By Juan Tornoe
Options, options, options…. Americans have become used to being bombarded with a plethora of options. For first generation Hispanics, becoming victims of over-choice is a new, and oftentimes overwhelming experience. Let’s take Tylenol as an example. Generalizing, in Latin America, you’ll easily find Regular Strength, Extra Strength, Children’s and Infant’s. Now in the good ol’ U.S. of A. you don’t only get these, but you also have the following to choose from (a non-exhaustive list): 8 Hour Muscle Aches and Pain, Arthritis Pain, Sinus Congestion & Severe Pain, Sinus Congestion & Pain Daytime, Sinus Severe Congestion Daytime, Allergy Multi-Symptom, Severe Allergy, Cold Multi-Symptom Severe, Cold & Cough Daytime, Cold & Flu Severe, Cold Sore Throat, Cold Head Congestion Severe… you get the picture.
This is for one single brand of Acetaminophen. Add into the mix the other brands, generics and alternative products such as Motrin (Ibuprofen) and you can see how trying to self-medicate for a minor headache can become an excruciatingly painful headache for a recent immigrant.
And we have only addressed one product category. You can perform a similar exercise with just about any other product: Toothbrushes, soap, trash bags, nail polish, canned vegetables, sodas…
Can you feel it? I hope you can begin to get a small glimpse into the Latino immigrant experience, at least when it comes to buying the basic products and services you need for everyday life.
My point is that you must dig deeper into the reality of your first generation, very likely Spanish-dominant, Latino clients and prospects in order to cater to them in such a way that they are exposed to your products and services in an inconsequential manner. There’s enough stress already in their lives, for you to pile up some more by not being sensitive to their additional need of information and guidance.
This is not the time to cross-sell or up-sell them. This is the time to help them get what they need and feel good about being able to do this one thing without struggling. Believe me, they will remember you.
I am still a faithful client of Wayne, my insurance guy, with whom I started working a few days after coming to the United States. He patiently and clearly walked me through the whole process of getting the basic insurance I needed, nothing more nothing less. He made me feel welcome; he acknowledged and treated my wife and kid in the most gracious and respectful manner. He’s taken good care of me for many, many years now…I’ve done a fair amount of business with him, purchasing a wider range of products as my needs have changed.
Not a single week passes by without getting in the mail some sort of insurance offer from one of his many competitors; I’ve never read a single one of them. I trust Wayne has me covered, pun intended.
Become someone’s Wayne today, tomorrow and the next day. Connect with your Latino prospects, keeping in mind their needs before yours. It will pay off, I guarantee it.
Originally published on Abasto Magazine
El Elefante in the Boardroom: Growth of the Latino Community in Central Texas - My notes for #AARO35 panel.