No agreement ever happens unless all parties are satisfied that their own
best interests have been or will be met. Keep in mind that your real goal is
to profit from the EB-5 visa program opportunities. Unless, of course, you
really are as altruistic as you would like people to think you are. In that case,
you would be donating your services. I assume that you are not.
At any rate, my point is that you should keep in mind that investing is not
your client’s primary interest. That he can do without you. His interest is in
immigrating to the U.S. through the investment opportunity. When your
potential Chinese client is confident that you will be able to get him to that
goal, you will be able to dispense with the word “potential.”
YOUR POTENTIAL CLIENT MUST BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU
ARE, AND THAT YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU CAN DO.
Credentials Create Confidence
Before ever visiting your first potential client, if you have not done so already,
prepare a professional portfolio with copies of all your credentials, including
degrees, certifications, associations, recognitions, accomplishments and
awards. Your objective is to demonstrate that you are properly trained and,
even more important, authorized to conduct EB-5 business. Any credible letters
of recommendation, especially from Chinese sources of known integrity, would
certainly be a valuable, even overwhelming benefit. This portfolio is about YOU,
but it is not something that you should use to brag on yourself.
Present Yourself with Dignity and Respect
Americans tend to pass paperwork to fellow business people with a single
hand. Chinese take care to show a greater respect to others by handing
important documents, including business cards, to others with two hands.
The sheer appearance of this gesture conveys respect and, therefore,
garners at least a modicum of confidence.
The next portfolio you present should be about the project in which you would
like the individual to invest. This portfolio is about YOUR PROJECT. It should
contain all the business plan-related materials, strategic information, and
certifications of the project as eligible under the EB-5 Immigrant Visa program.
If your project features any governmental support or investment, you should
make that clear. Any government involvement at any level should generate a
great deal of confidence in your project. It provides a sense of security.
This would be a good time to explain carefully, and in painful detail if necessary,
that the USCIS certifies both people and projects, but it does not approve
either. To prevent potential future problems, it is in everyone’s best interest to
understand this not a minor detail. Your client will appreciate your up-front
efforts to make these and other important differentiations. Your commitment
to clarity will enhance your credibility. It is as though you have credentialed
yourself by your straightforward presentation and clarification of otherwise
often confused issues.
Uncommon Courtesy Creates Confidence
It is wise to attempt to understand your investor ahead of meeting. The
Chinese investing mindset has changed significantly in the last decade, and
has become much less monochromatic as the accumulation of wealth has
spread throughout different social and geographic centers. My point here is
to emphasize that not all people are alike just because they are millionaires.
The recent McKinsey report on Understanding China’s Wealthyxxiv divided
the high net-worth cultural segment as being composed of seven distinct
variations. The report states that “Easily obtained demographic information
— age, gender, and income, for instance — offers little help in separating
China’s wealthy into segments with differing attitudes.” It goes on to classify
wealthy Chinese into seven categories, by attitude – something you need to
understand in order to deal appropriately with your potential clients.
The seven categories are Luxuriant, Demanding, Flashy, Urbane, Climber, Downto-
Earth, and Enthusiast. The report strongly recommends that you
“understand how the different segments relate to one another and [then]
craft strategies appealing to several of them to gain the greatest benefit
from [your] efforts.”
The greatest courtesy that you could possibly extend to Chinese investors is to
understand their particular attitudes about their wealth and what they hope to
do with it. It may also be the biggest courtesy that you can extend to yourself.
Expertise Creates Confidence
A good many years ago, a friend of mine was just beginning his career for a major
U.S. corporation. The company’s sales approach was to not sell anything at all,
but rather to establish confidence in the expertise of the salesperson and the
company. “Tell, don’t sell” was the SOP. It was so effective that the company had
more total sales volume than the next five in that market sector combined. This
sure-fire approach should work well with most Chinese investors, who typically
like to feel that they are in a position to be observed as making a wise decision.
As I mention occasionally throughout this book, the financial institutions with
whom you are associated may also lend credence to yourself and your project.
Like any other foreign nationality, the Chinese people are aware of the
prominently advertised banks and lenders in the U.S. If your lender is not one
of the “big names,” you may need to provide additional material that
substantiates the credibility of your lending institution.
Be forthcoming. Be straightforward. Be understanding. Be wise. Be
prepared. Be patient.
Be all of these and they will believe you.
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