The heart plays a more influential role in B2B sales than you might expect. Although business purchasing appears to be driven by logic and efficiency, it’s also made in the context of personal risk. The consequences of a poor choice can be serious. Prestige, reputation, and even livelihood itself can be threatened by a deal gone bad. With the weight of responsibility comes feeling. John Miller of Scribewise provides evidence that taking emotion into account in B2B marketing can give you an edge over the competition.
If you are expanding your business in foreign markets, this remains the case. But even if your overseas clients speak English fluently, you will reach them more effectively in their own language. Nelson Mandela, a native Xhosa speaker who rose to the presidency of South Africa, said,
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Mandela’s intuitive grasp of this truth has since been supported by research. It’s well established that global consumers are more likely to buy products that “speak their language,” and the principle applies in business purchasing as well. Common Sense Advisory surveyed decision-makers in 10 non-Anglophone countries and found a distinct preference for purchasing translated products, regardless of English proficiency. Quality localization brings a distinct competitive edge.
We also know that if material is presented in the second language of a decision-maker, the rational mind will prevail. Even if fluency is high in that language, decision-makers considering evidence presented in a second language rely more strongly on rationality and logic than emotion. According to these researchers, thinking in a second language provides “cognitive distance from automatic processes, promoting analytical thought and reducing unthinking, emotional reaction.” When your marketing material remains in English, you disengage from your overseas customer.
It is important to persuade B2B buyers of practical benefits such as cost and efficiency. However, if your competitors can reach both the hearts AND the minds of these buyers with skillfully translated materials, you will lag behind. Don’t miss out on an important element of B2B decision-making; work with a language partner to communicate effectively with potential clients around the globe.
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