Florida Realtor April 2010 : Page 24

Makeover Maria Elena Pocurull, sales associate, Real Living First Service Realty, Miami Beach bEFORE Wants to get more international business. AFTER Attracts business from worldwide referral network. 1. Power of Referrals GLObAL sALEs Build global relationships to gain referral business. M aria Elena Pocurull, a sales associate in Real Living First Service Realty’s Mi-ami Beach office, knows international buyers constitute a major force in the Florida market. During her 15 years in real estate, Pocurull has worked with a number of international customers. Now, she’s looking for an effective strat-egy to build that side of her business and add new contacts to her international database. “I’ve always worked with for-eign buyers, but I’m not sure how to tar-get them in the best way,” she says. about 85 percent of an agent’s interna-tional clientele will come from referrals. The beauty of having a large referral base is that you don’t have to constantly sell yourself to new people.” EntEr thE coach To serve as Pocurull’s coach, Florida Realtor® magazine contacted Luke Romero, managing broker and owner of Cameron & Tate International, a Hous-ton real estate marketing firm. “I’m glad you recognize the importance of referrals,” he says. “In my experience, 24 FLORIDA REALTOR April 2010 Many international real estate organizations allow their members to send broadcast e-mails that reach hundreds of potential referral sources. It’s a social networking strategy that reaches top producers around the world. Pick your target markets Romero tells Pocurull that to be successful in the international market, she must first decide on a spe-cialty. “You can’t be a jack-of-all trades,” he says. For instance, you can list local properties owned by international resi-dents, or you can focus on inbound buy-ers.” Romero suggests that Pocurull fo-cus her efforts on Mexico, Latin America and Europe—three large feeder markets for South Florida. Pocurull agrees wholeheartedly. “I want to attract international buyers who are considering making a purchase in Miami Beach and downtown Miami. I speak Spanish as well as English, and specialize in luxury condominiums, which I know are attractive to Latin American and European buyers.” Boost your credentials Next, Romero advises Pocurull to set aside time to earn two des-ignations from the National Association of Realtors®: Transnational Referral Cer-tification (TRC) and Certified Interna-tional Property Specialist (CIPS). That will give her a greater understanding of the international market and open the door to worldwide networking and re-Photo by mAnuel buznego 2.

Makeover

Maria Elena Pocurull, sales associate, Real Living First Service Realty, Miami Beach

GLOBAL SALES

Power of Referrals

Build global relationships to gain referral business.

Maria Elena Pocurull, a sales associate in Real Living First Service Realty’s Miami Beach office, knows international buyers constitute a major force in the Florida market. During her 15 years in real estate, Pocurull has worked with a number of international customers. Now, she’s looking for an effective strategy to build that side of her business and add new contacts to her international database. “I’ve always worked with foreign buyers, but I’m not sure how to target them in the best way,” she says.

EntEr thE coach

To serve as Pocurull’s coach, Florida Realtor® magazine contacted Luke Romero, managing broker and owner of Cameron & Tate International, a Houston real estate marketing firm. “I’m glad you recognize the importance of referrals,” he says. “In my experience, about 85 percent of an agent’s international clientele will come from referrals. The beauty of having a large referral base is that you don’t have to constantly sell yourself to new people.”

1. Pick your target markets

Romero tells Pocurull that to be successful in the international market, she must first decide on a specialty. “You can’t be a jack-of-all trades,” he says. For instance, you can list local properties owned by international residents, or you can focus on inbound buyers.” Romero suggests that Pocurull focus her efforts on Mexico, Latin America and Europe—three large feeder markets for South Florida.

Pocurull agrees wholeheartedly. “I want to attract international buyers who are considering making a purchase in Miami Beach and downtown Miami. I speak Spanish as well as English, and specialize in luxury condominiums, which I know are attractive to Latin American and European buyers.”

