Social Cues

By AARON CROWE, Contributing Writer

Knowing correct social cues can pay off when working with homebuyers from around the globe. It’s all about manners. Don’t touch your nose when dealing with Brits. Shake hands warmly with Brazilians.  Have a gift ready for a Japanese client.

Such moves pay off, since the overseas set often has deep pockets. International buyers purchased $102.6 billion of residential property in the United States for the year ended this past March, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors. U.S. real estate has tremendous appeal among foreign nationals, who often pay all cash and sometimes pay up to $50,000 more than the median price of U.S. existing-home sales, the report found.

Trying to attract such international clients with a straightforward negotiating style that might work well in America can backfire. So be sensitive to social cues.

Using the correct business social cues

The licensed loan officers at loanDepot’s retail division-imortgage want to make sure you’re as successful as possible, so here are social cues to keep in mind when working with clients from around the globe:

Have the right touch: In Great Britain, tapping your nose can indicate you’re discussing a secretive matter, and doing it unconsciously can create confusion. It’s a sign you know something that you’re not sharing. In Asian cultures, the gesture can mean you’re talking about yourself.

Handle it well: Giving a thumbs-up sign to an American means approval. Not so in many other regions.  Giving thumbs up to someone in Iran, Greece, Sardinia and parts of South America and West Africa can be interpreted terribly, as bad as flipping someone the finger.

Get ahead: Nodding your head commonly means yes and shaking your head means no – at least in America and many other countries. Then again, in some countries it’s the opposite.

In Greece, for example, tilting the head to the left and then to the right means yes. Tilting the head up and back means no. In Bulgaria and Albania, nodding means no, with a headshake yes.. Saudi Arabians shake their heads to say yes and tip the head back to say no.

Reach out: A handshake is practically accepted universally as a greeting, but delivering it can be tricky. Warm, personal handshakes are common in Brazil and Mexico. A strong handshake is fine in the U.S., but should be light in the U.K.

Some countries have etiquette guidelines when men shake hands with women. In Australia, a woman shaking a man’s hand should offer her hand first, and women there don’t shake hands with other women. In Morocco, only people of the same gender shake hands gently, while in Russia a man should kiss a woman’s hand and not shake it.

Have the right presents: Gift-giving is traditional and important in Japan. That goes for business relationships too. Stores in the Land of the Rising Sun make it easy with their omiyage, a term for a gift or souvenir to give to friends, family and co-workers when you return from a trip. Omiyage packages are beautifully wrapped and decorated, often containing sweet treats.

Whether you’re working with foreign customers in the U.S. or around the world, pay attention to what you say, the body language you use and what you present. It could be the difference in getting a deal done.

For more information on these and other business tips, reach out to your colleagues at loanDepot’s retail division-imortgage at (877) 431-0100.