How to Close The Culture Gap in Negotiation

The United States has become a population of vast cultural diversity. While New York is known as “the melting pot”, the entire country has been influenced by the influx of immigrants from nations around the world.

And if you’re in the business of new home sales, you need to understand how this shift impacts your profession. When you enter the negotiating process with someone from a different culture, be prepared for haggling of a different kind. People from countries like India, China, Japan, Russia, France, Spain, and Italy communicate from a “high context” posture. That means they speak less and infer more. They expect you to grasp their intentions because, in their culture, you do not need to articulate.

Compare that approach to the low-context Americans who want everything in writing, with every “i” neatly dotted and every “t’ perfectly crossed. And once that contract is signed, the deal is done.

Not so with high context cultures. It’s not unusual for someone with this background to want to renegotiate with you. Bear in mind that, in many of these countries, haggling is an everyday occurrence. While we wouldn’t think to try to bargain with a cashier at a grocery checkout or a department store salesperson, natives of many other countries behave quite differently. As a new home salesperson, you have to understand this difference in cultural influence and communication. Don’t take it personally. Don’t consider the customer to be rude, demanding, or unreasonable.

Your world is changing, Dorothy. You’re not in Kansas any more.

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