Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Christopher Bellamy


global selling, cross-cultural sales, culturally adaptive selling, foreign customers, global technology sales




Successful selling relies heavily upon effective communication, mutual understanding, and other complex interpersonal dynamics. Accordingly, the highly unique qualities distinguishing North American culture from other global regions can create unique challenges for North American salespeople attempting to sell to non-US buyers from different cultural backgrounds, especially when competing against non-US salespeople. This study examined these challenges through a phenomenological framework to identify pattern cultural interactions and their consequences upon selling outcomes from the described cross-cultural sales experiences of twelve highly tenured North American technology salespeople who participated in this study. The observed phenomena were analyzed through a qualitative coding process to identify participant selling methods as well as relevant cultural disparities between themselves and their foreign prospects which may have conflicted with such methods to produce selling difficulties or sub-optimal outcomes. Analyses of participant interviews and qualitative questionnaire responses yielded observed patterns of selling behaviors involving, in order of prevalence, Communicating, Connecting, Consulting, Quarterbacking, Serving, Solving, Structuring, Teaching, and Understanding. Furthermore, consequential cultural interactions were most frequently identified across buyer-seller disparities involving Direct vs. Indirect communication, Assertiveness, Power Distance, and Universalism, while other moderate interactions were identified involving Specific vs. Diffuse work-life balance, Sequential vs. Synchronous views of time, and Collectivism. These identified cultural interactions were evaluated alongside the prevalent selling behaviors practiced by participants to determine relevant insights and potential implications for professional practice. From such implications, a recommended framework is proposed for adapting North American selling methods to befit non-US buyers from foreign cultural contexts.

Included in

Business Commons