How Commercial Pros Can Build an International Presence

December 11, 2018

Just like residential real estate pros, commercial practitioners need a viable outreach plan to generate leads and build relationships with their target audiences. That may even include traveling abroad to make contacts in foreign nations in order to build your international presence and fill your book of business back home. At this year’s MIPIM conference, a global commercial real estate convention held annually in Cannes, France, industry leaders shared tips for broadening your reach to potential clients.

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Study trends in your clients’ behavior so you can anticipate new opportunities. Knowing when your clients make investment decisions and what their typical pain points are in transactions can help you spot prospects in similar circumstances and prepare ahead of time for the questions they may ask. Chad Gleason, CCIM, managing director at SVN Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Seattle, says his international investor clients are tuned into the local area, often asking about daily commute conditions and educational opportunities for their children—just like other clients would. “Be prepared to walk them through some of that,” Gleason says. “It’s a great way to have generalized conversations.”

Commercial Connections Fall 2018

This article was originally published in the fall 2018 edition of Commercial Connections. Click the image to see the full issue.

Seek helpful allies near and far. Consulting with local and state officials or groups that are knowledgeable about real estate can be valuable to your business. A commercial practitioner, for example, may want to form a relationship with his or her state’s economic development officer to get inside information on new projects that offer opportunities for retailers. John Sebree, CEO of Missouri REALTORS®, says his relationship with International Business Recruitment for the Missouri Partnership, a public-private economic development organization, is an important value-added benefit for his investor clients. “If a potential investor wants to talk health care, aeronautics, auto manufacturing, or [agricultural technology],” Sebree says, officials at the partnership can “speak their language.”

Dennis Pruitt, vice president of the partnership, works with local real estate pros to recruit companies that are eyeing new industrial plants, agricultural development, renewable energy, and potential office projects in Missouri. So, he recommends that commercial practitioners reach out to regional economic development organizations in sister cities abroad to gather data that can be useful in developing a foreign investment strategy. “It’s interesting to learn about their approach to economic development,” Pruitt explains, “and they are a good source of intelligence for potential leads.”

Network and find resources that can provide solutions for a local project. Chris Anderson, GRI, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker West in El Cajon, Calif., says she went to MIPIM with a specific development project in mind and connected with people who could serve as resources and advisers for the project. The project was a San Diego shopping complex that needed developers and funding. Anderson worked with local officials to schedule meetings with MIPIM attendees who could be potential investors in the project. “We knew that investment would create more viability in San Diego, which would make it more appealing to other international investors and travelers, and it would generate business for local real estate professionals,” Anderson says. After the MIPIM conference, the project received funding from a Singapore investor.