Why real estate agents fail to sell real estate in China through partnerships


Ni hao.  Today the topic is partnerships.  Should you, as a realtor looking for international buyers, look for a sales partner in China? Will brokers across the world send you leads and sell your listings to make you money?  Here are some examples (with personal information deleted) of the types of emails that I get daily and lets see if we can improve the odds of success.

“I have XYZ exciting properties. Let’s open the doors to partnership and cooperation. I will be happy to share the commissions..”

“I am a developer with a pipeline of a hundred million dollar off plan developments.  Email me back if this is something that interests you..”

All these emails have one thing in common.  They are looking for someone to market their properties in China with zero upfront costs in time or money to them.  I’m not sure how much success they have had in asking realtors in New York to market their properties but somehow in China, it seems to be popular.  I guessing it’s mainly because agents really don’t know where to start and think that if they at least reach out to agents in China, the ball will start rolling.  In a way, it’s true as this post got started from such mails.  However, I can say that I have never, ever, in 20 years heard of a single success in China using the, you market my properties for me and I pay you later model.  Why not?

The reason is simple. No one has a list of hot buyers for every city in the world ! How many leads to buy houses have you come across in your whole career in Paris, France, for example?  Any hot ones for Beijing calling you today?  I doubt it. Same with agents in China.

To get buyers leads for specific properties, an agent needs to market the specific property.  And, in China’s case, you need to expertly market in ways that are attract Chinese buyers. It takes money, skill and time to do so.  If you are happy writing emails to agents who cannot and will not help you and wishing for sales, you should stop reading now and unsubscribe from our email list.  That’s not my business.  I want to help you find real buyers at the absolute lowest cost in money and time possible.

If I turn the question around and ask you to market properties for my company in Shanghai, you will get an idea of why this model can’t possibly work.  Here we go:  I have some beautiful properties in Xintiandi, Lujiazui and Jinqiao areas of Shanghai.  They have excellent ROI and are in the most popular locations for both expats and wealthy Chinese so leasing is a breeze.  China is growing and Shanghai is on a roll.  All you have to do is become conversant in the pros and cons of China, Shanghai, these specific areas and be able to make a presentation of the pros and cons of each for living, education for children, health care and a quickie on the basics of China’s visa and foreign investment laws would help for most clients.

Wasted time….

As you might not be so familiar with these areas, you’d probably be starting from scratch so you’d better visit at least once so you could talk coherently about these areas.   Remember that these are classy areas and the clients will be top notch and expect top quality customer service.

Wasted cash…..

You’d then have to pay for translation of our marketing materials so your clients could read them.  Then you’d need an advertising budget to market them.  You’d need to be familiar with Baidu ads, Google ads, banner ads or the local Craigslist type sites that are popular in China… Are you getting an idea of how tough and unattractive my mail would be?

More lost time and investment for you….

It gets worse, after you get the raw leads, you’d need to meet the clients to establish a relationship with them. Take them to dinner, coffee, tea and you might even need to fly around to meet them if they were heavy hitters investing in ultra-high end properties.  Keep in mind any leads you got that didn’t fit in with the 3 areas I mentioned, we probably couldn’t use. So other parts of Shanghai and other cities like Beijing would be worthless.  Just like your listings are specific, ours are too.

Risk of ever getting paid….

Then after all that time, work and expense and time you need to trust us (in another country) to handle the client, close the deal and to pay you a commission. This might take 6 months to a year… So lets see, so far you have invested tens of thousands of dollars, 6 months of time and are looking forward to a $3,000 commission for your “referral”…   Sounds exciting right?

More risk…

What if something went wrong and you weren’t paid by an agent on the other side of the world?  Let’s face it, it happens in the same city.  When we are talking about worldwide deals, its more the norm than exception. So what can you do? Take me to court in China?  International courts are much more time consuming, complicated and costly than local courts.

Additional complexity to the deal…

Wait, there’s more… Would having me as a middle man in your deal increase or decrease risk and complexity of the deal?  Who would the client listen to? Trust? The person who met them and established trust or the final broker who they were handed off to? With Chinese buyers, this is especially true.

Nail in the coffin…

The final complication is the many brokers worldwide cannot legally pay a commission to a non-broker licensed in their local area or state. If you are a California Realtor, can you legally pay a commission to a non-California or US licensed real estate agent overseas?  Ha, good luck!  Remember that local real estate licensing means “licensed”. Chinese real estate licenses don’t count outside China.  So after all that work, and expense, you can’t legally even pay the referral fee!  But you didn’t know or care prior to the deal starting.  You just wanted to sell a property and hope for the best.  Does this attitude make agents overseas enthusiastic to market your property?   (Real estate developers can often pay “marketing fees” and get around this issue)

Either way, its too risky and I’m sure you are not interested in marketing my properties in Shanghai so I promise I won’t ask again…  🙂  But are you asking agents in China this very thing…

So…instead of chasing unicorns, lets think of a proven way that actually can and does work for many agents.  And, better yet, with less risk, less fees, more history of success, larger commissions and a deep, long term trusting relationship with your buyers!  More freedom, better relationship with clients and more money always sounds good to me.

What if you could find buyers in China, across the world, with no Chinese language ability, with no huge budget for marketing or advertising?  And what if you were so good at it, that the rules were broken for you and top agents in China were contacting you to work with?  Instead of you trying to find partnerships, both the buyers and top agents with real clients contact you to work with.

It takes work. I’m not going to lie.  It takes study and focus to get where you are the go-to agent for Chinese buyers.  Many other agents like yourself have learned how and have built a clientele of wealthy buyers from China. They watched my videos, implemented the ideas and started getting real leads. Themselves!

Since they knew a lot about the buyers mindset from the training, they were able to find the right client themselves, close the deal and get a referral. Often that first deal opened the door to friends and family of the original buyer. All without spending much on advertising (I teach you how using Chinese social media with no Mandarin ability, just in English, for example)

I also teach you how to present your properties in a way that is attractive to Chinese, how to talk to buyers, how to weed out lookie loos and not waste your time, how to find the decision maker in a group of Chinese, how to close the deal and how to get referrals for future sales. Real advice from someone in the game for over two decades.

If this sounds like a good long term strategy for you, start here.  The wave of Chinese buyers is peaking in 2014. Why wait?   http://www.chinacashbuyers.com/special/welcome.html

If, for any reason, you are not satisfied, we will happily refund 100% of the purchase price within 30 days of purchase.

Paul Salo

To start studying the online video course click on YES sign me up! 


PS: Did you know that half of our clients are native Chinese and fluent in Mandarin?  Chinese natives studying MY course on how to sell real estate to Chinese?!?  How is that possible!?!  It blew my mind too.  The feedback is that the techniques we use are very up to date and effective.  After Chinese go through their family and friends, they need a new source of leads and methods to get them: just like you.

I started in China in 1989 with nothing. No money, No friends. No help. A backpack,$500 and a university degree.  No experience in real estate and have developed hundreds of low, or no cost, ideas to get in touch with new buyers.  This isn’t how to use “guanxi” or personal relations because I had none!  Zero.  I had to do it the hard way…. So you don’t have to.  You can use the latest Chinese apps, tools you can easily use with no Mandarin ability and reach into the market in China and start succeeding now.  Thanks for reading to the end and hope we meet again on our journey.


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