If you’re in the real estate business like I am, you know that this is a “lead generation, lead conversion” business. Yes, we all have two jobs: one is to be a REALTOR®, the other is to do the most basic function: finding buyers and sellers.

So, what’s your favorite way of lead generation? Calling expireds? Calling apartments? Farming? Open Houses? Door knocking? Networking events? I’ve tried them all and they ALL work, but not just by themselves. We are mature enough in this business to know that we must have alternate sources of leads, and I am here today to tell you about one of my favorites: networking with my AMPI colleagues in Mexico. And you’re wondering…what can I possibly get out of networking with my AMPI colleagues? Two words: more income.

NAR has statistics supporting that most foreign buyers buy higher priced homes than domestic buyers, and they usually pay cash. When you’ve worked with foreign buyers who are satisfied with your level of service, they refer you over and over to their family and friends.

Which language, culture, country, and ethnicity do you prefer? The choices are many, but for me, because of the language and culture affinity, as well as the proximity, Mexico has always been my primary choice. Texas shares 1,254 of the 1,900 mile border between USA and Mexico. And more and more Mexican nationals are looking to buy properties in the Houston area, mostly in The Woodlands and The Galleria.

So…how do you grab a share of that business? How to you get the first one? The first one is always the hardest. However once you’ve serviced your incoming foreign buyer well and they’re happy with you, then they’ll reward you with additional referrals.

The most effective networking I’ve found has been with my AMPI colleagues in Mexico. AMPI is the Spanish acronym for Asociacion Mexicana de Profesionales Inmobiliarios, a highly professionalized trade organization; the Mexican equivalent of our National Association of REALTORS®. So, if you want to enjoy the fruits of referrals from our colleagues south of the border, you’ve got to “show up” to their events and start developing relationships with your AMPI colleagues. AMPI hosts several important events every year, and they’re all great sources of networking as well as professional development.

Let’s look at some of the most significant ones:

The AMPI National Congress. This event is their national convention, same as the one NAR is holding this November in San Diego. This year’s event will be held in the colonial and historic city of Zacatecas (Central Mexico) in October from the 14-17. Previous Congresses have been held in Tijuana, Mazatlán, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. This event is not just for networking, professional development courses are also held for all attendees.

The AMPI International Summit. This event is one of my favorites, it’s always held in a “fun” place. Last one was in Puerto Vallarta (June 25-28). Last year’s was held in Tulum, and the previous year was held in Cabo San Lucas. As I said, “fun” places, but it’s also work. I recommend attending as many of the panels and seminars as you can, they’re a great source of knowledge and meeting other AMPI associates.

Toma De Protesta Nacional. This is their annual “swearing-in” ceremony for the AMPI National President. Tradition calls for this event to be held in the incoming President’s home town, usually at the beginning of the year. Some of the past ones that I have attended have been in Cuernavaca, Mexico City, Zacatecas and next year’s will be, once again, held in Mexico City. It is attended by state and local leaders, including the local state governor and the city’s mayor or administrator. Good opportunity to meet more distinguished leaders of this organization.

Toma de Protesta de Secciones.  This is the local association’s swearing-in ceremonies, and they’re held in the city where the local leadership lives and works. They are held year-round in just about all the state capitals and or “secciones.”

Local Forums. Every AMPI “sección” has at least one every year; they’re held for educational, training and networking purposes. They’re valuable source of local networking, and tend to be more “intimate”, giving you the opportunity to develop closer networking relationships.

Want to get involved?
The first thing is to plan to show up. AMPI has their national headquarters in Mexico City, and their contact information is on line. All you have to do to get exact times, dates and locations is go to www.ampi.org and click on the “events” tab.

Plan ahead.
I’ve noticed that frequently plane tickets and hotel stays–if purchased well ahead of time–can result in substantial savings. Also, if possible, plan on arriving one or two days early to learn about the places you’re visiting, and stay a day or so afterwards; many of these event planners have special “after event” programs or activities which can become, in itself, a great way to meet new colleagues. And don’t forget to bring lots of business cards, “give aways” and something of value that you can share with your new friends.

By Richard P. Miranda, CIPS, TRC, TRLP, NAR’s Presidential Liaison to Mexico