Back in April, Mainstreet REALTORS® took part in a trade mission to Serbia. Some of the goals for this trade mission were to help our members grow their business by networking abroad, gain a better understanding of international market places, and to seek out investment opportunities for clients. Among the attendees was Mainstreet Director of Global and Commercial Business, Donna Wilson. I sat down with Donna to learn about her trip and find out why trade missions are so important and why they benefit our members.
What is a trade mission?
Do you want to expand your real estate knowledge into new markets and help potential clients find their dream home? Trade missions help to pave the path for not only the attendees on the trip, but for the association as a whole. “Trade missions provide so many opportunities for our members to grow their business,” Wilson said. “Being part of an association that is willing to provide the staff and resources to organize trade missions is a great opportunity and benefit for their members,” Wilson added. These trips are organized with the thought that they will help our members to grow and expand their global business, while also gaining a global understanding of their client's expectations from that country.
Why are trade missions important?
As mentioned above, a major focus of these trade missions is to gain knowledge and information about global property, allowing you, as a REALTOR®, the opportunity to sell and market properties abroad. “Typically these trips include meeting with local agencies within the country, networking with industry-related experts in order to build a trusted “team of referrals”, property tours, and educational and cultural components to better understand the country and how they do real estate,” Donna Wilson said while discussing the importance of trade missions. Trade missions do not only help the REALTOR®, but it also helps to build stronger relationships and networking opportunities with other countries. By participating in and organizing trade missions, more avenues are opening up for possible transactions in the future.
While in Serbia, Donna and the rest of the Mainstreet REALTORS® representatives took a dive into the Serbian culture, learning and experiencing the country fully. In addition to learning about the culture, our members had the opportunity to view how the real estate industry is structured and some of their future plans. The city of Belgrade's Waterfront District is the subject of one of these plans. The District will be the home to apartments, condominiums, hotels, offices, retail shops, malls, and a park. An Abu Dhabi-based real estate company, Eagle Hills, is heavily involved with this development and they have hopes of revitalizing Belgrade’s economy, and the economy of the entire country. Upon her arrival back stateside, Donna wrote a piece about the 13 things that made Serbia fantastic. This was later picked up by Serbian news outlets and by Miss. Serbia, Ivana Trisic, who is a journalist for Telegraf in Belgrade! You can check out what Donna had to say about Serbia here.
Our next steps as an association is to maintain and build upon our current relationship with Serbia. In November at the NAR Conference, Mainstreet REALTORS® and Real Estate Cluster of Serbia will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to share data and industry update and work together to create better business practices so our members can better conduct international referral business with each other. What you can do as a member to continue to build relationships with Serbia and any other country boils down to networking. Wilson mentioned you can do this by attending events and activities in the local immigrant community, join cultural groups such as National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) and Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), and get involved at your local association and attend programs that are centered around global topics.
You can also consider attending the National Association of REALTORS® convention that is held each year in November, where more than 3,000 delegates from other countries come to share their industry knowledge with us and learn how we do business as a NAR REALTOR®. Each year at this conference Mainstreet’s Global Business Council organizes a property tour within the host city which includes many of the international agents that Mainstreet has built relationships with from their outbound trade missions. "It is a way for our agents to continue to build those relationships and foster future business together" Wilson added.
Get started by searching the Mainstreet REALTORS® calendar for our global events.