Is Selling the Same in Western Culture & Asian Culture?

The act of selling has been around ever since the start of civilisation. Long ago many of our ancestors started barter trading where goods were exchanged for other goods. At first, barter trading seemed like a good way of buying goods. However, it soon became very difficult to quantify and compare the values among the goods. Around 5000 B.C, metal objects were introduced as money. This created a path towards the introduction of currency & creating a monetized value for the goods. In the 1700s to 1800s, the Industrial Revolution had changed the way selling was made. Sales people often made exaggerated claims on their products in order to sell to their customer, without knowing the core of their customers’ needs. Nevertheless, during the 1900s, sales people were encouraged to understand their customers’ needs first while gaining their trust, before selling.

In the world today, not many have realized how sales have evolved throughout the centuries. It has become the heartbeat of every company, who is selling either a product or service. It is therefore important to have a good understanding of selling as it could very well make or break a company.

One way to do so is to learn about the complexities of selling in different cultures. Throughout the centuries, sales people have perceived sales in different ways. They have created a certain meaning & attitude towards sales based on the culture they were raised in. The act of selling in Western culture differs from that in Asian culture. For instance, people in Asian culture put more emphasis on building relationship and trust, or guan xi in Mandarin. Sales people there tend to spend most of their time creating relationships first before they can even close the sales. On the other hand, those in Western cultures tend to go straight into their business transactions. Building trust and relationships could come later, usually after the transaction is made. There are even inconsistencies in selling techniques within the geographical region due to further breakdown of cultural diversities.

Although many have written about selling, especially on selling in the Western culture, there are still many questions left unanswered for the Asian culture. Therefore, we have decided to write the next few chapters on “Sales in Asia” in the upcoming weeks. We wanted to fine tune the sellers’ profile and their sales process towards the Asian culture. This will help those who wish to understand better, the intricacies of selling in Asia. What do you think are the differences in selling under the Asian context?

Related Articles: Introduction of Amos, the Asian Salesman

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