Think global business is not for you?

There might be another way to look at it.

Perhaps you are reluctant to work with international buyers because you don’t speak any other languages, might not understand their culture, might be embarrassed, or simply think it might be awkward or difficult.

These are common and understandable concerns.

But as I was reminded just the other day, you can avoid all of those issues and still profit from a global strategy.

I had a great conversation about global marketing with an agent in Southern California last week that nearly stopped me in my verbal tracks.

Based on his name — let’s call him Carlos — and accent, I started out with the assumption was that he was probably interested in marketing to Hispanic buyers. Was I ever off the mark!

Carlos was intent on attracting trophy listings in his affluent area. Guess what his local sellers wanted to hear about? Marketing aimed at Chinese and other Asian buyers.

Carlos readily admitted to me that he spoke Chinese exactly as well as I do — in other words, he didn’t. But clearly he was not about to let that stand in his way.

After all, as he explained, he didn’t expect to work with Asian buyers himself. He just wanted to secure and sell high-end listings.

For that, he needed to improve his listing pitch to demonstrate international marketing reach.

Janet Choynowski

With agents from companies like Re/Max and Sotheby’s International Realty packing global punch in every listing presentation they make, Carlos concluded that he simply had to up his game in order to get the listings he wanted.

With 72 percent of all Internet users searching online in other languages, Carlos understood that he could not deliver the exposure his sellers expected without getting his listings and website indexed on international search engines in their local languages, just like his competition has.

He was not in the least disturbed by any potential language barrier, because he reckoned that buyers were no more interested than he was in finding themselves in an awkward situation or working with an agent who could not communicate effectively with them.

Carlos has figured out how to work “global” to his advantage as a listing and marketing tool.

If local sellers want to hear about Asian market reach, Asian is what Carlos is determined to demonstrate and deliver, even if he is explaining his strategy in Spanish.

These days many sellers, especially at the high end of the market, ask about global marketing. Hardly surprising when the press is full of stories about Chinese investors, Russian billionaires and Brazilian magnates buying trophy listings coast to coast.

Even less surprising now that several regional and national brands have globalized their online presence and are prepared to expound on the benefits to sellers. It is a competitive edge they have invested heavily in and are taking full advantage of, leaving agents who pitch for a listing after them fielding questions for which they may not have good answers.

Solutions are readily available though, from professional translations on websites to syndicating listings in other languages. There is something for literally every budget these days.

On the subject of speaking the language of the buyers, Carlos did mention that he was going to take a couple of Chinese lessons. He wants to be able to say a few words at closings, like, “Congratulations, I hope you will be very happy in your new home”

Global isn’t new. It’s just becoming the new normal.

Janet Choynowski is the founder and chief executive officer of the Real Buzz Immobel Group, operator of the international property portal, and a provider of globalization technology, services and consulting to the real estate industry.


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