Editor’s note: The original post is from Global Edge, an independent portal aimed at helping overseas estate agents and developers get the most out of the Internet.
The Russian buyer has taken on an almost mystical quality. With a growing economy and middle class and with the super-rich willing to splash out up to US$750 million on villas like this one, it’s no surprise agents and developers are falling over themselves to tap into the market.
However, talk is cheap and many agents have yet to make their first sale to a Russian buyer. To aid those of you who may need help in this area, we asked Russian/American translator Olga Kellen for her tips on selling to Russians. Kellen helps a number of real estate agents in Florida and Panama to target Russians, and is also a keen property investor. Here are her top 10 tips for selling to Russians:
1. It is often much harder than most real estate agents think to find success in the Russian market. Be patient — it can take time to build relationships — but once you have made a few sales, success can snowball as people tend to buy close to their friends and business associates.
2. Referrals, recommendations and personal contacts are even more important than they are in the West. If you are new to the market and you have the money, go to a trade or consumer show in Russia and either take a Russian speaker with you or employ a translator when you are there.
3. If you don’t have the money to travel to a trade show, the minimum you need is a Russian-language Web site. However, as you start to get leads, you will need someone in the office, at least on a part-time basis, who can speak Russian.
4. Americans like to buy the cheapest house on the best block. Never offer this to a Russian. They tend to buy overseas property for prestige and want the best within their budget. Why would they buy something when their neighbor has something better?
5. It’s a cliché but Russian buyers tend to buy more on emotion and less on price than most Westerners. Emphasize any aspirational features of a property or area that you can. If you get this right, there is a good chance the buyer won’t negotiate on price.
6. Security is hugely important to Russian buyers. Be sure to emphasize security features in your sales copy and pitch.
7. Like everyone, Russians like to deal with their peers. If you employ junior Russian-speaking staff, make sure you (the owner or director) are present in meetings.
8. Be open and transparent. Make every effort to explain how you work and be honest. Russians are so used to scams they are very sceptical and they value integrity.
9. If you are in any doubt about dress code, err on the side of smart. Russians like to dress up, not down. They won’t say anything, but they will look down on you if you look like you’ve just come from the beach.
10. Not everyone is a heavy drinker but don’t refuse to drink alcohol if others are, as you risk causing offense. If your Russian business associates are drinking, join them or have a very good excuse why you can’t. Saying you are on antibiotics is a safe bet.
Olga Kellen offers English-to-Russian and Russian-to-English translation services. You can view her LinkedIn profile here, or she can be contacted via her Web site. Global Edge is run by Ashley Rigg. Previously Rigg worked for Blendon Communications where he was online publishing director.
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