SEVEN POINTS ON SELLING TO THE HISPANIC CONSUMER
Hispanic Marketing 101 – Chapter 5
Al Vasquez/CEO Hispanic Image Marketing Network, Inc.
The emphasis on achieving financial success is a key to understanding how to reach the Hispanic consumer market. The prime reason for immigration, sacrifice, work ethic and family cohesiveness is derived from a keen desire to live a better life. Providing greater opportunities for their families and children are all related to the goal of achieving the “American Dream.” It should come as no surprise in understanding the appearance of financial success manifests through an accumulation of products that are impossible to afford in their homeland. Ricardo Lopez, in Hispanic USA writes, “Many Latinos spend money on previously unaffordable products such as consumer electronics including large-screen TV’s, DVD players, home computers, or expensive cell phones. In addition, many new immigrants buy their own house as a symbol of success to show relatives visiting from home.”
Along with this desire to acquire the symbolic trappings of success, comes the psychological need to be convinced, they made the right decision in coming to America. They convince themselves by buying the finest products and services. This is where Brand loyalty comes in for Hispanics in wanting to feel they can afford the best, which is a point of pride. These deductions are not just speculation they come from research and documented statistics.
So, how do I sell to the multi-billion dollar Hispanic consumer market?
1. Get involved in the local Hispanic community. Do not send “token” Hispanic representatives who are well meaning but do not truly speak for or represent your business. The leadership must get involved.
2. Understand the Hispanic culture from a consumer and employee point of view. Take the time to develop trust, build relationships.
3. Deal with the reality of “credit history.” We are all born with no credit history. Yet, according to Hispanic Research, “Immigrants are automatically treated as if they have negative credit, because they lack sufficient histories. The general consensus; Hispanics are among the most reliable borrowers, but don’t get a fair deal.” Businesses who deal in credit must start changing the false stereotype mindset of lenders and partner with consumers and Hispanic Chambers to do so.
4. Hire a bilingual receptionist. That person is usually your first line of contact. Establish contacts with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for referrals of bilingual personnel.
5. Focus on bilingual availability in the other areas where they come in contact with the consumer. Sales, service and tech departments. Do you want to be monolingual in English and be right, or do you want to be bilingual and communicate with your consumer? In some European countries, as many as five languages are necessary to succeed in business. The marvel is the successful are not only poly-lingual, they are also considered to have a far superior intelligence.
6. Be sensitive and knowledgeable. September 16th – Mexican Independence Day promotions are often seen with exhibitions of Flamenco dancers. Flamenco Dancers represent Spain not Mexico. To add to the irony, September 16th is México’s’ celebration of independence from Spain.
7. Selling to the Hispanic consumer does not require restructuring your business. It only requires you to become more informed through association with Hispanics in business. This in turn brings you to point number one which will undoubtedly take you to point number two. As you can see, it is a continuous progressive cycle that brings with it an expanded sales base.
Editors Note: Al Vasquez/CEO of Hispanic-Image Marketing Network, Inc.,is a former National Executive Director of LULAC ( League of United Latin American Citizens), Washington, D.C., 3 million members, co-publisher of La Prensa Hispana Newspaper, co-producer of the television program “Abriendo Puertas en la Comunidad” and founder of the International Hispanic Film Festival. He writes a weekly column for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce-Coachella Valley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.