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It's Time to Sell Podcast: Strategies for 21st Century Selling

Sep 12, 2018

Cultural competency opens a lot of doors.

Most people don’t have the insight to step into somebody else’s frame of reference to look through their eyes, which means companies and entrepreneurs who want to build a successful business will really have to learn the different skills cultural competencies that can open the doors for them.” - Dr. Richard Nongard

Relationships are built on something shared between two people – maybe a hobby, a favorite sports team, the school they graduated from, or a vision. And when it comes to sales, relationship-building is so much easier than prospecting.

Today’s guest is Dr. Richard Nongard. Richard is an expert in business leadership and business psychology.

He started out in car sales in the early 1980's and parlayed his sales experience into leadership experience by moving on as an entrepreneur and executive in both the healthcare and educational sectors. He is a licensed psychotherapist who views his training in counseling as a degree in "problem-solving".

Richard is a serial entrepreneur and has owned several restaurants and multi-million dollar e-commerce platforms. He shares a pathway of engaging community, changing culture and building identity as the formula for leadership and business results.


In this episode, we talk about

  • diversification,
  • the ups and downs of entrepreneurship
  • cross-cultural awareness
  • cultural competence,
  • goal-setting vs intention, and
  • morning rituals.

Richard also gives some great real-life examples and tips on how to leverage cultural competence in your sales conversations, and some rapport-building skills related to cross-cultural awareness.

This is a good one, so make sure to give it a listen.


Multiple streams of income is absolutely important for everybody. I’ve learned that the hard way.

September 11th, 2001 was devastating to my business, and the reason why is because largely, at that point, I was on-site, providing services, and suddenly I had travel restrictions, I had customers who were unable to travel.

I had a business model where I went and spoke and I got paid and I got paid well, but I never got paid after the fact.

Everything was live and everything was one-shot, and by 2001 I had learned that I really needed to develop the online presence and build that business so that I could create residual income alternative revenue streams.

Today, our company actually provides tax services and infrastructure for other mental health and healthcare organizations.

Cross-Cultural Awareness

I’ve always been interested in cultural awareness. I realized early on that it was going to be important in my ability to create a sustaining business, to be able to create rapport with people whose experiences were different than mine.

I really want to be able to sell to everybody.

Put it in a political context in America, I want both Republicans and Democrats to spend money with me.

Navigating a minefield of different beliefs while being able to be true to your own core values is a really important cross-cultural challenge.

People think of cross-cultural challenges as “this racial group is different than this racial group” or “this ethnic group is different than this ethnic group,” or “this language group is different than this language group.”

But cross-cultural awareness deals with inter-generational differences. It deals with financial differences. It simply deals with the different experiences that different people have, and ultimately, everybody has differences.

By using the tools and the resources that might come from cross-cultural leadership or cross-cultural engagement, and applying them to entrepreneurship and sales, specifically, produces what I’ve identified as six very specific outcomes, and those outcomes are incredibly positive.

3 of 6 Outcomes

Cultural competence creates rapport. Every salesperson early on in their sales training learns about the value of rapport.

Rapport is being able to share a space with another person with both mutual respect, but an exchange of ideas. That moves us from small talk into what might be called “search talk.”

By engaging in search talk through rapport, I can do a better job at selling because I’m meeting my client’s very specific needs.

I was in grad school when I was actually selling Honda’s, so I was practicing being a therapist while I was selling cars and I fashioned myself as the car counselor.

When I truly helped my customers meet their needs with their automotive purchase, then I ended up actually having some pretty big commission checks.

Cultural competence, it’s far more efficient when I can understand my customer’s vantage point and viewpoint. When I can share a space with them, efficiency becomes part of the sales process.

And efficiency is important because I like to move on to other sales processes, and of course, even a little bit of cultural competence can open potentially new markets.

Those are three out of those six things that I think are really important.


Connect with Richard on LinkedIn

Viral Leadership: Seize the Power of Now to Create Lasting Transformation in Business by Richard Nongard

Transformational Leadership: How To Lead From Your Strengths And Maximize Your Impact by Richard Nongard