When popularity means business

Joe the salesman is likeable and engaging.

Moe the salesman is a misery but he sells the same product for 20% less.

Which salesman will you do business with?
Most North Americans choose Moe.

But, in other cultures, personal relationships are the key element in decision-making and the decision to go with higher-priced, likeable Joe would be perfectly acceptable.

Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American executives value personal relationships with your sales agent more than your brand or product reputation.

Or so the common wisdom claims. Does anyone have any broad personal experience in this area? What do relationships mean in North American business culture? Is it truly so narrowly bottom line?

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