Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Global Symposium Brings Together Top Brokerages in Amsterdam

CHICAGO – (10/24/16) – For nine years, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has gathered top independent real estate companies from around the globe for a two-day symposium. This year’s event takes place in Amsterdam October 23-25 where speakers at the symposium will present new research and data on the ways the real estate market is changing on a global scale.

This year’s event is particularly meaningful because it marks LeadingRE’s expansion into its 60th country and represents a record number of countries in attendance.

Symposium attendees include brokers and real estate leaders from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the U.S. attending. Previous Global Symposium locations included Dublin, Rome, Valencia, Madrid, Lisbon, Venice, Dubrovnik and Berlin.

“In the past month alone, we have added outstanding companies in Bulgaria, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates,” said Chris Dietz, LeadingRE vice president of global operations. “The phenomenal international growth we have achieved positions us as the global leader in terms of both coverage and performance.”

Also notable at the event is the debut of a new logo and marketing materials for members. The new logo encapsulates the brand’s identity as an international leader in real estate and as a mark of quality for the real estate companies that have been selected as members. Membership in Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) is awarded only to market-leading companies that have demonstrated excellence in service delivery and results.

The Amsterdam program includes a range of timely topics from the newest research on the role of wealth management firms in real estate to what is happening in key markets around the world. U.K.-based keynote speaker Caspar Berry is a former poker player who uses that background and 15 years of media experience to offer unique insights on risk-taking and decision-making.

“The symposium is an important part of our yearly calendar of events we provide for our members,” comments LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor. “As a global organization, we value these times when we can bring leaders in real estate markets around the world face-to-face with one another. The connections that this event fosters are priceless, and as a result, our members have sent cross border referrals to over 90 countries in the past 12 months.”

To learn more about the event, visit www.LeadingRE.com/Symposium.

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Nearly 30 Countries Represented at Upcoming LeadingRE Global Symposium

CHICAGO – (9/26/16) – Excitement is building for the 2016 Global Symposium of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® in Amsterdam October 23-25. LeadingRE members from nearly 30 countries will be participating, including Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE, United Kingdom and the U.S.

This is the 9th Global Symposium sponsored by LeadingRE for its members around the world, with previous locations in Dublin, Rome, Valencia, Madrid, Lisbon, Venice, Dubrovnik and Berlin.

“Our network doesn’t just feature dots on a map,” comments LeadingRE President/CEO Pam O’Connor.  “Globalization is an integral part of our culture. We bring top-performing real estate brokerages together from around the world at events like this to learn what is happening in global real estate. We foster close relationships, and as a result, our members have sent cross border referrals to over 90 countries in the past 12 months. Other real estate organizations talk about being global. We truly live it.”

The Amsterdam program will feature topics ranging from the global role of wealth management firms in real estate, to the impact of BREXIT, to what is happening in the Russian market. Keynote speaker Caspar Berry is a former poker player who uses that background and 15 years of media experience to offer unique insights on risk-taking and decision making. A special LeadingRE announcement is also slated for the opening session of the Global Symposium on October 24.

To learn more about the event, visit www.LeadingRE.com/Symposium. To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit www.LeadingRE.com.

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Technology: Building Block or Road Block for Your Relationships?

By Jeff Kennedy, Global Business Development Manager, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®


The use of real estate technology has exploded exponentially over the past 10 years, and most would agree it can help you work faster, be more thorough and operate more efficiently. However, even as our industry has evolved, the customer’s desire for a human connection is as strong as ever.

With the new influx of tech, most successful agents leverage multiple products for lead generation, CRM, post-transaction marketing and more. Technology is heavily used because agents are busy, and these tools allow them to do more in less time. However, therein lies the potential problem: in an effort to be as efficient as possible, an agent could be tempted to let technology take over the critical job of building relationships, and that could be a costly mistake.

What’s the problem with leaning too heavily on technology? One word: connection. It takes interactions to build new relationships, which are usually the natural result of repeated human connection. If used incorrectly, technology can act as a barrier to truly connecting with someone.

Here’s some sage advice from a past mentor: “All things being equal, people like to do business with their friends. All things not being equal, people still want to do business with their friends.” In my experience, people will choose to do business with you because they like you, even if another product they are considering is less expensive.

How can you safeguard against losing that essential personal connection when using technology to stay in touch with your clients?

Here are some do’s and don’ts for using technology in a way that actually strengthens your relationships:

Don’t: Choose Efficient over Effective

Do: Build Relationship Capital

Have you sent computer-signed holiday cards and automated birthday emails? If so, you may be fooling yourself into believing that you are using technology to be efficient. Do you find it compelling when you get those types of communications? At what point does the value of efficiency devalue the effectiveness of the communication? Instead of sending computer-signed birthday cards, just pick up the phone and leave a Happy Birthday message, or if you really want to make them smile, try singing that birthday greeting. Which one will make a bigger impact? Which one builds relationship?

Don’t: Be Reactive with Data Requests

Do: Be Proactive and Give Data Freely

The best way to build trust is to offer value first, second and third. Rather than pushing your agenda of wanting to sell someone’s house, give something of value and expect nothing in return. Send data on market trends and other community news that you think would be pertinent or interesting to the client — even before they ask for it. Use a tool like CoreLogic’s ePropertyWatch to provide automated valuations and information on surrounding listings, sales, forecasts and trends. They may not need you right now, but by offering this type of essential data, you are cementing your position as their real estate expert.

