Importance of cutural awareness for business people
Topic: The importance of cultural awareness for business people. Giveexample. Global marketing presents a tremendous opportunity but is also a challenge.Most world trade either originates-or is purchased-in North America, Europe andthe Middle East, and Japan and the Pacific Rim. To succeed in these markets, salesmanagers and sales teams need to understand how such factors as geography,culture, technology, and legal systems impact on business. The subtlest of these influences is culture because we each perceive our ownculture as normal and are puzzled when we meet unexpected behavior that stemsfrom different cultural standards. By developing cross-cultural awareness we canbegin to understand different perspectives, to adapt our own behavior so that werespect local cultures, to suspend judgment of what is normal or better and, usingthis knowledge, adapt our sales campaigns and business interactions to specificlocalities and situations instead of assuming that one approach will workeverywhere.Sales people need to: o Understand how culture affects behavior and business o Understand the key cultural dimensions o Raise their awareness of their personal culture o Understand how their cultural preferences can clash with others behavior. o Identify key skills and competencies for international sales success o Be aware of the major traps and how to avoid them.
Sales management is heavily influenced by culture, and in the globalbusiness environment it is important to understand the cultural forces that shapeand affect the interactions between salespeople and customers. Sensitivity tocultural differences can enhance the chances of success. If a salespersonapproaches a meeting with knowledge of the customers cultural background, thentheir words, actions, and body language can all be adapted to enhance thelikelihood of a positive reception and the development of a long-term profitablerelationship with that customer. Global salespeople can, however, easily meet resistance from customers indifferent cultures. Often this is simply due to not understanding the dos and dontsof interacting with different cultures. Understanding how to act in most culturesmay be the difference between closing a sale and losing a customer. For example,gestures, facial expressions, the way you greet or address somebody can all have anegative effect as can not understanding how sales literature, advertising andbranding are perceived. Here are some specific mistakes to avoid in certain cultures. Of course, yourhosts will probably make allowances for you as a foreigner, but if you can showthat you have taken the trouble to learn and respect their standards of behavior, youwill create a much more positive impression: Greet people and use your right hand when eating and drinking. Do not useyour left hand to hold, offer, or receive materials. Do not cross your legs whensitting or show the soles of your feet. The thumbs-up sign is rude. Do not inquireabout a mans wife or female relations.
China. Never refuse to drink tea during business meetings, even if you are offered dozens of cups each day. Present materials in black and white because colors may have special meanings. Never eat or drink before your host. France. The French normally do not meetuntil after 10:00 a.m. Do not offer to meet for abusiness breakfast. Meals are a ritual and should notbe rushed. Germany. Do not address a business associateby their first name unless you are invited to do so.Do not chew gum while talking to somebody. Dontbe late as it is considered an insult. Latin America. The clock is not takenseriously, so do not schedule more than twomeetings during the day. Japan. Do not blow your nose in public. Do not point. Do not raise businessissues on the golf course unless your host initiates the conversation. The Japanesedo not like to say no directly, so even if they say yes, they may mean no. Do notpour yourself a drink. Take special care in handling business cards that are given toyou. Do not write on the card. Do not put the card in you pocket or wallet, as eitherof these actions will be viewed as defacing or disrespecting the business card.Examine the card carefully as a show of respect. Mexico. Do not send red or yellow flowers as a gift; these colors areassociated with evil spirits and death.
Philippines. Rather than disagree with someone, people will say Yes, butthis can have many meanings. Criticism should never be direct, but should beoffered as softly as possible. Cultural gaffes can occur at any point in a sales campaign. Sales literature,advertising and brand names can be danger areas and can easily cause your productto fail: Mitsubishi Motors of Japan tried marketing their popular Pajero car in theSpanish market but were baffled by their lack of success. Pajero is slang in Spanishfor masturbation. Fiat found that they had to rename their Uno when selling it in Finland. Unomeans garbage in Finnish. When Toyota Motor Company releasedtheir popular MR2 sports car in France, theyencountered a problem MR2 was pronouncedas em er deux, which loosely translates toyou little little shit. FORD also learned the hard way whenthey introduced the Pinto car in Brazil, whichwas replaced by a different name when theylearned that Pinto is Brazilian slang for tinymale genitals. Pepsi Corporations marketing slogan Come Alive with Pepsi was firsttranslated into the Chinese as Pepsi brings your dead ancestors back to life. Thesame slogan was also translated into German as: Come out of the grave with Pepsi. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in anAmerican campaign: Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.Using animals for product imagery is risky:A U.S. deodorant found great success in the U.S. with their advertisement showingan octopus using the product under each of its eight arms. When shown in Japan,however, it was a flop; the Japanese consider an octopus to have eight legs ratherthan eight arms. A U.S. marketing firm found that while a deer was a sign of masculinity inthe U.S., it conveyed a different image in Brazil, where deer is slang forhomosexual.
Another company erred when it chose an owl as part of its promotionalefforts in India. Indians view the owl as a symbol of bad luck. When we see the mistakes others have made we may well laugh, but we arenot amused if we are the ones with egg on our faces. It is essential to research theculture before you localize your product information.