There are many ways to do business in different countries. Even though we have new and innovative ways of connecting, there is still a lot of difference. In this article, we will learn what to ask in cultural nuances.

Understanding the culture of your clients is very important. It’s not just for sales and marketing, but it also helps with employees who are working on those projects.

When you’re managing people, it’s important to understand your team and their market. Now let’s dig in.


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Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

The Importance of Cultural Nuances

I think that companies need to do more than just analyze their business strategies. They also should learn about the cultural norms of other cultures and how they might be different from what Americans are used to.

If you want to be successful in international business, it’s important that you understand the culture of other countries.

3 things to ask when working with international clients

Before entering a new country, take some time to consider your strategy for interacting with customers. Experts in international sales ask themselves the following three questions before they start talking to people from other cultures.

Here are the right and appropriate questions to ask in cultural nuances.

1. How can I adapt to your culture?

When selling internationally, be aware of stereotypes and generalizations. It’s important to know what is common for the culture you are in but it’s crucial to remember that everyone (and company) is different.

Lauren Bailey, sales expert and Founder of Factor 8, said that to be successful in the world of sales you must have three characteristics: curiosity; confidence; coachability. “I’ve been in the training business for 20 years,” says Lauren Bailey. Encourage your team members to always be looking for new information from other countries or cultures.

Basically, you don’t need to change your business for the sake of changing. It’s important that customers are satisfied with what they’re already getting.

2. How does your impact my strategy?

When you consider your customers’ market, they may be in a different country. Alternatively, there could be plenty of demand for products or services within one city.

Company leaders are always looking for ways to connect with the market, even if that means negotiating and operating in other languages.

Some Caribbean countries speak English, French, Dutch. There are also many languages in Austria and Hungary.

You should take the time to ask your prospects about their current and future expectations. Avoid making assumptions.

When expanding internationally, don’t rely on the success of your home country. It might seem like you’re in luck when there are factors that apply to both countries but beneath it all, there will be important differences.

If you know the other person’s level of international experience, it will help guide how open they are to your own cultural quirks. We all have them.

3. How can I cater to you without patronizing?

This on is one of the most important questions to ask in cultural nuances. When you are in a different country, it is important to learn about the culture. But it can be just as important to change your timezone.

If you can’t be available to clients when they need you, it might not matter if the price is better.

You can show your goodwill by programming a meeting at a time that is convenient for both you and the client. When they bring it up, you can explain how you changed your work schedule earlier or later to accommodate their preferred hours.

If you want to expand your company, in terms of sales or customer service, by hiring in a different time zone than yours, contact an Employer of Record who can tell you about compliant international team growth.

Sales strategies in order to easily navigate cultural nuances

Once you’ve stopped judging and started listening, it will be easier to find out if there are cultural nuances that might impact your initial negotiations.

Adapt to both high- and low-context cultures

It can be difficult to communicate with people from different cultures, so it’s worth doing a Google search beforehand. For example, after I had just given an excellent presentation at work my colleague said “Oh the projector is still on!”

When we asked him to turn off the projector, he just said “okay” and walked away. Later on though, when I explained that it seemed like what I was asking for was so clear because of my culture’s high-context communication style, he laughed with me.

You may have a great story about being misunderstood in your discussions with prospects, but you want to make sure they’re not just trying to politely decline an offer while coming from a high-context culture. You need them on board if possible.

High context salespeople may be discouraged by a prospect telling them they will get back to them, and not follow up on that deal.

Emiratis need to be sensitive about understanding the motivations of their partners. If they feel like a business is in it for short-term gains or tries to quickly exit, Emiratis want nothing to do with them.

Emirati people are very relationship-oriented, so it is important to build a good reputation before getting down to business. Once they have established trust with potential partners, Emiratis make decisions quickly and can even open doors for other opportunities in the region.

Again, knowing if a culture is polite or direct doesn’t mean that every person in the country will identify with one communication style or another.

Even if you don’t think it’s an issue in your workplace, educating yourself and your sales team on cultural differences can help guide how to behave when dealing with potential customers.

Put it into action:

  • Make sure the country your prospects live in is either high- or low-context.
  • Communicate to your prospect that you are direct and try not to beat around the bush.
  • After meetings, make sure to get an opinion from someone close.
  • Always send a recap of the terms or deal in writing after reaching an agreement, which can help clear up any miscommunication.

Don’t Use corporate jargon

Negotiations can be tricky for people from different regions. For example, if you use expressions like “we need to get our ducks in a row” and “let’s touch base,” these may not make sense to someone who speaks English as their second language.

All languages have idioms, but some cultures do not use them in the work environment. It is best to stick with formal language so that you are clear and don’t sound too informal.

When using words from other languages, it’s important to know if the language has adopted them correctly. If not, you may be adding more confusion than help.

When a speaker uses the word “double entendre”, they are attempting to be more inclusive. However, this can also distract from their message.

It is important to be mindful of using idioms or expressions. For example, if someone in the U.S. gets angry, they might say “I’m pissed.” In the UK though this phrase has nothing to do with temperament and only means that person is drunk.

Another example of how diverse some Asian languages are is that, in China for instance, the combination of two characters which mean “hand” and “paper” can refer to toilet paper. This means a person could ask someone if they received their letter without realizing it was not a written correspondence but rather an actual piece of bathroom tissue.

Put it into action:

  • You can learn about your own idiosyncrasies by talking to people from other cultures.
  • Use language that is easy to understand.
  • When people say something that you might not understand, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a misunderstanding.

Localize as you globalize

If a business wants to be global, they need to hire locally. This is the most popular way of making sure that their product and customer experience can successfully accommodate outside of their home market.

Local markets are often underserved by larger companies. To help them, consider partnering with someone who is already in the local market and training him on corporate culture.

When you’re looking for a candidate to represent your company in another country, it’s important that they understand the cultural differences and changing market. Someone who would be perfect back home might not work out as well there.

Some trust needs to be established with your first hires, since it may take time for you to understand what they’re looking for in team members and why. It can also help if you’re well versed in the country’s business and cultural norms.

The culture of a country can vary greatly from region to region. Compare the U.S., where people in different regions might have very different ways of behaving, or Argentina, which has urban and rural areas.

Salespeople should never make assumptions, and we need to remember that just because they share the same nationality as a prospect does not mean their work habits are similar.

Companies need to be cognizant of cultural norms when designing their product or service.

It’s important to know the market opportunity and cultural nuances before opening a new branch in another country.

Put it into action:

  • When hiring in a new market, it’s always best to ask someone who lives there about what customs you should be aware of.
  • There are many different cultures, so take this into account when you do your hiring.
  • It’s important to find out if the candidate will be a good fit for your company before you recruit them. This is especially true when it comes to culture.

Identifying cultural differences in new markets and using them in the sales process

When you are expanding your business, it is important to think about how the expansion will affect hiring. You have two options: either hire locally or use online resources.

Employers of Record will help you recruit and hire quickly, which is good for your business because it helps with the localization process. It also means that they’ll provide culturally sensitive support to global teams.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.