a little like identifying your sales parameters. Adapt these questions to your business.

If you do not clearly keep this information in mind, your cross-cultural negotiation can go off track. Or it may take longer than you need, simply because you are not focused.

Identify Their Business Strategy

Give some extra thought about your client. Dig as deep as you can.

  • What does your client really want?
  • What would he like in addition to this?

This can help save you time. And it can be the difference in making a sale or not.

The faster you can identify the real reason why your prospect is, or may be interested, in what you have to offer, the faster you will be able to adapt your own communication and make the sale.

Focus For Success

Now, most sales professionals will say that they already do all of the above.

And this is true generally. However, things seem to crop up in cross-cultural sales.

All too often, I have seen a seasoned sales professional get caught in the field without basic preparation. The result is often:

  • A delay in making the sale
  • Additional costs for additional meetings

A win-win cross-cultural sale needs more focus. And not necessarily more negotiation skills.

Clarity And Consistency

There is also another very important reason why you must not forget to do your basic sales negotiation preparation.

Your preparation brings clarity and consistency into your sales negotiation.

Clarity and consistency are your two key trust-building tools in cross-cultural communication.

If your sales negotiation style does not include clarity and consistency, and you are not closing sales, look no further.

Chances are you need to change your style for more sales.

When you have identified the framework you have to work in, and you know what your client wants, it is easy to apply clarity and consistency into your usual sales negotiation tactics. It also makes it easier to adapt to unexpected cross-cultural barriers, or international sales hurdles.


Author Cindy King is a Cross-Cultural eMarketer & International Sales Specialist, aligning businesses with different cultures. She has over 25 years field experience in international business development and helps mid-sized business owners create international business development strategies that shorten time to profitability.
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