This is the final part of a three part series on international real estate project marketing.
To view part 1, please click here.
To view part 2, please click here.
STEP 8 - EXCLUSIVE BUYER DATABASE BUILDING
The sooner your company starts building out your own proprietary international buyer database, the sooner you will begin seeing the international marketing results you’re hoping for. The problem with allowing channel partners or overseas brokerages to manage your leads as they come in is that they will likely actively market competing properties to those leads in the future. By the time you’re ready to market your 2nd project in Montreal or San Francisco, these buyers will have already seen 30-40 competing projects. If your company put up the initial resources and energy into developing those leads, you should retain control over them. Simple as that.
Our suggestion here is that your marketing team and/or marketing agency should retain control of the lead management process and qualify all newly generated leads which are then only passed onto to the outsourced sales team once they are a confirmed opportunity for the specific project being marketed. This will at least minimize the amount of database building you do for your channel partner while your team builds out your own proprietary database of buyers that are currently just browsing but could be active in the future.
STEP 9 – CONVERTING PROSPECTS INTO SALES OPPORTUNITIES
Creating and monitoring multiple touch points for targeted buyers to engage with is important, but once these leads are generated, someone will have to be corresponding directly with these potential buyers and closing sales. There are two options for managing sales opportunities once generated:
- Channel Partners – In a perfect world, the benefits of channel partners are obvious. Similar to 3rd party agents in your own market, they bring in buyers with minimal management and cost. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of partners with that kind of distribution power in the majority of overseas markets. In addtion, the reality is that unless you already have a long term relationship with an existing group, it will likely take significant time to create those relationships. It's also worth noting that these super foreign brokers are already losing much of their clout as buyer’s inevitably become more independent and perform more research and product discovery themselves. I would still suggest engaging these partners, but as I mentioned previously, don’t expect miracles and don’t give them control of your marketing budget.
- Direct Selling – The direct selling concept is attractive from the perspective of why should your company spend marketing dollars only to have your channel partners also earn commission fees on successful transactions. Once again, this approach is only for those truly committed to developing a long term overseas marketing platform. Before you go all in and hire people locally, get registered, and perform all the other tasks that go along with establishing an international subsidiary, “Think Lean Startup”. Find a qualified real estate marketing agency like Blueprint Effects, design a campaign, have the agency manage the leads and measure your results. If the market has the potential to sell at least 10-15 moderately priced properties a year, it can likely justify having a highly trained, commission based, local sales team member that works exclusively on your projects.
SO NOW WHAT? - MANAGING YOUR OVERSEAS MARKETING ECOSYSTEM
You've generated a bunch of leads and now have a local sales strategy. How do you ensure that you have a 10% conversion rate as opposed to a 1% conversion rate? Here are 3 pointers on how to make sure your conversion rates are on the high end of the scale.
- Have a structured sales process in place for your channel partners or local sales agents to follow. Don’t leave the pitch and sales process to your channel partner. The reality is that even if they're part of a global brand, those international best practices likely got lost in translation and are not followed by the local sales team. Give them a clear playbook otherwise they won’t convert.
- Be sure your qualified leads are getting exposed to multiple touch points. If they are on social media, be sure to comment and like their material. If they’re not, send them high end mailers constantly reminding them what a great opportunity they're missing out on. Remember, the more touch points they are exposed to, the more likely they will buy. It’s that simple.
- Record sales calls and give feedback to local sales staff.
If your project or company is expecting to generate a significant portion of your buyers from non-local markets, the time to begin building your platform is now. Remember, real estate marketing is unique, so be sure to choose a marketing agency and/or sales brokerage that truly understands your organization’s long term marketing and sales strategy.