Marketing Highlight 202

and strategies in accordance with the rules of social and business etiquette of the country in which they are doing business.

Here, we look at the sales process and examine the ways in which business behaviour varies across the three large economies — Japan, China and the United States.


Preapproaeh — the entree


Direct contact usually acceptable at junior level; cold-calling is common; salesperson telephones contact in the company.


Indirect, slow process; best to write to foreign trade corporations in Beijing or their brand) offices, which act as intermediaries between their end-users and foreign firms; introductions via third parties/intermediaries (e.g. overseas offices, agents/ distributors in Hong Kong, Macau, Chinese embassies and liaison offices abroad); contact made ;it senior level.


Write to contact, hut expect slow response; third-party introduction is preferable; develop contacts via Japanese companies' representatives in own country; use acquaintances, embassies to facilitate introduction; contact made at senior level; cold-calling is inadvisable.

Opening - Brisk; get down to business the approach quickly; a confident, positive and business-like approach works well-, breakfast meetings are common; business cards are exchanged with little ritual

Assiduous preparation for talks; establish trust and friendship first; business cards are rarely distributed; contacts keep their status vague.

Assiduous preparation is the norm; introduction is a ritual, as is the exchange of business calling cards (nieisfti), which must be presented with both hands, and to contacts in order of descending status; bowing is common, but understand the ritual, which, again, is dictated by the seniority of individuals (handshakes will do when meeting Japanese busine.sspeople who arc used to dealing with westerners); avoid using first names - the family name should be used to introduce oneself.

Presentation and lit mo us mi t ions -die negotiations

Professional presentations are expected; tactical and straightforward styles are common; persuasion by logic is acceptable negotiating style; meetings involve a lot of talking, with details put down in writing later on.

Less formal: tends to be unstructured; can he exhaustive; expect lengthy decision making; important to exercise patience, courtesy and self-control; they find being shamed intolerable, blame, even more so; a lot of technical information is expected; a discount on the final offer is expeeted, so always insert a cushion in one's quotation from the start.

Negotiations tend to be formal; ensure a high-ranking official in the company initially meets with an equal In the Japanese firm; expect the process to be lengthy because the Japanese negotiators must reach a consensus before making a commitment; expect long periods of silence (this means they are thinking and waiting for others to digest the information, but it could be that you have embarrassed them); probe (get details to help formulate a proposal that fits their needs); push (try all angles to get across issues that concern them); when desired results are not reached, they do not show emotions, but 'panic in silence', so try to salvage your position without causing embarrassment/shame or dishonour; beware, they try to 'save face' and avoid conceding by postponing the negotiation for further study.


Objections from audience are

usually direct; the well-

prepared salesperson is

expected openly to

counterdefend objections.

Objections are indirect (Confucian philosophy stresses need for harmony); difficult points have to be smoothed using compromise.

Objections are indirect (Confucian philosophy stresses need for harmony); difficult points have to be smoothed using compromise.

Objections are often indirect; open resistance is rare; beware, do not assume yes or hai in Japanese means agreement as it can also mean '1 see', Til think about it' or 'I understand'; learn to read the objections - hesitancy in speech, facial expressions, unwillingness to be more specific, or silence are all signs of negative response.


Sales negotiator often asks

for an order directly; deft

footwork to persuade clients

is acceptable.

The persuasive approach could cause great embarrassment, so avoid defl footwork; they emphasize good faith over legal safeguards in the business relationship; learn to read

Again, tactical close and het'ly persuasion are alien to tins group; like the Chinese, the Japanese emphasize friendship, loyalty and trust — a successful close occurs when the prospects fee] the two parties non-verbal signals and ant as the situation arises.

have reached this state of mutual understanding.

non-verbal signals and ant as the situation arises.

have reached this state of mutual understanding.

Extra-business Breakfast and lunch meetings

Lavish entertainment is not

Entertainment is Ilie

activities are common; business

the norm; the giving of gifts is

foundation of Japanese

entertaining is moderate

not all that important, but, if

business; it never takes plaee in

(managers sec it as time

offered, they are nut seen as a

the executive's home and is

wasting and, if lavish, a hit


done invariably in the evening

dubious); there is minimal

rather than at lunch; present

celebration after the close.

giving is an established part of

business etiquette — so, come

prepared, and, when the

Japanese counterpart offers

gifts, it is rude to refuse them

SOURCES: Sergey Frank, 'Global negotiating'. A'afcs and Marketing Management (May 1992). pp. 64-9; John Saunders and Hon-Chung Ton, 'Selling lo Japan', Journal tif Kates Management, 1 (1984), pp. 9-15; John Saunders and Hon-Chung Tong, 'Selling to the People's Republic of China', Journal nf Sales Management, 1, 2 (1984), pp. 16-20; J.G. Morgan and J.J. Morgan, Cracking (he Japanese Market (New York: Free Press, 1991); F. Reinstein, 'Selling to Japan: we did it their way', Export Titday, 3, 3 (1987), pp. 19-24.

whether the buyer wants this model or that one, or point out to the buyer that he or she will lose out if the order is not placed now. The salesperson may offer the buyer special reasons to close, such as a lower price or an extra quantity at no charge,


The last step in the selling process - follow-up - is necessary if the salesperson wants to ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business. Right after closing, the salesperson should complete any details on delivery time, purchase terms and other matters. The salesperson should then schedule a follow-up call when the initial order is received to make sure there is proper installation, instruction and servicing. This visit would reveal any problems, assure the buyer of the salesperson's interest and reduce any buyer concerns that might have arisen since the sale.

follow-up The last step in the selling process, in tuhivh the salesperson foUows up after the sale to ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business.

• international. Selling

The typical sales process can be applied in international selling". However, intercultural trade always requires special efforts in tailoring sales and negotiation approaches (see Marketing Highlight 20.2).

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