In my last post, I wrote about five myths surrounding multicultural homebuyers. I’m adding four more myth-understandings that new home sales professionals need to understand. Here are four more multicultural home buyer myths debunked my Michael Soon Lee, author of “Opening Doors: Selling to Multicultural Homebuyers”.
Myth 6: People from outside this country are unreasonable when it comes to negotiating.
Cultural differences can range from the way we greet each other to our idea of a good deal. I don’t think it’s any more “unreasonable” to negotiate with a New American than it is to bow, rather than shake hands. When you are courting a prospect, you need to understand the rules. And New American homebuyers often negotiate in a way that is different than our own.
Americans only haggle about major purchases—likea home, car, or boat. We don’t walk into a department store and say, “What’s your best price on this jacket?” In many other countries, the price tag is just a starting point. Buyers and sellers play an active game of give and take to negotiate a mutually acceptable deal—on anything!
So, it’s more unreasonable to expect these homebuyers to abandon their norm and not negotiate in the way they are accustomed.
Experienced hagglers know that when they first make an offer on a home, it is the lowest they will ever be able to go. From that point on, they can only go up. This is why they will start embarrassingly low with their initial offer even though they might be willing to pay full price.
The seasoned haggler knows that the strongest bargaining position occurs right before close of escrow. That’s when they’re likely to slip in the request for another concession. Prepare yourself for this inevitability by holding something out of the deal that you can throw it, painlessly, so that your tough negotiator can feel victorious.
Myth 7: We should treat everyone equally, regardless of culture.
No. We should treat our customers fairly, but not necessarily equally. Says Lee, if a buyer who is blind comes into your office, would you simply hand them a contract to ‘read’? This is equal, but is it fair?”
Although you would be treating the blind customer the same as a sighted person, you can’t treat him equally, because of this obstacle. Treating him fairly would mean you had someone read the contract to him or had it translated into Braille.
Myth 8: People don’t want to talk about their culture. They just want to be treated like everyone else.
Whether you come from a different city in the United States or a foreign country, are you not willing to talk about your home? Showing a genuine, but polite, interest in your customer will almost certainly be welcomed. Ask about their food, customs, language, and the layout of the homes in these places. You have a wonderful opportunity to learn more, not just about these particular homebuyers, but about others that might come along in the future. Take advantage and broaden your multicultural awareness.
Myth 9: People from other countries should do as Americans do when they are in their country.
If you’ve ever traveled abroad and seen Americans behaving in a, well, American way, you can appreciate that it’s hard to unlearn a learned behavior. And since the United States is a melting pot, we need to do more than tolerate different cultures, but we should embrace the differences, because it’s a way for us to grow beyond our limits.
Treat the newcomers as guests in your home. Do your best to make them feel comfortable while they adjust to a distinctly different lifestyle. You would certainly want the same accommodation for yourself in a foreign place.
If you want to expand your new home sales market and work with more New American homebuyers, take the time to learn the secrets. You can download my ebook, “New Home Sales Training: Selling New Homes In a Multicultural America” for some useful insight into this growing niche.
Next: Multicultural manners that matter: American etiquette is not universal for homebuyers