I’ve heard sales people tell me that New Americans can be difficult or unethical when it comes to negotiating. They don’t adhere to the written contract, want concessions at the last minute, and even when you think you’ve agreed on the price, they keep pushing to bargain it even lower!
If you want to get into new homes sales in the multicultural niche, you need to be aware of the way that foreigners see the negotiation process. Remember that outside the U.S., people are used to haggling—for everything! They’re highly experienced at making deals, so don’t confuse their desire to deal with ignorance. Quite the opposite. They’re very shrewd!
Americans view the new home contract as the end of the negotiation. Many other cultures—Asians, for example—see it as just the start. They’ll sign quickly and assume that the details can be worked out, since this is just the start of the relationship, in their eyes.
So, here are some tips for negotiating with multicultural new homebuyers:
- 1. Don’t be aggressive. Many cultures will be offended by aggressive selling tactics. Be friendly, but not overly casual. Watch the tone of your voice. Don’t push them on their financial details because they aren’t used to divulging them. When dealing with buyers from Italy, avoid creating a sense of urgency because they’ll view it as desperation and believe they have a stronger bargaining position. The Taiwanese respond better to humility than aggression.
- 2. Leave a bargaining cushion. Your New American homebuyers are power hagglers. So, hold something back from your offer so that you have a bargaining chip—a major appliance, small upgrade—when they’re looking for an additional concession to seal the deal.
- 3. Use visual aids. There could be a language barrier, so be sure to have plenty of material to help you communicate your benefits.
- 4. Be patient. You should expect multicultural buyers to take their time. Germans, for example, will dissect every detail. Italians prefer a slow pace. The Chinese may prolong negotiations because they believe it gives them an advantage. Russians believe that if they hold out long enough, you’ll cave to their demands.
- 5. Expect them to change their minds. When selling new homes to people from other cultures, do not assume that their first response is their final one. Many multiculturals view the first offer as a formality and a foundation for beginning negotiations.
- 6. Differentiate between agreement and acknowledgement. While Americans believe that “honesty is the best policy,” Hispanics may alter facts to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, while the Japanese may simply nod slightly and say, “I hear what you are saying.” Don’t misinterpret this gesture as agreement and then wonder why they change their minds frequently.
It’s really not difficult to negotiate with people from different cultural backgrounds. You just have to play by their rules. “When in Rome….”
If you want more help with understanding how to sell to New Americans, check out my ebook, “New Home Sales Training: Selling New Homes In a Multicultural America”. If you want to sharpen your negotiation skills, “Secrets of New Home Sales Negotiation” offers some useful exercises and advice.
Next: How to match the right home to the multicultural homebuyer