Do you know which foreign real estate clients are tough negotiators?

What we value in US is not the same as in other countries

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Read Part 1.

How does the American buying code differ from that of other countries? Today’s column has a quick quiz to help you identify the key values that differentiate buyers and sellers from different countries.

Flags image via Shutterstock.
Flags image via Shutterstock.

Part 1 of this series examined the characteristics that make American buyers unique. This included the notion that bigger is better, independence and individuality are core values, and that Americans want a safe place to retreat from the stress of modern life.

To see how well you recognize important key differentiators between the United States and other countries, take the quiz below:

1. In this country, class matters, but never ask about a person’s profession. In terms of their cars and their houses, they like them “fully loaded.” They are detached, unimpressed with status, and find staring at strangers to be intrusive.

2. Family and machismo are the two dominant cultural values.

3. The primary language in this country is Portuguese. They are “polychronics” to whom time is unimportant. Most people from this country own their own homes, and renting is rare.

Don’t be surprised if your Brazilian clients run quite late or become distracted with outside interruptions during your showings. Nevertheless ... they are high-probability home purchasers."

4. In this country, avoid making direct eye contact. “Face” matters and they almost never say “no.”

5. Many people from this country will avoid looking at a house that has a “4” in the address; however, “8” is considered to be lucky. Interdependence, honor and respect are important.

6. People from this country are risk-averse, see compromise as weakness, and hate doing business digitally. They believe “big is beautiful,” revere the old, and are pessimistic. When they negotiate, their beginning position is always “no.”

7. This English-speaking country places high value on education and extended family. The women don’t shake hands. “Yes” means I will try my best, not that they will be able to do it. A side-to-side headshake indicates agreement. They are linear thinkers who don’t follow the rules.

8. According to psychologist and marketer Clotaire Rapaille, the buying code for this country is “learning and culture.” They want what is pleasurable, including the finest food, elegant clothing, and most refined fragrances. They prefer what is useless that others cannot enjoy.

Here are the answers:

1. The United Kingdom
Many Americans are surprised to learn that the British are highly offended when someone asks about their career or how much money they make. In terms of what they will purchase, they want high quality. Rapaille’s research also shows that they want their houses and cars to be “fully loaded” with the latest gadgets and technology.

2. Latin America
In Latin American countries, family comes first. Machismo dominates. Women are caregivers, and the men protect and provide for the women and children. There are two subgroups. The first subgroup combines these values with European culture. These countries include Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.

The second group is based more upon the indigenous people’s culture, including Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Latin American buyers are willing to compromise on property features to be closer to their loved ones and to be active in their local community.

3. Brazil
Brazil is a Portuguese-speaking country that also has strong European and African influences. Time is unimportant to them. What matters most is relationship, especially with family. Don’t be surprised if your Brazilian clients run quite late or become distracted with outside interruptions during your showings. Nevertheless, since they place a very high value on homeownership, they are high-probability home purchasers.

4. Japan
When you work with Japanese buyers, familiarize yourself with how they take and receive business cards. Hold the card in both hands and study it carefully. Place it in a beautiful cardholder rather than in your pocket or wallet.

The Japanese also don’t make direct eye contact. When someone who is Japanese nods, it merely means that you have been heard rather than they are agreeing with you. Moreover, they will almost never tell you “no.” Instead, they will say, “It is difficult” or “perhaps.” The Japanese also value precision and perfection.

5. China
People from China believe that “4” is an unlucky number while “8” can bring luck and prosperity. As one client from Hong Kong explained, “Our homes must reflect harmony, but they are also a way to display our wealth and success. A man’s level of success is judged by the home he provides for his family, as well as the jewelry and clothes that he provides for his wife.” Education is held in high esteem throughout the Far East. Consequently, schools and the prestige of the area are critical.

6. Russia
If you are dealing in the ultraluxury market, your high-probability buyers for your most expensive properties will often be Russian. They want the best properties in the very best locations. Business is conducted face to face and often involves tea, a full dinner, drinks, and then a business discussion. Like Americans, they believe “big is beautiful.” On the other hand, they hate doing business digitally, are pessimistic, and will begin almost every negotiation with the word “no.” Be prepared for a long negotiation and a lot of “no’s” before you get to a “yes.”

7. India
Even though people from India speak English, they are culturally quite different from Americans. Like people from many other Asian countries, Indian buyers want the best possible schools for their children. They also typically purchase very large properties to accommodate large extended families. They tend to dress simply and avoid displaying their wealth. The women don’t shake hands. “Yes” means I will try my best. A side-to-side headshake indicates agreement.

8. France
According to Rapaille, the buying code for France is “learning and culture.” Stress what is unusual, refined and different. By the way, it’s never a large garage or a big refrigerator.

What is the best way to negotiate with your global clients? Don’t miss Part 3 of this series.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.


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