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Avoid an International Crisis – Tips for Working With Chinese Buyers

by | Apr 24, 2014

Intl_ListHubIn 2013, Chinese buyers accounted for nearly 20% of international sales in the U.S. and, on average, spent more than other international buyers. In fact, the Chinese are the fastest-growing group of property buyers and investors in the US. Their international property purchases are projected to reach $114 billion by 2015, almost twice the sales figures reported for all of the combined international buyers in 2012. The Chinese are interested in real estate as both investment opportunities as well as second homes outside of China.

Proper business etiquette is essential when working with Chinese clients – not "minding your manners" can be a costly mistake. Below are some tips to help you avoid any international faux pas with Chinese clients.

1. Be on time. Better yet, be early! While our culture is often more forgiving of occasional tardiness, this is not true of many other cultures, including the Chinese. Being late is considered an insult and is certainly not the first impression you want to make.

2. Don't be overly aggressive with your handshake. In our culture, a firm handshake generally has positive connotations, conveying confidence. However, the Chinese prefer a more gentle and, in some cases, prolonged handshake. A prolonged handshake is a good sign, so don't be shy about maintaining this physical contact. In your first meeting, it is often appropriate to bow (slightly, and from the head, not the waist) when greeting someone. If you are unsure, politely follow your client's lead.

3. Chinese will often avoid prolonged eye contact, especially when talking with strangers or someone of the opposite sex. In Chinese culture, it was traditionally considered impolite or even aggressive to look someone directly in the eyes. It can be difficult to assess a Chinese client's emotions based on their facial expressions. Their facial expressions can be ambiguous or "blank," but do not mistake this for dissatisfaction or unfriendliness.

4. Avoid certain common gestures that are considered rude by the Chinese, such as pointing or beckoning to someone with your index finger, finger snapping, or whistling to get someone's attention. Instead use an open hand to gesture to someone.

5. Chinese buyers are strategic buyers and do quite a bit of research before making any investment, particularly in real estate. It is important for you to build trust and demonstrate how you can add value as their agent. Help your clients by explaining the details of home inspections, building codes, property taxes, insurance, and other nuances that might be different in China. If possible, provide it in writing in their native language, or have a translator so that these nuances are clearly understood.

Chinese buyers represent a promising opportunity for real estate professionals here in the U.S., with more than 90 million buyers in China searching for property online each month! With China's strict Internet regulations, marketing to Chinese buyers can often be a challenge for those outside of mainland China.

With the EdenHome Network, a major network available through ListHub Global, you can break past China's firewalls and advertise your listings on SouFun, the largest and most viewed websites in China, reporting more than 3 million unique users per day. Click here to learn more about advertising to Chinese buyers with ListHub Global.

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