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Cross Cultural Negotiations

by Bare Brilliance

I received a call from a client last week to ask for some support with his Sales Teams negotiations. The team were finding it really difficult as they had just started working with a new organisation based in Asia. In the most recent sales pitch they thought that everything was going really well as the client kept saying yes, yes after every key point and demonstrating positive ‘looking to buy’ body language. At the end of the pitch the team was frustrated when the client walked away with no sale. My client wanted to know what he could do to help his team understand their clients better and to learn more about the cultures they were working with. It’s important for these sales reps to know that an affirmation at each point is only showing a sign of understanding of what is being said and not a positive buying sign. Sharing my experience working with people in these countries allowed my client to go back immediately to their team and provide some coaching and we’ve been able to organise a virtual training session with someone who has lived and worked in that country for over 15 years.

Global business is fast and competitive and for you and your team to be successful competing in a multi-national organisation you need to be aware of your environment and learn more about the people you are doing business with. Working globally can be challenging particularly understanding the different cultural elements that underlie any business discussion or meeting.

What is communicated, how it is communicated, how people think and behave during negotiations can differ across cultures. Understanding, accepting and respecting the cultural values of other parties is critical to your success.

There are many different factors that influence cross cultural negotiations. As you enter into this stage of preparing for your negotiation have you stopped to think about the following:

Motivation – what are the interests and the goals that each party is trying to achieve?

Power Distance/Authority – Some cultures place a very high importance on the authority or hierarchy between two individuals. Do you have the correct person sitting at the table to represent your team?

Time can also be a key factor to negotiation with different cultures. Are you from a relaxed culture where being on time is not critical? Do you know the impact that this may have on other parties who come from a culture where being late is considered rude or not responsible?

Communication – researching and understanding how different cultures communicate in these situations will result in a successful result. There are many styles to look out for, the direct straight to the point, the story teller, the person who answers yes at each stage and finally says no to the crucial point… Have you experienced a situation like this? Would you know how to interact and what to do next?

That’s where The Learning Factor can help you make life simpler. We have a number of programs that you can access either for your team or for yourself to learn more about different cultures and how to interact, communicate and negotiate a successful outcome.

Click on this link to learn more about our Cross Cultural Collaboration Program: