Tapping Your Sales Team to Win the Asian American Customer

February 14, 2017

One of the most direct and easiest ways for companies to realize incremental revenue is by leveraging their existing sales organization to gain Asian American business. Companies may not know it, but I would bet that if they looked closely enough, they will find members of their sales team that have Asian language skills. These hidden gems can open up a whole new stream of revenue for the company.

We have found that employees with multi-language skills are more than willing to tap those skills as long as they get the recognition and the critical support from the company to help them succeed. More often than not, these are active members of their respective communities and so have valuable insights as to how to approach the new market.

Once you have conducted an audit of your sales team and have identified staff members with the relevant Asian language skills, you want to organize and support them in ways that would help them succeed. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Create an Asian Sales affinity group. Empower them to participate in planning and sharing best practices. By getting them involved in developing strategies in winning the Asian consumer for the company, there will be a greater sense of purpose and urgency.
  2.  Establish dedicated in-language customer service to capture sales opportunities. This can be offline – such as a customer service hotline; or online – such as a microsite with a shop page.
  3.  Equip Asian sales team with relevant in-language sales tools; these could be translated sales collateral, sell sheets, “How To” videos on a YouTube channel, downloadable FAQs, newsletters, etc. Make your stores more welcoming by incorporating in-language signage, and using name tags that identify Asian language-speaking sales team members.
  4. Tap into cultural sales windows such as Lunar New Year or Diwali, with timely promotions; focus on products that are relevant to Asian sensibilities.

In addition, you may want to think about ways to help your sales team generate sales leads by arming them with trading area intelligence and networking forums. Asian communities across the United States offer a wealth of possibilities for opening doors to business opportunities if you know where to look. For medical or pharmaceuticals products, there are Asian pharmacies, Asian doctors’ associations and events, and community health organizations; for marketers of business services, there are local chambers of commerce, Asian small business associations, and community business development groups; for educational products, there are community centers, in-language schools, cram schools and community events that offer a conduit to families with children–you get the idea.

Whether or not you have a ready staff of in-language proficient sales persons, you should not miss the opportunity to tap into your partners’ organizations to help bolster your Asian market sales team. Do you have a distribution or channel partner? They may have the capability to help you gain traction in the Asian American market. Work with them to identify the relevant personnel and other assets they have, and then develop a plan to tap into them. Provide them with the tools that will make it easy for them to sell your products to Asian Americans. Again, think translated sales collateral, sell sheets, “How To” videos on a YouTube channel, downloadable FAQs, newsletters, etc.

As you activate your Asian American market sales program, you may have a need to hire in-language speaking salespeople to augment your sales team. There are numerous resources that can help you do that. In-language media (both online and offline), community-based professional organizations, and community events all offer low-cost and efficient ways for recruitment efforts. Of course, recruitment can also be achieved through referrals and channel affiliates.

Regardless of the category you are in — automotive, healthcare, home improvement, travel, real estate, or financial services — don’t leave money on the table. There are easy steps you can take to engage Asian American consumers. By being smart about tapping into your existing workforce and assets, you stand to gain from the fastest growing multicultural market in the U.S. today.