Editor’s note: This is the second of a four-part series.
The language barrier is a key reason that many agents are reluctant to work with global clients. If this is stopping you from working with this important niche, there are a number of great solutions that make this task easier than ever.
1. Capitalize on the other languages you speak
If you are already fluent in a language other than English, consider marketing specifically to people who speak your language. To do this, print selected marketing pieces in your second language.
If there is a local newspaper in that language, plan on advertising in it. Advertising rates may be lower than for the larger daily newspapers, and it reaches a target audience where you may have less competition.
If you really want to get ahead of the curve, post your website in both English and the other languages in which you are proficient. You don’t have to translate the entire site, just the home page and a few of the key services that you provide.
A tag line that you can use on all of your Web and printed marketing materials is, "When it comes to real estate, I speak your language." It’s also smart to put the flag of the country’s language that you speak in the upper right-hand corner of your home page.
The graphic will capture people’s attention. Most will click on the tab that links to your page(s) in the other language. This simple difference can give you a huge advantage over agents who are not fluent in that language.
2. Capitalize on your heritage
Even if you don’t currently speak another language, another way to access the immigrant market is to become active in groups where you share a common heritage. Many ethnic groups have clubs and/or organizations that help immigrants from their native country.
For example, even though my cousin doesn’t speak Norwegian, she joined a local Norwegian club. There were more than 150 members. Clearly, this can be a great resource for her business, as the law of attraction says we are drawn to people who are like us.
To search for these types of groups, visit Meetup.com. This website posts upcoming meetings for all kinds of groups and is an easy way to meet people who share your heritage. Becoming active in these groups can also help you build a strong, steady flow of business.
3. Market in other languages effortlessly
Even if you do not want to proactively seek out global clients to work with, it’s still important to market your listings in other languages. You can now do this effortlessly with a wide variety of tools, some of which may actually be provided by your multiple listing service.
One of the most powerful ways to reach global clients is to market your listings in 13 different languages through a translation service such as Immobel.com or Proxio.com. If your multiple listing service doesn’t already subscribe to one of these services, you can still subscribe as an individual agent.
Immobel.com has also expanded its translation services to include Facebook. Through Immobel you can have your listings appear in Spanish in Mexico and in Japanese in Japan.
When users register on your Facebook page, they can also receive alerts about newly listed properties. All email alerts go to subscribers in their native language.
Moreover, Immobel recently launched its Real-Buzz platform. You can speak with Facebook users in real time in any of the 13 different languages Real-Buzz supports.
In other words, even if you are not fluent in Portuguese or Russian and the potential client does not speak English, you can still chat with that person in real time on Facebook using the Real-Buzz translation platform.
4. Global clients often prefer agents who speak only English
You may believe that if you are not fluent in another language that people from other countries will not work with you. In many cases, just the opposite is true.
Clients who speak languages other than English would often prefer to work with someone who does not speak their native language. The reason is that most cultures place a very high value on privacy.
In fact, one of the quickest ways to lose a global or a luxury client is to discuss their transaction with third parties. If a wife or another family member asks about the husband’s finances, never discuss them under any circumstances.
Surprisingly, this is true for some American clients as well. If the question comes up, all you have to say is, "I don’t have access to that information," and quickly change the topic.
When you don’t speak their language, of course, there is virtually no chance that you will be gossiping about their deal with other members of their community.
Do you need more reasons to go global in your business? If so, don’t miss Part 3 on Monday.