Don’t: Send Generic Emails

Do: Be an Original

You can detect a canned email, and rest assured that your clients can too. Spend the extra time to give it your personal touch, even if it’s just a quick paragraph at the top. With that in mind, try using a program like BombBomb, which allows you to send quick videos of yourself, in lieu of a standard email. A video message allows the client to read your face, hear your words (with the intended tone) and appreciate the undoubted twinkle in your eye. A delivery like this is a differentiator and therefore will make you memorable—even with something as mundane as email. Being memorable and connected is what builds a referral network that will propel you to success.

The challenge for most real estate professionals is using technology to its fullest potential, while staying true to the one thing that computers and technology will never master:  creating real connections with real people.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® understands the value of relationships and how important connecting is. It’s one of the reasons we have members in over 55 countries worldwide. Through these connections, our network receives an incoming referral every four minutes, on average.

Real estate is often called a “people business,” and there is no question that relationships are what fuels the industry. Keeping this in mind, the key to evaluating any new technology is to ask yourself whether it helps you strengthen relationships and/or create new ones. If the answer is “yes,” it warrants your attention.

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“Nicaragua” is not an Address: Success Strategies for Cross Border Referrals

By Beth Kinsella, Global Member Services Manager, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®


Do you work with clients who have real estate needs outside of U.S. borders? As the global market place continues to evolve and more people purchase homes outside of their native countries, you can provide exceptional service to them by helping them connect with a broker just about anywhere in the world (“just about” being the operative phrase) through a referral. Working with referrals outside of American borders is an education, providing lessons in geography, math (read: name that time zone) and perhaps most importantly, cultural awareness. The norm is that there is rarely a norm. Real estate practices vary from country to country, and just when you think you have one country figured out you will be quickly confused by another.

The challenge of cross border referrals is made greater by the number of people involved. In some cases, there is the client who is buying or selling, the agent who is working with the client, the relocation or business development team who is working with the referring agent and, in companies that specialize in this type of business, a cross border referral team who is working between the originating company and the destination broker. Does that make your brain hurt? Here are some ways you can ease the pain:

Set the Bar Low and Beware of Tire Kickers

At the risk of sounding pessimistic, cross border referrals have many variables and numerous points at which the transaction can derail. Caution clients that this is a difficult and almost assuredly slow process. The clients should have their paperwork, finances and basic research in order before the process begins.  Is the client really prepared to purchase a €3-million-dollar chateau in the south of France, or is he having a midlife crisis and watching too much House Hunters International? Ensure that the client who is buying or selling is serious, not just testing the waters. Wasting the time of a valuable contact all but guarantees that he or she will not be interested in doing additional business in the future.

Communicate Clearly

Abandon the notion of “That’s how we do it here.” Your way of doing things is not universal; for instance, you might prefer conducting all of your communications via email. Many countries are not as email-centric as the United States. Also, keep in mind that if you are trying to establish initial contact with someone who does not speak English as a first or even second language, your email could easily be perceived as junk mail.

Contacting someone by telephone is always the best first step. Certainly this can be intimidating, even hilarious at times, but making the attempt shows legitimacy. Who would spend the money or time to make prank phone calls to another country? Anyone can send an email, and it doesn’t cost a dime; that phone call says you mean business (even if you butcher the language).

Google Translate is a huge help, even if you can only squeak out a few words in the language at hand. Occasionally you’ll get someone on the other line who speaks a bit of English, and you will make progress. Once you reach a point when you can get an email address for your contact, communication by email is easier with the help of Google Translate. A tip in regards to using any translation site: use the most basic vocabulary possible (caveman speak). Avoid slang or colloquialisms and remember that many English words have multiple meanings. Always follow-up by phone because if the recipient is receiving an email in a language other than their own there is a good chance they (or their email server) may think it is spam.

Know that “Nicaragua” is not an Address

Getting detailed information is key; this cannot be overstated. When gathering information from the client or referring agent, make sure to get all of the facts. This includes: client contact information, exact listing address (country, city, state/province and postal code), housing type, language requirements of the buyer or seller and any other pertinent details. The more information gathered, the smoother the process will be. Less back and forth with the destination broker will cut-down on placement time.

Exercise Patience

This can be easier said than done. We are in a drive-thru, next-day-delivery, order-from-your-phone culture. This is not always the way the rest of the world works. Getting a response from a broker in another country can take days, on occasion more than a week. Being patient is key and communicating that to all parties involved is essential.

Accept Differences in Business Practices

While your company might pay on a buyer referral, it is uncommon in some parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. Understand that this is not a character flaw of the destination broker or a bad policy of the company he or she represents, it’s simply not a business practice there. Take one for the team and understand that even though you aren’t getting a share of the commission, you are providing your clients with great service, and they will likely come back to you with future business and refer you to their friends and family. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, have the referral fee conversation up-front with the destination broker and make sure to send a referral agreement.

Another major difference to keep in mind is that in some countries, no real estate license is required to sell real estate — that means anyone can sell a house (yikes!). It’s always best to go on the recommendation of someone who has worked with the company before. When that’s not possible, research, research, research. Find out about the economy in the destination country; are they having any major political issues or other threats to the housing market? Dig around the Internet with the agent or broker’s name and the company name; look for a physical address of the company, not just a website. If your gut instinct tells you that something is off-base — keep searching.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a selective global community of the highest quality independent real estate companies, has made it a priority to effectively service this type of business with a Cross Border Referral Team based in several different countries. The team serves as a hybrid of liaison/concierge/matchmaker to assist member brokers and others when their clients have real estate needs around the world, reflecting the global focus of the network.

Despite the many differences between cross border referrals and business sourced closer to home, there is no discrepancy in what is most essential: the value of human touch and impact of an agent who is willing to go the extra mile. To learn more or to get assistance with cross border referrals, visit www.crossborderreferrals.com.

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