Local and Foreign Clients: Getting to Know Their Needs

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Knowing your local and foreign clients is vital when it comes to real estate transactions. It helps improve good communication not only to encourage them to invest in real estate but also to maintain continuity when it pushes through. The importance of foreign investment in the Philippines makes this a highly valued skill. It demands reliable knowledge on dealing with different types of clientele and perhaps a deeper understanding of laws governing foreign investments. Proficiency in negotiating and eventually collaborating with local and foreign clients will ultimately have long-lasting positive gains.

Creating opportunities for mutual success

The Philippines is well-known for its highly capable, talented and mostly English speaking workforce. Salaries and other operating expenses are also comparatively lower than in most developed countries. The addition of the country’s favorable macroeconomic conditions provides an inviting lure to any would-be investor. In spite of these outstanding qualities, there is still apprehension for more investors to make a full commitment. It might be due to prevalent impressions or misimpressions, which require a certain amount of convincing to allay fears.

Getting a sense of these concerns will provide a good opportunity to find workable solutions. Generally, foreign investors look for favorable conditions in which to conduct their business. Lower cost of labor is not the only basis for investment. Here are a few:

  • Good peace and order situation
  • Stable political environment
  • Reliable infrastructure
  • Open policies or relaxed restrictions

A host country cannot passively wait for an investor to propose an investment. It must actively identify what it needs to do to attract investors. When it comes to real estate investments, there is likewise the need for suitable circumstances, though based on different variables.

Barriers to entry

It is a given that real estate brokers or agents must come prepared, already having researched the particular property. Identifying what clients want and knowing their concerns takes precedence over giving an excellent presentation. There might be no need for much convincing if clients are given what they are looking for from the get-go. To do this, brokers have to ask the right questions in a non-invasive manner.

A few examples would be:

  • What is the unit type that you are in the market for?
  • Are you looking to stay in the unit or rent it out?
  • When would you need the property?
  • Would you need the unit to be furnished or unfurnished?
  • Are there any special features that you are looking for?

Local investors can differ from foreign investors in so many ways. It is the job of the broker to identify want they want and help them find it. This will generally be the same across all nationalities. Not listening to their needs or engaging in a hard sell strategy is not recommended. It might work every now and then, but it has a lower chance of generating repeat business.

Note that many deals can be won or lost based on the type of rapport established with the client. Building a relationship is crucial but does not have to be personal. One-and-done deals will not encourage recommendations, which are necessary to grow a sales network. The best interests of the client must always be the paramount consideration regardless of the strategy employed.

Local and foreign cooperation

The importance of foreign investment in the Philippines is unquestionable. They create jobs, promote the transfer of technology and know-how, make local firms more competitive and encourage other investments. Figures from the Department of Trade and Industry confirm that there was $10B and $9.8B in FDI for 2017 and 2018 respectively. Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) further reports that the 1st quarter of 2019 posted $1.9B in net FDIs.

This bodes well for the real estate industry. Coupled with other factors, it is a great year to be in the real estate business. There will be a sustained need for office space, residential units to house employees, and possibly investments in logistics properties. It is a great time to be in sales. Knowing what the client wants, both local and foreign, will be a predictor for success in the current business setting.


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