I keep reading articles online about how agents who want clients from China should study Feng Shui or hire an expert to come in and advise them. Or…the warnings are dire. After selling real estate in China as a broker through my agency in Shanghai and subsequently selling real estate to Chinese all over the world as an agent, I can tell you that we never had a Feng Shui expert at our company. And none of our competitors to the best of my knowledge did either? What?? How is it possible that even in China it didn’t affect our agency business one way or the other?
Learning about Chinese culture is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong. I speak fluent Mandarin and am fascinated by the country and it’s people. But it’s more of a hobby than for business. Most agents, Chinese and non-Chinese alike are looking for business first and hobbies second. But I warn you, there are many pitfalls, black holes of time and money that you need to be aware of if you want to succeed in a reasonable period of time. Most brokers in the North America, Australia, the UK that want more clients but are very busy. There are a lot of things they want to do but can’t fit them in the schedule. Am I describing you? If so, read on.
Feng shui is very useful for architects and designers of new projects. They have a blank slate in front of them. It makes sense to consider Feng Shui design in this case. Even the top Feng Shui masters disagree on many points. In addition, there are many well known disasters in China when developers used Feng Shui to design a property and ruined it. Due to the South Facing entrance rule, some retailers don’t get sufficient foot traffic. I always am reminded of a major retailer )German) in Shanghai. They hired an expert to design the project. Unfortunately, that expert was not an expert on foot traffic and put the entrance facing South. The problem was that South was opposite the subway station and requires over a 5 minute walk around the outside fence to find and foot traffic is non existent. Meanwhile, all the Chinese retailers put their entrances facing the station. Some with footbridges right to the door. The Chinese companies broke the rule and are always packed with buyers. So Feng Shui is complicated. Even for architects. Even more so for agents with limited marketing budget and a loaded schedule.
Other things that can drain your time and money. Focusing on numbers, avoiding the number 4, putting a fishbowl or carp pond in your office: It’s like saying Australians like BBQ’s so if you put one in your house, they will magically appear. They can’t see over the ocean to see that Feng Shui’d red welcome mat. If they want a red carpet, they will buy one and put it wherever they want. You need to find the clients, understand why they are buying. They aren’t buying in America to fulfil their need for Chinese culture. They are buying for real needs. Education for their children, a green card or nationality, for clean air, for safety of capital, for lifestyle. I’m not saying that Chinese are not unique or that some people really do believe in auspicious numbers but it certainly isn’t all people. And it isn’t the way to get started.
Focus on things that produce revenue, finding potential clients, understanding their needs and motivations for buying in your area and presenting directly to them. The funny thing is, even though I know quite a bit about Feng Shui after living in Asia since the 80’s, it doesn’t really help me. The clients like to teach me about Chinese culture. So I listen. And what I’ve found is that no two people say the same thing. So I let them tell me about “Chinese culture” but what they are often doing is telling me about themselves. About their thinking. What they want. So I really listen instead of being an expert. Would you like a real estate agent to teach you about your culture? Of course not.
I’ve been to over 50 countries and have found that in every country people love to tell me about their country! So I am the never ending student. I listen rather than tell. I’m open but have my eye on the ball learning about them, listening, for their true needs and motivations and what their long term plans are. And I do my best to give that to them. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I wish you luck in this interesting journey