Successful Corporate Cross Cultural Selling Over the Phone

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By Ron S. LaVine, MBA and Founder of Accelerated Sales Training, Inc.

Many sales reps are already successful using the phone to sell, however they can become even more successful by adding a few simple phrases during their business conversations. Sometimes the simplest ideas get overlooked.

Over the years I’ve had the distinct opportunity to deliver training in Australia, Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland and the USA. There are two universal phrases I use constantly when I’m selling. The use of these phrases work across all cultures over the phone.

The first, is say “Maybe you can help me.” The second is “Do you have a moment or two?”

Use the first, which is a statement, to uncover the decision maker. Use the second, which is a question, once you reach the decision maker as a sign of respect and politeness.

After you introduce yourself to the decision maker, clearly and pleasantly, be sure to confirm you’ve reached the correct person who is the actual decision maker. If the answer is no, then ask directly and politely “Who is responsible (for your solution)?” Do not say: “Could you possibly please…?” or Might you be able to tell me…?”

If the answer is yes, then quickly follow up with a respectable request for a moment or two of their time by asking “Do you have a moment or two?” A moment is an undefined length of time.

It can be 10 seconds or 10 minutes and is often the latter or even more time if you are calling to inform the decision maker of:

  • A new technology,
  • How to solve a problem that others like them have incurred,
  • How to do something their currently doing only better.

Keep in mind, people buy from people they know, like and trust and like means similar to themselves. Most decision makers have reached the position they have attained by being polite and respectful in their careers.

Successful Corporate Cross Cultural Selling Over the Phon

Therefore it follows they need to be treated using these simple, common sense requests. It goes without saying that “please” and “thank you” should also be staples in your business conversations.

So next time you’re phone prospecting, remember politeness and respect go across all cultures so use them liberally in sales and in life.

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