2. Boost your credentials

Next, Romero advises Pocurull to set aside time to earn two designations from the National Association of Realtors®: Transnational Referral Certification (TRC) and Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS). That will give her a greater understanding of the international market and open the door to worldwide networking and referral opportunities. “You can get your TRC designation in an afternoon of study,” Romero says, “and it’s something you can put on your website and business cards right away.” Since completing the CIPS designation program will take several months, Romero recommends Pocurull get started right away.

3. Join referral organizations

While Pocurull does her homework, she can join several international organizations that specialize in worldwide real estate referrals. Romero suggests the Paris-based International Real Estate Federation also known as FIABCI. Another is the Association of Mexican Real Estate Professionals (AMPI), which is affiliated with NAR. “I’m on the board of FIABCI, and they have great connections,” Romero says. “For instance, I was working with one European buyer who ran into a financing problem. I called a friend in Germany who was able to resolve the problem in about 90 minutes.”

Pocurull asks Romero what he thinks about becoming active in South Florida organizations that have an international focus. “That’s another aspect of your networking strategy,” he says. “I suggest you join the international council of your local real estate association and the international committee of your chamber of commerce. If your own brokerage company has overseas affiliations, check out those referral opportunities.”

4. Brand yourself as an international specialist

One of the many benefits of joining an international real estate organization is being listed on its website, says Romero. “But that’s just one step in branding yourself,” he advises Pocurull. “You want to always present a consistent image.” For instance, Romero suggests Pocurull design a two-sided business card, in English and Spanish, with her photo, contact information and perhaps an image of a luxury high rise.

“Your personal website should include your branding message, along with lots of testimonials,” adds Romero. “Even if international buyers are referred to you by professionals in their own countries, they’ll still research online before coming to Miami.”

5. Build relationships with affiliated professionals

While it’s essential to focus on generating referrals from foreign real estate agents and brokers, Romero reminds Pocurull to pay attention to building relationships with affiliated professionals in the South Florida market. “You’ll develop a network of people who can help your international clients. You want to be able to send them to a real estate, tax or immigration attorney who’s familiar with the laws and culture of your client’s native country.” In turn, those professionals may refer their customers to you. Pocurull agrees. “I already know some good professionals here,” she says, “and our brokerage company is affiliated with a mortgage lender that services international clients.”

6. Travel to target countries

For Pocurull to develop her international specialty into a longterm, sustainable business, Romero recommends that she travel regularly to her target countries, such as Mexico, Spain, Panama or Venezuela. “You may want to attend the next AMPI meeting in Mexico and take your new business cards,” he tells her. “Then, the next year, you could set up a booth and make appointments with the agents and brokers you met the last time.” Romero adds one further thought: “Don’t forget that referrals work both ways. If you have clients in Miami who want to buy in Mexico City, you’ll have the personal contacts needed to refer them to good agents in that market.”

So, was the coaching helpful to Pocurull? “Absolutely,” she says. “Now I have a clear direction for my business. I’m going to look at attaining those certifications. And I’m already thinking about attending upcoming real estate shows in Mexico and Venezuela.”

this column provides advice from industry experts concerning marketing, technology and business issues. It won the Silver Award in the 2008 best Column category from the Florida magazine Association.

Get started

1. Pick your target markets.

2. Boost your credentials.

3. Join referral organizations.

4. Brand yourself as an international specialist.

5. Build relationships with affiliated professionals.

6. Travel to target countries.

MEEt thE ExPErt

Luke Romero, AbP, CIPS, e-Pro, is the managing broker and owner of Cameron & tate International, a boutique real estate marketing firm specializing in promotion of luxury homes and properties in domestic and international markets. Romero serves on the board of FIAbCI-uSA. His lecture series “Conducting International business from your home City” provides networking opportunities in an educational environment.

GrEat IdEa If you’re considering earning the CIPS designation, arrange to take the in-person classes somewhere outside your local market, ideally in a foreign location. “That way, you’re already meeting international agents who can refer business to you,” says Luke Romero.

Read the full article at http://browndigital.bpc.com/article/Makeover/1280433/141630/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here