We don't have these in Minnesota.

I don’t get out much.

Yet because of my profession and our beloved World Wide Web, I regularly come into contact with people from all over the world with software business challenges.

But to be honest I’ve never even been out of the country.

This week my oldest son is in Panama while I’m still thinking crossing the border to Okoboji, Iowa has the potential to be the “thrill of the year” this summer.

Looking back over the last 30 days I realized my team and I have sold software to companies in 3 different countries with a 4th anticipated in July.

So here are 4 sample conversations you can try if attempting to sell software to customers in the same countries as me (when all you really know how to say from Minnesota is “Ya Know?”):

1.  New customer from Canada:  “So you’re looking for a discount, eh?  Sure I can run that up the flagpole and see what the boss has to say.  But if I go to bat for you, we’re going to have a deal, eh?”  (Oh, Canada I love you and your “eh”).

Key word to stress: “eh”

2.  New customer from the United Kingdom:  “Ok, Simon – sounds good.  Thanks for your time.  What was that you said?  Cheers?  Were we toasting something?  Our new relationship?  Oh, no…I get it.  You’re just trying to wrap up the conversation and say good-bye.  I GET IT NOW!  Well, Cheers to you too then!

Key word to stress: “cheers”

3.  New customer from Australia:  “Do you have a kangaroo?  OK, well do you know somebody who has a kangaroo?   We have those in the zoo in Minnesota.  Their feet are HUGE.  Now, getting back to the software – did you say you had a P50 processor server?  Mate?

Key word to stress: “mate”

Key word to avoid: “kangaroo”

4.  New prospective customer from Ireland:  “Yes I can send you the license agreements.  Brilliant?  Well, I don’t know if I’d go that far…But our attorney does think they’re pretty good.  Oh, you just meant “sounds good” when you said “brilliant”?  I get it!  Well, keep saying that word to wrap up our random statements to each other because it’s making me feel GREAT every time you say it!

Key word to stress: “brilliant”

If that fails: “Guinness”

And for that time when the new customer doesn’t speak English?  Well, Google Translate has proven to be a life-saver many times over.  We have somewhat of a celebratory tradition by circulating an internal email after a foreign sale closes using a phrase in the customer’s native language.  So, since the last one in Canada spoke French it was:

Quelque chose le long des lignes de cheveux et les aisselles.

That reminds me – time to trim the unibrow.

What tricks have you learned to communicate more effectively to customers outside your geographical location?

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