Provided by Juwai.com
1. Cultivate trust and guanxi
Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” That’s especially true today for international buyers – 90% of whom begin their property search online.
Chinese buyers must feel comfortable in believing the information provided on the website is reliable, because until they fly over to view the property in person, you – and your listings online – are their only viable source of information and photographs. So, being able to trust the online property platform from which they’re searching for property to invest is essential.
As an agent, you play a big role in soothing such worries and providing confidence and assurance to your Chinese buyer. Here are three (out of five) tips that may help you build trust and guanxi with your Chinese clients:
Answer all their questions
No matter how mundane their 101 questions may seem to you, remember that what may be familiar for you is totally foreign to them. Again, put yourself in their shoes. If your roles were reversed and you’re buying property in China, wouldn’t you want someone to answer you patiently?
Be understanding and broad-minded
Even if your Chinese buyers are asking (what you consider to be) strange questions, humour them by answering them. Seeing as they hail from a different culture, the way they perceive things may differ. For example, what you consider a pantry may be easily viewed as an extra room for other purposes instead.
Don’t just hear, listen
Every Chinese buyer is different, so don’t presume to know what your Chinese buyers want. Instead of talking their ears off from the get go, listen to what they want, and if need be, ask the right questions that would help you better understand what they’re looking for.
2. Get the hang of Chinese gift giving
Did you know? The right gift goes a long way in building and furthering both business and personal guanxi (relationship) with Chinese.
However, while gift giving plays a vital role in maintaining a relationship in Chinese culture, there are complex (and mostly, unspoken) cultural rules that apply, as Chinese place much value in symbolism and presentation of a gift.
So beyond what you give to Chinese, how you wrap it, present it, and how much you spent on it are critical aspects to note too. We share 4 must-know tips about gift giving in China:
Always present and/or receive a gift with two hands – this is considered polite and a gesture of sincerity in Chinese culture.
Chinese may refuse a gift the first few times when offered (usually two to three times) – this is to reflect modesty and to not appear greedy in the eyes of others.
Gift wrap colour matters – Red is best because it’s the most auspicious colour for Chinese but pink and gold are also favoured, as they symbolise happiness and prosperity. Black, white, grey, and certain shades of blue should be avoided, though, as these are Chinese mourning colours.
Avoid giving gifts that are overly lavish – Gifts that are too high in value may be deemed as a form of bribery in China, and may cause worry or embarrassment for the recipient.
Remember, gifting in China is an act of showing your respect and commitment to developing and maintaining a relationship with your Chinese client, not a gift to seal the deal. Keep these four tips in mind, and you should be able to prevent any faux pas when gifting to Chinese in future.
3. Go mobile
Mobile, specifically smartphones, is where the future of internet and e-commerce lies – especially in China.
With 620 million mobile internet users1 – 90% who surf the web via smartphones1 – China dominates as the world’s largest and fastest-growing mobile user population.
China’s smartphone population is predicted to bypass 700 million by 2018, which is more than half of China’s population.2
2015 alone saw China’s mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales hit an estimated $333.99 billion, which makes up 49.7% of China’s e-commerce sales in total and 7.9% of its total retail sales.3 By 2019, China’s m-commerce market is projected to be worth $1.5 trillion, accounting for 24% of all retail sales within China.
Online giants in China know this. That’s why juggernauts like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, are prioritising mobile over desktop.5 In short, if you’re marketing real estate online to Chinese buyers, mobile is a vital element for your China campaign.
91% of China’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs) are online every day6, and 96% use mobile apps for financial transactions and information.
However, China’s social, digital, and mobile landscape can be convoluted, and you may find yourself perplexed and overwhelmed – especially if you don’t speak the language.
Find out how your listings are covered on mobile along with full Chinese social channel integration on Juwai.com here.
4. Master Chinese business card etiquette
In China, your business card is your face.
More than a means of imparting personal details, business cards – or better known as ‘name cards’ in China (a direct translation of its Chinese name, “Míng Piàn” (名片) – are considered a representation of face and status in China.
That’s why Chinese business cards are always crammed with titles or awards that may elevate their status in the eyes of others. Besides ensuring they hold an impressive-looking business card, Chinese place much importance on business card etiquette when meeting someone for the first time as well.
We narrow down 10 do’s and don’ts for you to note the next time you’re set to meet a Chinese buyer:
Make sure you have enough business cards: Running out of cards could imply you’re not professional or well-prepared, which reflects badly on your credibility and your ‘face’.
Keep your cards pristine: Handing out business cards that are worn-out, dog-eared, or smudged gives the impression that you are like your cards – careless, negligent, and not meticulous.
Make your business cards bilingual: Having one side of your business card in English and the other in Chinese not only makes it more China-friendly, but more memorable as well.
Ensure you use Simplified Chinese: China – as well as certain countries such as Malaysia and Singapore – uses Simplified Chinese, whereas Taiwan and Hong Kong uses Traditional Chinese.
Use both hands when exchanging your business card: This is a vital gesture of respect required when you both give and receive business cards.
Present your business card with thought: By presenting it on the Chinese side up, as well as with your name facing the recipient so he/she can read it easily, you are telling your Chinese buyers that you are perceptive and astute.
Ask people to pick up your business card from a stack on a table: This is considered rude and shows insincerity. Always, always hand out your business cards personally from individual to individual.
Immediately keep a business card upon receiving it: This portrays a lack of regard for the card owner. Instead, always make a show of a perusing the name, title, and company name before carefully tucking it away.
Carelessly shove other people’s business cards into your back pocket: Doing so smacks of disrespect, so be sure to keep their business cards carefully in a proper cardholder or card case.
Scribble or write on another person’s business card in his/her presence: This is rude and insulting to the card owner. If you must write additional information down, do so on your own business card (or do so discreetly when the card owner is not around).