Posted: February 16th, 2022

Cross-cultural business behavior summary



Cultural Differences in Real Estate Negotiation

Gone are the days when all it took to seal a real estate deal was looking a customer in the eye, a firm handshake, coffee, and a chat on trending news. Now, the United States of America houses different ethnic communities: Purchasing and owning homes. That has forced real estate companies to re-evaluate their strategy to secure diverse customers from the market pool (Rogers. D & Troy. L, 2021). This essay will touch on the components of a negotiation, cultural differences in negotiation, and tips to help you get ahead.

First things first, to negotiate is to communicate with someone to reach common ground. All negotiations, be it business or personal, have four basic components: Conditions, Common interest, Compromise, and Conflicting interests. Conditions are the necessary terms required for an agreement to be reached, common interests are the gives and takes that initiate a negotiation, and a conflicting interest is when the two parties do not agree with what the other has to offer (Rubin, J & Brown, B, 2013). In case of conflicting interests, there can be no deal unless there is a willingness to compromise. Scholars refer to those as the four Cs of Real Estate negotiations.

Different cultures negotiate and come to agreements in different ways. Therefore, understanding other cultures is important in facilitating effective negotiation ( Kaynak, E., & Herbig, P, 2014). A good place to start is checking your language, gestures, tone, and voice volume during negotiations. For instance, using informal language, slang, or addressing a client by their first name during negotiations is considered good in the USA. In other cultures, doing that is disrespectful.  Also, negotiations in the USA are often marked by eye contact and handshakes: Contrary to the Japanese culture that prefers bows and Middle East culture that discourages touch amongst unrelated individuals and frowns on eye contact. 

Secondly, different cultures handle and approach conflicting interests differently (Jackson, S,2011). For example, in the USA, people can express their different opinions and perspectives openly during a sales pitch. This is a sentiment shared by Russian and German cultures. However, in Mexican cultures, disagreeing openly is considered unprofessional, rude, and personal ( Gesteland, 2012). Last but not least, it’s important to consider the issue of legalities and contracts. In the US, lengthy documents are a business norm, while other cultures consider lengthy documents a sign of distrust. Business cards are also received differently depending on the culture: In Japanese culture, they are received with both hands and kept at sight during the meeting period. 

That being said, checking your negotiation strategy and tailoring it to suit a client’s cultural perspective goes a long way in driving sales (Gillespie, K., & Hennessey. K, 2015). Tips to ensure smooth sailing include: carrying out in-depth research on the different cultures, paying attention to the client’s emotional expression and response, taking cultural sensitivity lessons to gain a clear understanding, and learning to listen to understand rather than reply. These days, most companies are adapting by hiring employees from different cultural backgrounds. 

In conclusion, the real estate industry is expanding by the day to accommodate different cultures. In a rush to make sales, most agents and brokers mistake leading with the same strategy for all customers. That, in turn, yields poor results. Understanding different cultures, their belief system, taboos, perceptions, opinions, deadlines, and values are of uppermost significance. Luckily, various strategies to achieve that, such as taking lessons, have been put forth by scholars. 



Gesteland, R. R. (2012). Cross-cultural business behavior: A guide for global management. Copenhagen Business School Press DK.

Gillespie, K., & Hennessey, H. D. (2015). Global marketing. Routledge. 

Jackson, S. (2011). Organizational culture and information systems adoption: A three-perspective approach. Information and Organization21(2), 57-83.

Kaynak, E., & Herbig, P. (2014). Handbook of cross-cultural marketing. Routledge. 

Ma, X., Rogers, D., & Troy, L. (2021). Chinese property developers after the decline in foreign real estate investment in Sydney, Australia. Housing Studies, 1-20.

Rubin, J. Z., & Brown, B. R. (2013). The social psychology of bargaining and negotiation. Elsevier.




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