9 Tips for Communicating Across Language Barriers

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While English may be the language of international business, politics, and economics, it is not used exclusively everywhere. Wealth accumulates beyond the global West, with thriving markets and flourishing groups of wealthy people who reasonably expect to be spoken to in their native language. And the number of these potential customers is going to grow as the redistribution of global wealth continues.

When language barriers and cultural differences inevitably arise when attracting and communicating with international clients, what are the best strategies to overcome them? Here are nine tips shared by two luxury agents well-versed in international deals.

1. Become a bona fide expert in international real estate

Harry Nasser – Sotheby’s International Realty – Manhattan East Side Brokerage

Once you decide you want to specialize in this area, commit to perfecting your expertise before diving in. “There are licenses, certifications, and higher education opportunities that will better qualify you for this field and set you apart in the eyes of your applicants. be customers,” says Sandy Seekins, professional real estate agent for LIV Sotheby’s International Realty.

2. Understand the do’s and don’ts of your customers’ culture

harry nasser

You need a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of the cultural norms of your international clients. “I’ve traveled extensively in China, India and other Asian countries, and although I don’t speak Mandarin or Hindi, I learned about their local cultures and customs,” says Harry Nasser, senior global real estate advisor and associate broker at Sotheby’s. International Real Estate – Brokerage on the East Side of Manhattan.

3. Cultivate a working knowledge of the language of clients

Chuck Menzel – LIV Sotheby´s International Realty

Learning another language is not easy. But if you want to demonstrate true excellence in global real estate, then getting a functional facility in the language of your target clients is a plus. “Tools like Duolingo and Babylon are great resources for getting to grips with the fundamentals of a language,” Seekins advises.

4. Select translation tools and services that work for you

“I speak Portuguese, French, and Spanish fluently, and I also have a working knowledge of Italian, Arabic, and Hebrew,” says Nasser. “I often work with Chinese buyers, and in the past I always needed an interpreter. All that changed one day when a buyer from China brought an ‘electronic translator’ that allowed us to communicate directly”. Today such tools are widespread. Both Duolingo and Babylon can help with real-time translation, but there are also apps dedicated to this purpose, such as Translate Me.

5. Know the necessary documentation to the letter

“Generally speaking, the property search and transaction process is the same no matter what language you speak,” says Seekins. “The difficulty lies in translating the documentation to ensure that the client not only understands the process, but also gets the representation they are looking for. Having a thorough understanding of all required contracts and forms is a huge asset and part of our essential fiduciary responsibility to our global clients.”

6. Be patient when it comes to complex industry concepts

While buying and selling property can have common ground in much of the world, each region and real estate market has its own dynamics, and as Nasser explains, this is where language barriers can complicate matters. “For example, in some cultures, bidding wars don’t exist and buyers are slow to accept that other people are competing for the same property,” he says. International buyers may not be familiar with concepts that are considered common in the US For example, Nasser has had to help clients understand the difference between co-ops and condominiums. He points out that when speaking different languages, it’s critical to make sure nothing gets lost in translation.

7. Stay informed about the economy of your target market

Although not necessarily related to language or cultural barriers, Seekins reminds agents that when working with international buyers, it’s important to be fluent in more than just languages. “You also have to master the economy, currency, and exchange rates of your market. These have a huge impact on the return on investment when buying and selling abroad,” he says.

8. Collaboration with another agent can help cultivate trust

looking for sand

“I strongly encourage agents to partner with colleagues who not only speak the customer’s language but also understand their culture,” says Nasser. “When I had a buyer from China come to see one of my listings, I asked a Chinese agent to help me when I first showed the apartment. Buyers immediately felt comfortable and we closed the sale.”

9. In order not to lose sight of an award, it is better to specialize

Chuck Menzel – LIV Sotheby´s International Realty

While incredibly rewarding, mastering an international market, along with its languages ​​and cultures, is complex and deserves the time and attention it deserves. “As agents, we need to specialize,” says Seekins. “Target an area and audience that is relevant to your region, as it is better to be exceptional at one thing than mediocre at many.”

If you’re properly prepared and have the right tools at your disposal, you’ll be ready to fill any gaps as you expand into international real estate.

Source: www.inman.com