In my over 30 years of selling across cultures, I have learned that gaining respect and trust are crucial in building long-term customer relationships. In some cultures, we sell our product by interacting with the customer, meeting customer needs or solving business issues and, if time permits, we may build a deeper personal relationship. I might call this “The McDonald’s Drive Thru Approach.”
In most cultures across the world, the customer demands we build our relationship over time (or through a trusted referral) so we are trusted enough to discuss customer issues or needs. The B2B sales person then can present solutions to help the customer organization to be successful. This could be called “The 8 Course Chinese Sumptuous Dinner Approach.”
Knowing the do’s and don’t when selling across cultures can be tricky. So I use the time tested DISC behavior styles. Using DISC helps one eliminate cultural biases or country prejudices in global B2B selling. Instead, I interact with my customer by first being aware of my DISC communication style, recognize and appreciate the customer’s DISC communication style and then build a respectful relationship from there based on healthy win-win communication.
All of us are a combination of the four DISC styles, some evident or less prominent when we communicate with others. Here’s an overview of the four DISC styles with key words to describe each:
D – Dominant. Challenge Orientated, Assertive, Visionary, Quick, Impatient
I – Influence. Persuasive, Trusting, Optimistic, Talkative, Poor Listener
S – Steady. Friendly, Steady, Harmonious, Logical, Team Player, Serve others
C – Compliant. Analytical, Conscientious, Maintain Quality, Cool, Critical
This simple method of employing DISC styles has always helped me bridge the “Great Divide” of moving my B2B sales interaction from transactional selling to consultative selling based on navigating for mutual respect and trust across cultures:
I learned this process from Dr. Bill Bonsetter, the president and founder of TTI Success Insights in Phoenix, Arizona. He relates a simple story of how sales people that practice this DISC formula of communicating to build mutual respect and trust leads to more sales. The underlying principle is simple, “Birds of a feather like to buy from each other.” When you communicate in a way that appeals and relates to the way your customer communicates, they listen, they interact, they problem solve, they accept you and your solutions, and they buy.
Your B2B sales journey employing DISC builds trusting customer relationships rather than a product push, a probing interrogation, or a price debate. Using DISC may also help you strategize if you should drive through “McDonalds” with some customers, or step into the restaurant for the “8 Course Meal” to secure the sale.
To help you to better sell across cultures, you first need to identify your own DISC selling style. As Socrates said, “Know thyself!” Be aware and use your DISC selling communication style effectively. I offer a +20 page in depth DISC Selling Style Report to help you sell better. If you want more information on how to get your own personalized report, send us an email.
Secondly, you can download our DISC Behavioral Selling Skills Chart compiled by TTI Success Insights that guides the B2B sales person on how to use his/her DISC style to relate, communicate, problem solve with the different DISC customer styles.
I am honored to answer your queries or respond to your feedback to assist you on becoming a truly global B2B sales person that builds customer relationships across cultures. It’s a global marketplace! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.