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CIPS Designation Helps Real Estate Pros Grow Global Business

Two real estate pros on opposite coasts are experiencing great success tapping into an expanding global marketplace of clients—and they both converge when crediting their Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) for helping to make it happen.

Jason Peé serves as the broker for Charleston, S.C.’s Global Property Services, while Spencer Hoo is team leader of The Hoo Group at RE/MAX Premier Realty in Irvine, Calif., where he is acting director of the International Department.

Both enthusiastically state that their CIPS designations have served them very well.

“I knew getting that business would require a long-term investment. International clients weren’t just going to start knocking on my door,” Peé explains. “But I also know Charleston is an international destination—we have 140 companies with global affiliations, and there were only two agents in the entire market when I got my CIPS about five years ago.”

It was logical for Peé to begin using his CIPS skills locally before expanding to serving global clientele, and he came off the blocks in great form.

“I was able to increase my domestic business by 40 percent in just a short time,” he reports. “There are no secrets left in real estate; it’s really about knowledge—and the more you have, the better resource you are. I engage clients on how I can market their property internationally and I’m able to win those clients away from some of the biggest and most established agents in the business.”

Hoo says he benefited from instructors who created hands-on, real-time practice assignments using CIPS tools.

“That helped us understand the importance of things like currency conversion and the differences between metric and imperial measurements. It helped create a comfort zone when discussing these aspects with international clients or agents,” Hoo explains.

Peé says the most important skill he gained in his CIPS training was how to make an introduction to clients that creates both a positive impression and instills trust.

“I think of culture first before I speak,” he says. “I’m working with Volvo now because a fellow CIPS professional called me to assist with some of her relocation clients coming to Charleston. Having knowledge of the (Swedish) culture, that client was absolutely thrilled. I’m probably going to wind up getting a contract with Volvo because of my CIPS designation and my understanding of their culture.”

Peé is dealing with clients from Japan and Vietnam, as well.

“I got a referral just this week from a seller connected with a CIPS agent in the CIPS Facebook group, and I got the listing,” he reports. “I get as much as 10 percent of my referrals every year thanks to my CIPS designation.”

Peé has just opened his own brokerage with five agents, including one who is CIPS designated.

“We’re going to focus on helping that international market using the CIPS marketing tools and materials they provide,” he says. “I’ve already used some of those resources for marketing packages and presentations.”

Hoo reports that he has also received a number of referrals from the CIPS Facebook networking group.

“These referrals are coming from the U.S. and Canadian agents who have contacts outside the country,” he says. “Our group is very active in China and most of Asia, so when these agents get clients from those countries, I usually get the call.”

Hoo explains that he pays that referral goodwill forward by serving as a go-to resource for anyone in the CIPS networking system who has questions about how to interact with new clients or prospects from those countries.

“The designation has really opened up my company to the international marketplace. We’re starting to see a lot more developers coming to us for help marketing their projects in China,” says Hoo. “And the training and marketing materials are always available for those who need it. That’s why I think a CIPS designation is probably the best stepping stone one can get to increase their global presence.” 

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor/cips.

John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.