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Selling To Chinese Customers

In a normal situation, what advice can be offered for selling to Chinese customers, taking into account the cultural differences? More and more Chinese customers do speak English.

You need to sell yourself first, before selling your products. The key is your capability to quickly establish confidence in you. And it’s not really any more difficult to establish a relationship with a Chinese customer than with any other. It is about showing empathy, generosity and sincerity. Respect is important and might be one of the key differences.

Converse with and behave naturally is my second piece of advice. More and more Chinese customers do speak English. But you can learn a few Chinese sentences, like Marie did, to be able to communicate and show respect to your Chinese customers. But never pretend that you can speak a little Chinese, unless you are very proficient. Unfortunately, for most of us, it is easier and better to learn to speak English fluently. Always speak clearly and slowly enough to allow your customer to understand what you are saying.

Golden Rule Corner

Speak slowly and simply in English. More and more Chinese tourists understand English if you make an effort to make it easier.

Accept with intelligence cultural differences and other personal behavior. Your customer may seem rude when they speak, in a rustic way, or when they handle your Luxury creations. They may not understand the etiquette in Luxury goods. You may be surprised that they can behave in a certain way. This is a sentiment of superiority and one to absolutely avoid. Most of these customers are highly educated, with strong leadership positions. They are not impressed by Luxury— for many of these customers, the items are to be used in daily life.

Being extremely courteous is always necessary. You need to be aware of a few important rules. Firstly, never become too familiar. A client is a client even when he treats you like a friend. Never make the mistake of taking your client for a friend. If your client is a particularly friendly client, still make sure you avoid getting into conversations of a private nature unless your Chinese customer offers such information. Wait for him to tell you and if he does, be sure to remember what he told you. The second rule is to not be in too much of a hurry. Let things come naturally; time is the best facilitator.

Some sales advisors have the impression that it is difficult to know what the Chinese customer’s decision is. It is pretty simple. Chinese customers never commit unless they are absolutely sure about their decision. If they are sure, they will tell you. And if they are not sure yet, they will never say yes and you have to keep selling. The same expectation applies to you: if you are not fully sure, don’t commit.

I also hear that Chinese customers do not say no. Chinese customers do say no like everyone else and most sales advisors simply do not know how to detect the no. Some expressions that mean no are:

“It’s okay, thank you.”

“No need for the moment, thank you.”

“That’s all for the moment, thank you.”

“I need to leave now, thank you.”

When a customer has already said no, you can always try but you need to find another angle-another product or a different way to keep the conversation going.

Understanding what a Chinese customer is really telling you will come with more experience.

Build a Relationship With Your Chinese Customers

Despite the language barrier, it is always possible to build a long-term relationship with a Chinese customer. All you need is a WeChat account, they will easily exchange their contact details with you via your WeChat account. They are generally very happy to have foreign contacts and will even help to introduce new clients to you that may be visiting your city.

I also suggest you go the extra mile for your Chinese customers. In the Chinese culture, there is a great sense of gratitude and they will always reciprocate one way or another to thank you for the additional and personal service you provided.

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