Connecting with Chinese sales agents is the first step for international B2B and B2C businesses to lift the potential of the Chinese market.
To make the process of connecting with Chinese sales agents more tangible, we’ll use the real estate industry as an example in this China Gravy article.
In the real estate niche, the following global businesses can benefit from collaborating with Chinese sales agents:
- international real estate developers → seeking Chinese investors
- a foreign real estate agent or agency owner → aspiring to place Chinese HNWIs in attractive real estate around the world
- an immigration agency owner or lawyer → aspiring to increase the personal and financial freedom of Chinese HNWIs through a second residency and/or passport
- an individual owning an exclusive real estate → seeking to sell his/her high-end property to a Chinese buyer/investor
So, let’s get started!
If your budget for your own marketing in China and the Chinese-speaking world is limited, building a network of Chinese sales agents, who work on a commission basis, is a great alternative. This reduces your marketing budget which you would spend with an unknown outcome.
Likewise, larger companies can benefit from connecting with Chinese sales agents to quickly and easily increase their reach without much risk or hassle.
This guide will show you how to connect with Chinese sales agents to gain access to Chinese investors and HWNIs.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into this exciting topic.
How to Connect with Chinese Sales Agents in China & Beyond
The Chinese market is the largest in the world in terms of the potential audience to reach. Mainland China has a population of close to 1.4 billion people and there are around 30 million overseas Chinese in 136 different countries.
The part that’s interesting for you is the rapid growth of high-net-worth individuals in China. Over the last decade, the average growth rate has been 40%. Now, there are now more than 2.2 million HNWIs in the Middle Kingdom.
But what does that mean for your business and recruiting top partners in the Chinese-speaking world?
Doing Business with Chinese Partners
Doing business in China has its own specialties as well as many similarities to the Western world. Take a look at our in-depth guide on how to overcome business hurdles in China.
In your quest to recruit agents in China to connect you with Chinese investors and buyers (for example, to place HNWIs in attractive real estate around the world and provide them with citizenship and residency opportunities), keep in mind the following points:
- Guanxi: Establish a relationship with your business partners and maintain this relationship.
- Company Culture: Check their references and reviews against your individual needs. An experienced agent may have a larger network of contacts while a newer agent may have more drive to make seemingly impossible tasks work. Familiarize yourself with what type of services the agency or broker is offering and what type they don’t.
- Keep Networking: The process of real estate recruitment is ongoing. Constantly grow your network and contacts and actively reach out to them.
- Brand Recognition: Make sure to also invest in your own brand and reputation, which will build trust and likewise attract new business partners.
- Compensation: Offer realistic and motivating commissions and incentives. International businesses can normally send US Dollars to agencies and agents in China without problems. In case, you want to send them RMB, you can use services like Transferwise as a private user. Do your due diligence when transferring large amounts abroad and check with your partner for the best solution.
- Be Helpful: Provide free marketing materials, support, and information on the markets your partners are interested in – ideally in Chinese language. You’ll benefit from doing small favors as your partners will remember you and get back to you with new leads and ideas. In the real estate world, virtual viewings are becoming more and more important, especially during the Covid-situation where there are many travel bans in place.
In any industry and business partnership, finding the right people (respectively Chinese sales agents) is a crucial part of success. Even more so, in the Chinese market, a meaningful network will ensure an attractive pool of options for all client needs, and ultimately, happy customers.
Top Online Marketing Channels/Trends in China
We’ll start with some trends for inspiration and get into more details about them further down in this article.
- Douyin/TikTok posts/ads
- Toutiao – social news platform
- Paid ads – on Chinese search engines (PPC) and social media like WeChat adsCryptocurrencies – you may find it interesting to hear that many crypto miners are located in mainland China due to the cheap electricity costs. Although cryptocurrencies are still a grey area in China and officially banned, there are many crypto HNWIs in the country, who are more flexible to transfer their money abroad. Therefore, you could consider accepting cryptocurrencies as payment from Chinese partners and clients.
For the real estate niche, you could particularly consider
- Virtual real estate showings – now more than ever with the global Covid-pandemic going on
- Residency by investment – China just became one of a few countries worldwide that charge income tax based on citizenship regardless of where the person lives/resides. This will likely drive Chinese HNWIs to seek alternative/new citizenships. At the same time, China doesn’t allow dual citizenship. Therefore, if a new citizenship is acquired, the Chinese citizenship/passport must be given up. But this may be considered unpatriotic. Hence, HNWI Chinese are likely to be more interested in a second residency instead of a new citizenship. This is one of the factors to have recently caused a boom in the Greek residency by investment program.
