Chinese investors – both commercial and residential – spent close to $30 billion on property abroad last year.
Colliers International predicts Chinese outbound real estate investment to increase by 50 per cent this year, a healthy growth that is sure to be welcomed around the world.
Clearly, Chinese property investments overseas will not taper off any time soon, so how are you addressing this market? We share 10 nifty tips to start you off on the right foot with your Chinese buyers:
1 – Respond quickly
Whenever you receive leads, try your best to call or email them right away. The sooner you respond, the higher your chances will be of securing Chinese buyers.
This might prove difficult for those of you in different time zones than China, which is an issue you must find a way to overcome if you’re targeting Chinese buyers in China. Some people try a time shift and work partly Asian hours, while others might have someone on the ground in China to respond to interested buyers more quickly.
2 – Use their Chinese name
If you’re planning to email or call your Chinese buyer, it might help to use their Chinese name – this will help establish a more familiar connection with them. The Chinese name is often displayed in the email sent from us at Juwai.com. It will sometimes only be their surname, which means you’d only be able to address them as ‘Mrs Li’ or ‘Mr Chang’, for example. Alternatively, you could also copy and paste their name in Mandarin into your email.
Extra tip: To up the ante, hire a Mandarin speaker, even if he or she is a college intern – this is one sure-fire way to smooth the initial process.
3 – Make your intentions clear
When reaching out to your Chinese buyer, clearly state where you obtained their information from, for example from their listing inquiry on Juwai.com. This way, they won’t be confused as to why someone from another country or someone speaking in another language is contacting them. It will also add credibility to know that you are contacting them through Juwai.com – a network that they will be familiar with and will remember using.
4 – Use the WeChat social media app
Eighty per cent of China’s high-net-worth individuals are active WeChat users, so asking your Chinese buyer them to add you on WeChat is essential. WeChat is the first way that Chinese connect online nowadays, so it’s a good way to gauge your potential success. After all, if they’re comfortable enough to accept you on WeChat, then they may be more receptive to your pitch as well.
Extra tip: In the chat features, there is a button that allows you to translate Chinese text into English, which can help ease the language difficulty a bit.
5 – Persistence is key
Have pluck – follow up continually and regularly. Within the Chinese market, consumers are fed information on products and services everywhere they go, so it requires stamina and tenacity to get your message in front of them. Making small talk whenever possible can be a good way to build your guanxi (your relationship and credibility) with Chinese buyers.
6 – Focus on their needs
Provide useful information relevant to the key motivations driving Chinese property investment abroad – education offerings, existing Chinese community, investment opportunities and yields, and emigration or visa updates. Every bit of useful information you provide may spur action in them. Is a local university accepting international student applications? Let your Chinese buyers who have expressed interest in sending their children overseas know.
7 – Personalise your service
Add a personal touch by inviting them to visit you and, if you’re really dedicated, offer to host them by showing them around so they can become more acquainted with your city and country. This is a personal touch that they will really appreciate, and it’s an opportunity to build immense amounts of guanxi, trust and goodwill with your Chinese buyer.
Extra tip: It’s also a good idea to introduce them to your local offices and agents to show you are legitimate.
8 – Connect them with locals
Introduce your Chinese buyers to any local Chinese people you know, to breed a sense of familiarity. At the same time, don’t forget to connect them with useful contacts that can offer services they need, such as financial advisers and interior designers.
9 – Visit China
Likewise, to help you better understand your Chinese buyers and their culture, we recommend you take a trip to China, to observe their environment and the market first-hand. At the same time, this will provide you the opportunity to invite them for a personal meet-up while you are in their city.
10 – Think long-term
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Success with Chinese buyers cannot be rushed, and working with buyers unfamiliar with your city and country will naturally require time and patience. So continue to work your leads by providing them useful updates and you will reap the benefits of your diligence in due time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Taylor is co-founder of Juwai.com, the No. 1 website for Chinese buying Australian real estate. He is an experienced real estate media professional, with 10 years' experience managing print, online, television and radio brands in Australasia and Asia. He has held senior roles in the REA Group, including company director and Greater China country manager. He has also held roles at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Property Page Pty Ltd. He has graduate degrees in classical music and plays the diyin gehu (Chinese bass).