Cross Cultural Selling

by Jacques Werth, Founder of High Probability Selling.  © 2003

I have traveled to Japan 9 times and sold tens of million of dollars of high technology production equipment to Japanese companies.  I also negotiated an agreement with one of Japan's largest manufacturers of automatic printed circuit board assembly equipment for one of my previous companies.  We became their exclusive distributor in North America.  That one deal resulted in over many millions in sales for our company.

Our present company [as of 2003], High Probability Selling (HPS), has an office in Osaka where we train Japanese salespeople in the HPS selling process.  We do change how we teach HPS to accommodate the Japanese.  However, the only changes we make are that we teach HPS in the Japanese language, and we do allow for the bowing that is a customary courtesy in Japan.  The Japanese language edition of HPS, by Forest Publishing Company of Tokyo, is now the best-selling sales book in Japan.

I've also visited and sold to companies in Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Malaysia, Korea, Taiwan, and China.  HPS works just fine in all of those countries without any significant changes for local customs and cultures.

While we have clients that we've trained in Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and South Africa via our Distance Learning program, I've only met them by telephone.  Obviously HPS works in those countries, if only with the salespeople who buy our training services.  Since they recommend HPS to their associates, we infer that it's probably working for them, too.

I know that most salespeople believe that their circumstances are very different and more difficult than the circumstances of most other salespeople.  In fact, we often hear from people throughout the USA that HPS might work okay for people in other regions of the country, but it won't work in New York, or the Midwest, or the deep south, or where ever they are from.  Yet, we've trained salespeople from almost every state in the USA, and it works equally well in all of them.

I don't mean to imply that HPS is perfect, or that it's the only sales process that is universally effective.  I just don't know that much about all of the other sales training programs.