You don’t have to spend year traveling around the globe or networking in person to build a robust database of luxury customers. Here are some ways you can build and grow your global business from the comfort of your home.
Before this pandemic, I was a member of Emirates Airlines Gold and earned airline miles as I hopped around the world every month. This jet set lifestyle used a natural path to become an “international agent” with a worldwide network of clients and referrals.
I sold properties in Dubai, Los Angeles, Miami and London – and then there was a lockdown. Oh, and I had never done social media marketing or video conferencing before. I didn’t have a website and feared my international business would stall.
Fast forward to January 2021, and my global business is stronger today than ever. My global successes that year included a transfer from New York City to a developer in Los Angeles that resulted in the listing and closure of a penthouse, a transfer from a seller from Los Angeles to Dubai that resulted in a mega-mansion sale, an American Client Buying a Golden Visa property in Portugal and buying a second home in South Florida by a Middle Eastern client.
I have created a global database of 25,000 including around 20,000 property owners as well as brokers around the world. Did I travel no. Do I have a personal network? Negative. So what did i do? Here’s how you can build and grow a global business from the comfort of your couch.
1. Join Facebook groups
Joining multiple Facebook groups in your industry is one of the fastest ways to network, get referrals, and meet investors and vendors in specific feeder markets. Starting and engaging Facebook group conversations can create credibility and visibility with a large audience that can become a warm list and then develop into personal relationships.
To identify the groups that would work, you can use keywords such as “Los Angeles Investment” or “Luxury Lists” in the search box, depending on the focus of your business. The more focused you are, the more you benefit from this online networking tool.
2. Facetime is showtime
Communicating in front of the camera is so much better than phone calls or emails. Eye contact and body language are critical to building strong connections, which is critical to developing customer and referral relationships. Because of this, Zoom’s stock skyrocketed in 2020.
I always insist on calling in front of the camera for the first time – be it a video conferencing tool, just Facetime or WhatsApp video. Facetime is also a perfect real-time virtual demonstration tool for out-of-town customers who probably wouldn’t trust airbrushed photos and videos posted online.
3. Speak your language
Cultural diversity leads to different preferences for communication channels and modes. Understanding your global feeder markets and how they like to communicate is important.
Different markets prefer different communication platforms. For example, it is WhatsApp in the Middle East and WeChat in China. Understand your feeder markets and speak their language.
4. Be fluent in technique
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to be everywhere at the same time, you can be everywhere at the same time – virtually. The trick is to be active on as many social media network platforms as possible. They all have different advantages and target groups.
LinkedIn is the best for reaching specific people in target organizations. Instagram is the best show-and-tell platform for visual and video communication. Facebook and Twitter are the place where you can start conversations and exchange ideas with your sphere and your audience.
Hosting and attending Zoom webinars are very important to learning and training. The new kid at the Tech Block clubhouse has been blown up in the past few months, offering members the chance to have conversations about their business or passions while growing their Instagram following.
5. Go live
It can be daunting to go live on a social media platform, but natural video communications that are not written really make people connect. This type of communication allows people far away to get to know you – to hear and see things from your perspective. In addition, the comment tool enables communication with your audience in real time.
The vulnerability is directly related to how much people warm up to you, especially at a time when people crave human connection more than ever.
6. Learn about other markets
In addition to the agricultural feeder markets, it is important to identify migration trends and patterns. Knowing that there are some key places people move to in your market will put you in pole position by researching the properties in those markets so that you can start conversations about the places that are can lead to an outbound transfer business.
7. Stay up to date
The biggest mistake people make is making connections without maintaining them. As in any relationship, if you don’t water them, they’ll die. For this reason, it is important to enter all of the people you meet in a database and to make notes of what you have learned for future communication. This list can then be included in an email drip campaign for further communication, which should be done at least twice a month.
I send out two monthly email campaigns a month: a guide for Los Angeles Luxury Living and a newsletter for Global New Development. It’s important to provide your network with insightful information that represents the core values of your company and your brand. Of course, new global contacts with current or near future business needs should be contacted on a personal basis.
Tamara Bakir is a global real estate advisor at Vista Sotheby’s International Realty based in Los Angeles, Dubai and Miami. Connect with her on Instagram or Facebook.