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3 Ways to Better Serve the Multicultural Consumer

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By the Gonzales Group

RISMEDIA, June 12, 2008-Assuming that you have seen and realize the economic opportunities that exist in the changing demographics of the U.S., the question that often follows is: where do you begin?

Do not get left behind by not capitalizing on more than 30% of the U.S. population that is ethnically diverse. The Gonzales Group works to demystify and guide you through the process to help you garner your economic share.

Just by the sheer numbers and economic indicators, it is now a competitive disadvantage if your business is not accommodating the multicultural consumer (Hispanics, African-American, and Asian) into your business model. To successfully accommodate this change, some adaptations must take place within your organization.

1. Push the Pencil

Do the homework if you are really committed to growing your multicultural business. Get a head start by investing time, effort, and resources to better understand your targeted multicultural consumer. Make it a habit to keep on learning about their cultures, demographics, immigration trends, and idiosyncrasies. Find resources such as online magazines, newspapers, and TV networks/programs that expose you to a broader audience. Gain as much cultural knowledge prior to undertaking an initiative that targets multicultural customers.

Once you identify your customer, show them you are there to help guide them and that you care. In the real estate industry, having one successful transaction with a multicultural customer opens the door to enormous potential for referrals.

2. Have a bicultural & bilingual staff

Even if your Latino client speaks English, be aware that they may be more at ease conducting the mortgage, banking, or insurance components of the transaction in their native language. It is important to recognize that simple fact and have at least one bilingual member of your staff well versed in Spanish as well as in English. This will have a big impact on your business.

The person who acts as your liaison should also understand the culture. They must have a pulse on the Latino customer and know what to avoid and be able to culturally connect and interact with all parties involved. Look for professionals who understand cultural nuances and that can manage situations to avoid any misunderstandings. Individuals, who can see the positive attributes of different cultures, realize the benefit to both the customer and the business’ bottom line.

3. Avoid stereotypes

Among Latinos, be aware that there are subcultures within the culture. The culture has low-income, first generation, Spanish-dependent speakers, wealthy individuals, 4th or 5th generation consumers, and white-collar professionals that may have limited or no Spanish speaking skills.

Remember that not everyone that is Latino is Mexican. There are various layers of complexity including, country of origin and multiple levels of acculturation.

Don’t discount the face of diversity. Ask questions and carefully listen to the Multicultural customer in order to adapt and react to the opportunity that presents itself both relationally and economically.

For more information, visit www.thegonzalesgroup.com.

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