Can You Close a Deal in Japan?

Last Updated Jul 3, 2009 8:52 AM EDT

For sales professionals accustomed the casual business culture of the United States, Japan presents unusual problems. While it's easy to memorize a list of "DOs and DON'Ts" the subtleties of business interactions are more difficult. Here's a quick way to test whether you "get" the difference between selling in the U.S. and selling in Japan.

Scenario: You're developing a sales opportunity in Japan and, for reasons outside your control, you need to close the deal NOW. Which of the three responses below would be considered, in Japan, a "hard sell" tactic:

  • CLOSE #1: "What do we need to do for you to make a decision today?"
  • CLOSE #2: "Are you interested in buying option one or option two?"
  • CLOSE #3: "I think we are all in agreement that it makes sense for us to investigate moving forward with some future planning. May I suggest that we set up another planning meeting, with the understanding that, as my company assigns resources, we may need a partial purchase order prior to the next meeting?"

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