The rules for EB-5 investment are the same for everyone. The more investors become aware of the opportunity, and the more opportunities become available, the more you will need to distinguish your opportunities from projects offered by your competitors. A good way to do that is to offer something unique. In this chapter I propose some ideas that I hope will be catalysts for you to develop yet other ideas.
Offer Services and Amenities That Your Competitors Do Not
BUNDLED SERVICES. The first component of this idea is to ensure that you are a full service center. Include every convenience and amenity that is legal and permissible within the scope of your Regional Center or your EB-5 project. Each of your services is probably available and priced a la carte. Consider bundling them in ways that make sense. Not every project will need all of your services. Instead of offering the a lacarte list as add-ons, package logical services together at a discount.
VALUE-ADDED COURTESY SERVICES. For small projects, especially ones where an investor may want or need to locate in the vicinity of the project, you might, for instance, offer the services of a REALTOR™ to help the investors find a suitable new home. After all, they’ll need one, since their objective is immigrating to the U.S.
Another service that you might offer could be social connections to Chinese cultural associations, or simply introductions to U.S.-based Chinese businessmen. Yet another might be a subsidized ESL course to help your clients to become more comfortable in their new cultural environment. Still another idea would be offer introductions to important community, state, and federal officials, not as an afterthought, but as a part of your ordinary service that makes your service feel extraordinary.
Sometimes the project itself will be unique and interesting beyond the scope of the EB-5 program alone: the financing of a sports stadium or a theme park, for example, or the development of a major golf course, for instance, might prove to be adequately unique. Think about an investor in the latter example who gets a lifetime membership as part of his investment. That ought to an adequate differentiator.
Offer Recognition for Their Success
The Chinese, despite their overt appearance of humility, love to receive recognition for their success. Promote their endeavor to the media. Do it on a regular basis. Issue press releases. Participate with the local Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Director to optimize the visibility of the project.
Offer Educational Assistance for Their Children
We are making the assumption that children of high net-worth Chinese are already in American colleges and universities. While many are indeed here taking advantage of an American university education, there are many more who are not.
My suggestion is that you offer a service, either for a fee or not, to assist your clients in the process of getting their children enrolled in a U.S. institution of higher learning. Do this even if their children are ten or twelve years old. It won’t be long before they begin the investigation process. Your familiarity with the educational system can help them avoid wasting precious time. Remember, one of the advantages of investors moving to the U.S. is that their children’s college education will be less expensive when they have a residency status.
A Final Thought
Although it will not make your project unique, you might consider making your business unique by offering only projects that include some form or amount of government funding. You might also consider working with projects that receive U.S.-based financing from a short list of well-known lenders. True, this might limit your participation with some projects; but the point of this section is positioning yourself in a differentiated niche. Limiting your participation demonstrates selectivity and it presents you as a purveyor of excellence rather than a broker of commodities.
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