Work the Network
When we ask CIPS designees what designation benefit provides the most value, the number one answer is inevitably the CIPS network. When you became a designee, you joined a powerful network of nearly 2,500 professionals worldwide who turn to each other first when referring business. Many have gotten to know each other well throughout the years by attending events and online networking. But even the most seasoned and well-connected veterans look for new, well-qualified referral partners! If you are looking for a way to quickly feel “part of the family,” here are some resources for you:
- Utilize the CIPS Directory. Agents and consumers alike search this directory to find qualified professionals. It is imperative that your profile information is up-to-date, including your photo. Remember to provide relevant qualifications and information that will help people get to know you and encourage them to want to work with you. This is your first chance to make an impression on potential clients and referral partners, so treat your directory profile like a resume – update your bio and photo regularly.
“Based on our experience, the presence of an agent photo benefits the agent very much,” said Eleonore Rojas, Principal PM and VP, Partnerships and Product Integration, Move, Inc. “We believe consumer engagement increases with the usage of a photo during settings where the agent demonstrates his subject matter expertise and skills.”
To update your profile, log onto realtor.org and click on “My Account” at the top of the homepage. From there, under “Update other NAR accounts,” click the link to change your information in the Certified International Property Specialist database. To add or edit your profile picture, please e-mail your photograph to email@example.com. The CIPS directory can be found at realtor.org/findcips.
Paulina Rassavong, CIPS, GRI, RE/MAX Associates of La Jolla, CA. routinely utilizes the CIPS Directory for marketing purposes. Paulina explains, “Using the online directory, I can search by country, language and other terms, identifying agents who might appreciate hearing about a property I am marketing that will appeal to certain types of buyers. I’ll reach out to them typically by email.”
2. Join the conversation in the private, CIPS-only Facebook Group. NAR Global staff ensures that only CIPS designees are part of the group, so you can be sure you are communicating with current and vetted designees. This has been an excellent source of referrals between designees – make sure you are on there taking advantage of the opportunity to receive (and give) referral business! If you are not already a member, search Facebook for “Official Group: NAR CIPS Designees” and submit your request to join.
3. Increasing your presence online is important, but it will never take the place of face-to-face networking. Make sure to attend as many events as possible throughout the year. NAR’s annual REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November and the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo in May are two of the largest industry events in the United States. Each of them has exclusive CIPS networking opportunities, along with other global activities to network with professionals from around the world: REALTORS® Conference & Expo:
- Global Business & Alliances Committee Meeting and other globally themed sessions; past topics include, Doing Business with China, Doing Business with Mexico, and What Drives the Foreign Buyer and Seller?
- Country-specific networking hours in the International Pavilion – each country in attendance receives a table in the Pavilion
- CIPS Advisory Board Meeting
- International Welcome Reception
- International Night Out Awards Ceremony & Dinner Gala
- CIPS Designee Breakfast REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo
- Global Business & Alliances Committee Meeting
- CIPS Advisory Board Meeting
- Global Networking Reception
- CIPS Designee Breakfast
- Embassy Visits (available by lottery)
Also look for events hosted by your state and local associations. Many of the state conferences have global forums, networking events, and activities on the trade expo floor.
“Over the years, I’ve built up my connections to other CIPS designees by attending the national convention, especially via the networking opportunities offered in the international pavilion, where delegates from each country take turns actively making introductions with all interested parties,” said Rassavong. “It’s an exceptional way to make inroads with the most active participants in each market.”
4. CIPS designee Mallina Wilson, Keller Williams Realty, Bellingham, WA, recommends using the CIPS Smartphone/ Desktop App as a resource to help maintain communication with your global network. Using the app’s feature that displays major holidays from around the world, Mallina regularly references it to determine which holidays are approaching. She organizes her contacts by country, and sends her global clients and referral partners e-cards to wish them well on applicable holidays, such as, Australia Day, Chinese Lunar New Year, Día de la Independencia, etc. The app also provides translation tools, measurement, and currency and time converters.
5. If you are using the CIPS Network advantageously, chances are, your referral business will increase. When you exchange
referrals with other designees, take advantage of the CIPS Referral Contract Form housed on the CIPS designees’ member benefits page. This form ensures transparency in the transaction so you know that all parties are on the same page.