Now, let’s look at the different ways to connect with Chinese sales agents.
1. Connecting with Chinese Sales Agents in Mainland China
First, let’s look at ways to find and reach out to real estate professionals in China.
- WeChat: In the Middle Kingdom, online and offline life basically revolves around WeChat. Finding out the WeChat ID, e.g. via QR code, of potential Chinese sales agents is the most important step to connect with new partners and build a reliable network! Get invited to WeChat groups, be active, comment, and keep in touch, even if just as check-in or to catch up.
- Other Chinese social media: Besides WeChat, Douyin/TikTok, Sina Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Toutiao are most relevant.
- Baidu Research: China’s most popular search engine is Baidu as Google is blocked. For example, to find a real estate brokerage, agent, or agency for your specific needs, you can search for “移民” (immigration) plus the target country on Baidu. For example, you can search for “移民德国” (immigration to Germany) to find Chinese agencies. Alternatively, you can search for “海外房产” (foreign real estate). If you don’t speak Chinese, you can use browser extensions for automated translation. For example, if you use Google Chrome, Zhongwen can automatically translate from Chinese to English. On the agency/broker website, keep an eye out for their WeChat number in order to contact them directly. These numbers usually start with a 1,2 or 8 and are usually 9 numbers long.
- Marketing Materials: Provide your marketing materials in Chinese language. Make sure to emphasize what’s important to your Chinese partners, HNWIs, and investors. In the real estate sector, you could talk about Feng Shui and family values. Many Chinese believe in Feng Shui and a good energy flow. Besides, the Chinese generally believe in generational investments and value the option to host their family when visiting. So, make sure that your property exposé captures the benefits for different generations. Moreover, it’s important that you come across as trustworthy. You can convey this by showing the size of your company, successful placements, and a variety of luxury options across the world. Finally, it’s noteworthy that consumers buy “emotions”. That means a certain feeling or lifestyle they associate with the country and real estate, e.g. food, health, freedom of traveling, and so on.
- Your Website: Have a strong online presence, where your potential partners can assure themselves of your business. Make sure your Chinese prospects are able to access your website. If you have a business website, it’s important that it surpasses the Great Firewall of China, for example. Read up in detail about all the steps you need to take to get your website accessible in mainland China here.
- Contact an Expert: An experienced Chinese marketing agency like China Gravy can help you develop the best recruiting strategy for your real estate project and connect you to a valuable network.
These marketing channels/platforms cover around 1.4 billion Chinese who live in mainland China. At the same time, there are still around 35 million Chinese living around the world, with whom you may also want to connect. So, let’s look at ways to reach them through real estate brokers as well as Western social media platforms, search engines, and other points of contact.
2. Collaborating with Chinese Sales Agents to Target Overseas Chinese
Chinese around the world including Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore have access to more tools and platforms online.
Keep in mind that you will have to use the traditional Chinese language to communicate with partners and clients in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Read more about traditional vs. simplified Chinese for lead generation in this article.
You can use the often disregarded potential of Taiwan and Hong Kong to your advantage. There are many HNWIs, who can be reached relatively easily, for example with Facebook ads. That’s because most Western platforms and channels are available in these countries (unlike in China).
So, to reach Chinese around the world, you can follow these strategies:
- Google Research: Since Google is available in most countries outside of China, you can rely on this search engine to find seasoned agents, independent brokerages, and other types of agents and real estate experts depending on niche and needs.
- Western Social Media: Consider Facebook real estate ads – in particular, lead generation and messenger ads. Get to know the 11 different types of Facebook ads and which is best for your needs in the recruiting process of real estate specialists in China.
- Fairs & Exhibitions: Connect with international agents in your area through online and in-person meetups, fairs, exhibitions, expert gatherings, and other social events.
- Get Help: A China expert like China Gravy is happy to connect you with real estate professionals.
This brings us to the end of our guide on connecting with Chinese sales agents as partners in China and countries where many Chinese live.
3. How to Connect with Chinese Distributors
Connecting with Chinese distributors is straightforward on platforms like 1688 and Alibaba. As a global B2B company, these platforms make it easy for you to sell your products in the Chinese market.
Read up about working with China sourcing agents in detail here. If you want a helping hand, a China expert like China Gravy can help you with China distributor sourcing.
International B2B and B2C businesses have now learned how to find and connect with Chinese sales agents, partners, investors, and HNWIs. We’ve described the platforms and processes based on the example of the real estate industry. Besides, you have a good understanding of the Chinese business culture now.
Get your FREE consultation with the highly sought-after experts from China Gravy. Our team members are true China marketing masters and are excited to share their knowledge.