How many times in sales have you heard phrases like, ‘Just give me a ballpark quote’ or ‘You hit a home run with that lead’?
Greg Zapletnikov is a Sales Representative at Grammarly, an online grammar and spell checking platform. When Greg was first starting out in his career in Ukraine, he was taught to use baseball analogies to ‘relate’ to his American prospects.
English isn’t Greg’s first language. Or his second, actually. It’s his third. Proving the only language you need to know is the one your buyer speaks.
As we dive into the importance of understanding cultural differences when it comes to sales, I know the struggle firsthand. As my [American] family and I spent the past 10 months traveling the world, we have had to adapt to dozens of different cultures.
Greg knows how to adapt. He researches prospects, from Japan to Australia to China, to make sure he knows the person on the other end before he picks up the phone.
So, how can you ‘break the code’ when it comes to selling to prospects with a different background from your own?
- Speak a Common Language: As Greg was learning to sell, he was taught baseball idioms like ‘batting 1.000,’ ‘drop the ball,’ ‘be in the ballpark,’ and of course, ‘touch base.’ But to many of you listening, these phrases no longer have anything to do with the game because they’ve been so ingrained into our normal lexicon. What words or phrases might you be using that make no sense to your prospect? Greg gave the example of the literal translation of ‘How are you?’, a throwaway phrase we use in America that would make an Eastern European tell you all about their life.
- Get Your Prospect to Come to Their Own Conclusion: Think about the last time you felt like you were sold something. I’m not talking about when you last bought something, but truly felt sold. How long did it take for buyer’s remorse to set in? In every sales cycle, you should make it your goal for your prospect to find your value prop on their own terms. I like to do this by turning my statements into questions, where the answer from the prospect becomes what I wanted to say.
- Make the Sales Process as Simple as Possible: Regardless of the sales methodology you use, whether it be SPIN or Challenger or Customer Centric, it’s important to make the process itself as simple as you can for both you and your prospect. As you adapt the methodology to find your own selling style, you should be able to determine which parts come naturally to you and what needs to be adjusted or even removed.