5 Strategies to Cater to Spanish-Speaking Sellers (When You Only Speak English)
If you live in the United States, you already have some opinions with regard to the advantages of understanding and being able to speak Spanish in your local marketplaces. Some fairly obvious advantages of being able to speak Spanish versus not speaking Spanish are:
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- The ease of speaking with any Spanish sellers or buyers
- Access to more leads
- Access to more sellers, buyers, and bird-dogs
- Trust-building through a shared language and rapport
However, if you speak no Spanish, fear not. There are still methods and procedures to consider for approaching, helping, and closing deals with Spanish-speaking sellers regularly. Below are five options to consider implementing in your business if you have a significant Latin or Hispanic population in your area.
Disclaimer: This article is designed to help non-Spanish speaking investors. If you already speak Spanish, then pat yourself on the back and smile knowing you have a bit of an advantage over many investors/real estate agents in your area. With that said, please comment if anything is missed in this article below.
1. Utilize the help of the seller’s friends, family, or neighbors.
Some sellers may have bilingual neighbors, family members, or friends that are in the local area at the moment you call to inquire about the home for sale or at the time the seller/buyer calls you. This bilingual friend or family member can be a fortuitous find to help translate between the sellers/buyers and yourself. To continue forward, this family member or friend should be available at the time of your first appointment and walk-through.
Pro Tip: This is the only approach that is “passive.” Only utilizing the help of local bilingual friends/family members that are available at the time you call may seriously limit the possibility of making a deal happen. This also may show a seller you are not serious about purchasing their property.
2. Outsource a translator by the hour/minute.
This method can be wise to use proactively. If you are not marketing to Spanish-speaking sellers, you are missing out on a demographic many investors simply cannot reach.
Pro Tip: Consider experimenting with both English and Spanish advertising and marketing. Letters to sellers may have an English and Spanish side. Newspaper ads may be attracting both English and Spanish-speaking callers.
- Hire a bilingual answering service and provide them with all the questions to ask both buyers and sellers who call.
- Begin advertising with your bilingual marketing. Direct anyone interested to call your bilingual answering service. The answering service will likely email you daily with a report of the calls and answers/questions generated.
- Hire a Spanish translator or work with the local bilingual friend.
- With your translator, call the Spanish-speaking sellers or buyers. Set an appointment if appropriate. The translator must be available for appointments to see the home, follow-up appointments, and additional phone calls with the seller or buyers if needed.
- If utilizing the help of a title company or closing attorney, there will almost always be a Spanish-speaking translator available. Use the help of this translator to close the rest of the deal.
3. Partner with a Spanish-speaking investor, real estate agent, or friend.
Do you already know a Spanish-speaking investor, real estate agent, or friend? Or do you go to real estate investor club meetings where you may befriend a Spanish-speaking investor or agent?
Depending on the proposition/compensation you are presenting to this Spanish-speaking investor/agent, he or she may or may not be wildly interested in helping you. Things to consider are:
- Do you wish to partner with this investor or simply pay him/her a flat fee?
- Should you have a few different Spanish-speaking contacts in case one is unavailable?
- How much activity does this person wish to have in the deal? What skills, attributes or capital does he/she have to bring to the table?
- If this Spanish-speaking person is an agent, perhaps you could use them when you resell the home.
- Is this investor more seasoned than you? If yes, he/she can teach you a few things if you bring him/her a deal to partner. If no, you will have to train this person what procedures to take and questions to ask over the phone.
Pro Tip: If you have Spanish written marketing mail pieces targeting Hispanic real estate sellers, then forwarding them to your bilingual answering service as described above in bullet #2 may be ideal. However, this tip, bullet #3 may be best when receiving stray and random incoming calls from Spanish-speaking individuals.
Step 1: Find a Spanish-speaking person to work with.
Step 2: Decide on a compensation.
Step 3: Ask your new Spanish-speaking business associate to teach you how to say, “Hello. My Spanish-speaking partner Frank will call you back as soon as possible. Thank you, goodbye” in Spanish.
Step 4: Continue business as usual. When you receive any Spanish-speaking incoming calls repeat the line above in Spanish.
Step 5. Hang up the phone and inform your business associate to call back the Spanish-speaking callers.
4. Learn Spanish.
Now is your time to learn. You have been promising yourself for years to learn Spanish.
Pro Tip: Following one of the above strategies is preferable for immediate action. However, even practicing your Spanish through basic conversations (while you are learning) with sellers will help build rapport and trust. This last sentence was advice provided to me by a very active Hispanic investor.
5. Do nothing/wait for technology.
Two technologies you may have heard of are 1.) the Google Translate App and 2.) The Pilot by WaverlyLabs. These devices allow for conversations to be translated between languages in real-time. While the reviews are mixed these two “real-time translators” are getting better with time. Once this technology is more available and more accurate it may decrease the advantage Spanish-speaking investors have over non-Spanish-speaking investors.
In conclusion, continue taking action helping local buyers and sellers and dominating your local investing market. Sellers cannot call you if they do not know who you are or what you do. Speaking the same language also helps however there are crutches you may use and technology to take advantage of to help you create value with many motivated sellers you interact with.
How do you cater to Spanish speaking sellers?
Let me know with a comment!