Many real estate companies missing multicultural business

By Kim Shindle | Sept. 3, 2014 | 3 min. read

Learning about different customs and making the effort to understand them helps in attracting multicultural business and clients, according to Jose Perez, president and founder of PCMS Consulting.

Jose Perez
Jose Perez

“When you make an effort to learn about someone’s culture, people realize you respect where they come from,” Perez said. Perez has a 25-plus year career in the real estate industry, beginning with CENTURY 21 and eventually moving up the ranks of Realogy as senior vice president Franchise Sales and Acquisitions of CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, and ERA prior to starting PCMS Consulting in 2008.

According to the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) website, the Hispanic buying power is expected to reach $1.5 trillion in 2015; the African-American buying power is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2015; and the Asian-American buying power is expected to reach $775 billion by 2015.

“Most of the real estate industry misses the boat with their lack of understanding of different customs,” Perez said. “This Hispanic community is comprised of different customs. Just because everyone speaks Spanish, doesn’t mean we all share the some customs. The Cuban population is different from the Mexican population, which is different from the Columbian population.” He noted that the Asian community also consists of many different cultures and languages from Vietnamese, to Chinese, to Japanese and Taiwanese.

An example of not recognizing the differences in these cultures was a recent news article about a Cuban issue, but included a photo of the Puerto Rican flag with the article. “The little things are important,” he said.

Perez said while these multicultural markets are growing in buying power, agents need to make an effort without lumping everyone together by not acknowledging their background.

“You shouldn’t make clients feel like it’s the politically correct thing to do to get their business,” he said. “In many communities, it’s the small real estate businesses that are working with multicultural clients because they have taken the time to serve the communities properly and often represent these communities.

“You can’t just make the homepage of your website in Spanish, then leave the rest of the site untranslated,” Perez continues. “It shows a lack of sensitivity and an unwillingness to work with people who may be more comfortable speaking in their native tongue.

“You have to make a sincere effort without being hokie,” he said. “It’s not impossible to do but I don’t see a lot of brands or brokerages doing that. And they’re missing out on a big economic opportunity.”

Perez will be presenting two programs at the Triple Play Realtors® Convention in Atlantic City, December 8-11. His courses include: “Are You Effectively Attracting Multi-Cultural Clients and Agents?” and “The Real Estate Transaction Has Been Commoditized.”

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