Many people don’t like to reveal their personal details to strangers, and this is especially true of wealthy and famous people. Being inquisitive about the personal and family life of a Chinese student in the U.S. may annoy them. An EB-5 project promoter must be careful to offer information, not to solicit it.
Let’s assume that you have begun to establish your visibility and authority on the subject of EB-5 visa opportunities, and that you have the opportunity to interact with some Chinese students. You may want to consider using your first face-to-face meetings as opportunities to learn more about the student, rather than to hawk your project. We’re not talking about pushing for personal details. This is the time to demonstrate respect for the student and for his or her accomplishments and goals for the future, and to praise him for what he has done and what he hopes to do in the future.
Mention the EB-5 process and your project, but do it in the format of giving the student an opportunity to ask you questions. This may be a good time to ensure that he has either read material that you have distributed, or has visited your website. In fact, it’s a great time to walk through the website or marketing collateral with them in a conversational setting. Think of this step as leading a horse to water. If your purpose is to get the horse to drink, you don’t lead him directly to the stream, you walk him within sight of it. When he is ready to drink, he will let you know.
Many wealthy Chinese students take business courses in college. They also have experience running their family businesses back at home. It is from this platform that an EB-5 promoter should express confidence in students’ ability to think and to make wise decisions. In fact, the best strategy may sometimes be to let the Chinese student bring up the subject of contacting his parents, which he is, more than likely, going to have to do anyway. When the subject comes up, regardless of how it does, don’t rush in like a bull in a china shop. Instead of asking for their parents’ names and contact information, you will make significantly more progress by asking the student how he would recommend sharing the project with them.
Imagine saying this: “What do you think is the best way to present this idea to your parents?” as opposed to this: “Why don’t you give me your parents’ information and I’ll contact them immediately?” Not only does the first approach sound more appealing, if you ask the second question and you get a reluctant or negative response, you’ll probably limp for the rest of your life from that hole you just shot in your foot.
This is also a good time to establish the nature of businesses that these students like. If you have only one project and it is in gold mining, it’s not going to interest a Chinese student who sees his future, and his family’s, in semiconductors. You’ve piqued their interest in the early stage of establishing your presence and authority. Now you have moved to the qualification stage. Only a fool would waste his time chasing a woman who is not attracted to him. But it’s a bigger fool who would gain her attention, find out that they are incompatible, and still continue wooing her.
In a strange twist of cultures, some Chinese will have no reservations whatsoever about hiding facts from you. However, if they sense that you are withholding information or polishing a misleading statement to make it appear truthful, they will leave you choking in their dust. The point is, while it is morally and legally imperative that you be absolutely honest in presenting your project, you need to carefully analyze and weigh what the Chinese student tells you in response. He does not operate under the same moral imperative as you do. So this stage is also the time to do some fact checking regarding your potential candidate. How you go about that isn’t really our concern. The fact that you should is.
At this point, a word about confidentiality is appropriate. You already understand the need for holding personal information in trust. Since students may mislead you, they may be somewhat suspicious of you as well. If they ask for some form of written assurance of confidentiality, simply honor their request and compliment them for their good idea. The idea is to treat the student with extraordinary respect, as an equal. Be harmless as a dove, but be equally wise as a serpent.
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