Global Referral Exchange: Cultural Sharing with a Payoff

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With flags flying from more than 60 countries and territories, and hundreds of Affiliates from around the world exchanging business cards, the Global Referral Exchange at R4 on Wednesday was a veritable United Nations of real estate with one universal language: referrals.

Notes and quotes from the worldwide get-together

Kazuhiko Tanaka, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Community LAB in Kyoto, Japan, said Kyoto’s notoriety as an ancient Japanese city made it popular among global investors looking to capitalize on short-term rental business from tourists.

“So many people are coming from all over the world,” said Tanaka, whose business cards were written in Japanese on one side, English on the other. The main difference in U.S. and Japan real estate buyers? “People in the U.S. decide on properties very quickly,” he said. “Japanese people take time.” Real estate agents in the respective countries are different too, he said. “In Japan, they tend to deal only with people they know.”

Felipe Serra, Region Owner of RE/MAX Brazil, proudly pointed out that RE/MAX Brazil boasted the most franchise growth of any region in South America last year, with 85 new franchises.

“You could not get this atmosphere from any other organization in Australia.”-Jenna Gould

“I think this is the most important element of R4,” Serra said, while pointing to all the national flags and people around him. “This is RE/MAX,” he said. Serra urged agents of RE/MAX Brazil to attend R4, but for those who couldn’t make it, he plans to pass on referrals or other contacts to franchisees. He said RE/MAX growth in Brazil has been steady, with more on the horizon.

“We said 2018 was a revolution,” Serra proclaimed. “2019 will be an evolution of the brand.”

A conversation between RE/MAX Ireland Region Owner John Fogerty and RE/MAX Chile Regional Operations Manager Ronan McCarthy (a native of Ireland), illustrated the exchange’s international flavor and spirit of sharing.

In Ireland, Fogerty said, there are no buyer agents. An agent works with both the buyer and seller, and the average commission is relatively small. Meanwhile in Chile, Ronan said, “There is no regulation, so a huge amount of our work is training and support. But our professionalism works in our favor in Chile.”

Also in Chile’s favor when it comes to outside investors, Ronan said, is its economic stability. Ronan just completed his first year with RE/MAX; last year was his first R4, and he also attended training at RE/MAX World Headquarters in Denver. “Last year was like a fire hose,” he said of the information overload. This time he’s mixing in some fun. “It’s good to see regions here like Peru and Paraguay with similar cultures. It’s also good to have the U.S. guys here for the template – how they are training and doing the basics.”

Of course, “global” includes North America, and Affiliates from the U.S. and Canada were in no short supply. They included Samson Kimani, an Associate with RE/MAX Welcome Home in the Boston area. Kimani’s R4 ID badge holder was stuffed with business cards from Global Referral Exchange attendees he’d met. He intends to follow up with every one of them when he returns to Boston.

“To me, this is one of the most important things RE/MAX does that other companies are not doing,” Kimani said.

Jenna Gould, the Operations Manager for Team Gould at RE/MAX Bayside in Brisbane, Australia, introduced herself to others by asking them to sign an inflated kangaroo. She said the average commission for Team Gould agents is higher than most agents’ in the country. “So being the best is important.”

And when it comes to the best, Jenna said the Global Referral Exchange experience speaks for itself. “You could not get this atmosphere from any other organization in Australia,” she said. “The fun, the knowledge, the energy.”

Of course, she quipped, “Everybody likes Aussies.”

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