SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE – Best Sales and Marketing Ideas #49

101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas

IDEA 49:


This section acknowledges that not all selling takes place in the home country of the sales person doing it. Some operations are multinational, and whatever the first language of their employees, many such companies have English as their “business languages”. However, if you are to create sufficient rapport with your overseas customers you may need to do more than simply speak to them in business English.


From website management company Attenda…

Attenda can provide its service to clients around the world from offices in United Kingdom, and has multilingual staff available 24 hours a day. However research showed that potential clients in Germany wanted to deal with a local company, and with German people. David Godwin, vice president, reckoned, “We are not big enough to buck the system,” so the company set up a German subsidiary. The people selling Attenda’s service there are German employee of what is positioned as a local company. Whatever other problems they may have in a competitive field, no cross-cultural problems should hamper their sales success.

Similarly, Princtronic International, Europe’s leading data-processing computer bureau, also has strong language capabilities. Its MD says, “despite English being the global business language our experience in Europe still point to national languages being the preferred choice [ of our customers]”. As always, it would seem that selling – in this case quite technical services – is dependent on clarity of explanation, and dealing with clients in the way they want to be dealt with.

In practice

  • Whether what are needed are just a few polite words at the start of a meeting, or the conduct of the whole sales process, if it is done in the language of the customer it is sure to be appreciated.
  • There is obviously some effort involved here, but there should be a worthwhile payoff. Your business circumstance will dictate what you need to do.

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