Whether the market is shifting or booming, agents who find a way to set themselves apart from the competition will always find success. For Keller Williams associate Tim Gilson of the Birmingham (Mich.) market center, the strategy through which he has found success is in targeting international buyers and sellers as a member of KW GPS.
“It’s a nice referral opportunity for someone looking for someone who has the ability to market to people outside the country and in their own language,” he says.
Gilson joined Keller Williams in March 2016 after working in real estate since 2000.
“It was all the things I was seeking and wasn’t getting in terms of support and the education in how to run a business,” he says. “It’s really powerful stuff . We’re still getting our feet wet and looking forward to getting more involved, but it’s a wonderful place to be.”
In his inaugural year with Keller Williams, Gilson helped launch the Birmingham (Mich.) market center. He also learned about the KW GPS program during his first month there and quickly became a member.
“It was a nice introduction right out of the gate,” Gilson says of GPS. “I use it as a marketing tool. We’ve had clients within the last week who asked, ‘What are you going to be able to do for us that would put this property in front of international clients?’ They’re accustomed to people talking about the MLS but not about putting it in front of people outside the U.S. in other languages. People are impressed by it.”
An Impressive International Background
It is also easy to be impressed by Gilson’s own international background. He spent many years living and working outside of the United States, traveling both for business – his previous career field was metallurgical engineering – and for pleasure to more than 30 different countries. He also earned a master’s degree in international business from Pepperdine University.
The Michigan Technological University graduate has conversational fluency in German and Spanish, the latter in part due to his Mexico-native husband and children, all of whom speak Spanish at home. Perhaps because of his history and family ties, Gilson has continuously found himself in well-traveled and multicultural/linguistic social circles, which fuels his business both in terms of clients and team members.
How Gilson's Team Has Succeeded With International Buyers
“People from around the world searching for homes in southeast Michigan gravitate to me for a reason I can’t define,” he says. “We built our business out because of that. We have some buyer agents in our group who speak a variety of languages, which helps us target our marketing to special audiences. For example, we recently targeted our Russian-speaking community through print and email campaigns because we’re able to communicate the concepts of both real estate and settling here in the U.S. in a way they can understand in their own culture.”
For international buyers, much more goes into the relocation process than finding the perfect home, which Gilson and his team understand.
“It’s not just buying and selling,” he says. “We’re taking care of the entire family. We explain the process and how we protect your interests, and here are the neighborhoods with the services that can meet your needs. We’ve helped German nationals, Italian families, people from the Middle East, Argentinians. We’re currently working with a Chinese family. It’s a really neat mix of people. Being able to do it in their language is really helpful.”
KW GPS - Leverage for New & Experienced Real Estate Agents
The KW GPS program dovetails well with his team’s full-service approach by allowing Gilson to of er his international clientele more than a traditional real estate team could.
“KW GPS fits nicely with this,” he says. “For example, we have a luxury listing that I think is probably wellsuited to investors from specific cultures outside the U.S., so we shot drone video of it and had full video production done in Arabic. We produced it in Russian as well. We loaded it onto YouTube because we knew that we needed to communicate these ideas to people in their own language. It blew the builder’s mind because he said nobody else has ever done anything like this.”
In Gilson’s opinion, his local market in Southeast Michigan is likely no different than other geographic areas in terms of his success with international buyers.
“I think we’ve uncovered a need that probably exists in every corner of the country,” he says. “Despite the rhetoric of the past six months, immigration is a mechanism for our country to grow and prosper and be better.”
Win International Buyers & Sellers With KW GPS
Like Tim, you can win international buyers and sellers as well. It all begins with making sure you are a part of a community committed to helping you get there. Learn more about KW GPS and how it can help you build your global reach and business for years to come!
Gilson's Full Story Coming Soon in OutFront 14.1
Tim Gilson's story is one of many featured in our upcoming edition of OutFront magazine. The magazine focuses on the Keller Williams advantage and success strategies among our associates across the world.
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Written by: Shelby O'Neill