#2013-9 Plan ahead for making a sales presentation to multicultural homebuyers

Every sales professional knows that preparation is key to making a successful presentation. You need to invest the time to understand your client’s needs and play to those pain points. You show them how you can deliver valuable solutions.

When preparing for making a sales presentation to multicultural homebuyers—those people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds—you need to zoom in on their unique needs, desires, and expectations.

Here are some tips to ensure that your prospects focus on your presentation, not your faux pas.

  • Offer refreshments. Keep a fresh supply of sodas, bottled water, coffee, Danish, cookies, fruit, and snacks available when negotiating a contract. This gesture will be appreciated—especially by Russians—because it shows you thought ahead and planned for their comfort.
  • Plan the transportation logistics. Many multicultural customers bring extended family members with them to the model home or to subsequent meetings. Some expect to be driven in a spotless car. Be sure to plan ahead so that your vehicle is large and clean.
  • Understand the numbers. People in the U.S. write the month first, then the day and finally the year. It’s common for people from South America and Europe to write the day first, then the month and year. Example: 4-15-07 in America would be written 15-4-07 in Europe. To avoid confusion, write out the month.
  • Avoid humor. Jokes might not be appreciated. Pakistanis, for example can be somber and serious. You’re better off not trying to be a comedian and playing to dead silence.
  • Watch your tone. Some cultures don’t like loud voices. Speak in gentle tones.
  • Watch your body language. Do not wink, even in friendship. Cover your mouth if you yawn, cough, or sneeze. And, to be safe, keep both your feet flat on the floor. Don’t even sit with one ankle resting upon the knee or with your legs splayed apart. Some cultures, including Russia, find this offensive.
  • Know your geography. I was watching a show recently where a contestant thought Latin Americans spoke Latin! Latin America refers to the region comprising the American countries that’s inhabited by Spanish-speaking people. However, because it covers South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, there’s a difference between the customs and cultures from one place, like Mexico, to another, such as Argentina.

Six groups represent the Asian American population: Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. People from Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq are also from Asia, the southwest portion, but they are usually referred to as Middle Easterners.

England is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Britain refers to the island on which England, Scotland, and Wales are located. While people from England are accustomed to being called Brits, the Welsh and Scots are offended by the title. Each of the four portions of the United Kingdom has its own distinct history, language, mannerisms, culture, and customs.

  • Be aware of your clothing. Don’t try to mimic the dress of a particular culture. You might violate gender rules, send misleading messages, or mock their beliefs. You want to build trust and the way you dress can undermine your efforts. Canadians and the British usually disdain new, trendy clothing; they prefer a style that is neat, clean, old-shoe comfortable, and previously worn.

If you go to a customer’s house and notice shoes have been placed outside the front door, remove your shoes before entering as a sign of respect.

Pay close attention to the behavior of your multicultural homebuyers. Notice their reactions to what you say and do. If you make a mistake, offer an apology. They’ll appreciate the efforts you take to make them comfortable.

I’ve written an ebook, New Home Sales Training: Selling New Homes In a Multicultural America”, to provide you with a playbook for working with multicultural homebuyers. This book covers everything you need to know to leverage this rapidly growing niche.

Next: Tips for negotiating with multicultural new homebuyers

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