It is a fact that real estate sales in Cyprus of some value refer to mainly foreign clients, some of the deals are an outcome of the sellers’ hospitality (mainly through food).
This way of entertaining clients is well known in Cyprus by real estate developers/agents and it is most appreciated by the clients if the potential client is interested in a property (be it of some value).
An invitation to a restaurant is okay, but it is not the same as a “personal” invitation at the seller’s home, it has good PR value.
The British have a saying “a way to man’s heart is through his stomach”.
Quite right, especially looking at our way of dining and we add here our Greek saying, “Cypriots eat as if it is their last meal …”
Let’s explore this route of real estate sales through food in Cyprus, which comes about as a result of the local hospitality, but it needs care.
Should you opt for any reason to invite your client out, opt for a fish restaurant, be it that they are costly (not less than €60 p.p. with wine).
Don’t opt to choose the big fish (cooked on charcoal), which is very expensive, go for a fish meze with calamari, squid, red mullet, octopus etc, which, oddly enough is most appealing to foreign clients, even those who come from fish-wealthy countries.
Whoever is the invitee, make sure that either the “top man” or a manager/director of a sort issues the invitation and attends the meal.
Lower-end staff should be treated with caution in terms of behaviour since this may spoil the whole set-up.
The Dinner at your home (a well-tested success alternative) is most appreciated by foreign buyers:
- Start with soft Greek music.
- Offer before dinner, charcoal halloumi and chosen local sausages and offer hiromeri (prosciutto) as a snack with pitta, during appetizers.
- Main dish mousaka (you can buy ready-made – frozen to cook) 1st plate and/or second plate souvla with the smoke etc is a ritual not to be missed – Cyprus potatoes with it.
- Fresh salad (with lettuce) is a must during the main dish dining and feta cheese on the side.
- In terms of sweets, ladies’ fingers (our own Cyprus made) and lizo (Turkish delight made mainly in Yeroskipou)
- Start – whisky is not the favourite of the eastern Europeans. Try vodka.
- Wine – During dinner offer white or red wine. Local wines will be appreciated (but good quality).
- Afters – With the sweets, if you prefer local, offer zivania (the local schnapps).
- If you want to add shioushioukkos or almond/with honey seeds (pastellaki) it goes very well with the coffee to follow.
From there on dear readers, we suggest that:
- Do not over push your guests to eat more (a local attitude)
- For the male agent, do not behave in a “manly” manner.
- Do not invite them to dance with you the Zorba dance if they do not want. Do it on your own.
- Be prepared to give some sort of a present e.g. Lefkara lace, wine/zivania, or small silver ashtray with our moufflon engrave.
- Show your best character and keep the party with very few people i.e. the client’s family and your own (1-3 people in total on your part) and do not invite the relatives and friends.
- Make sure that your guests are meat eaters and not vegetarians and alter your menu accordingly.
This information comes from our experience based on numerous clients, one of whom we recently sold a property for €7 mln. So, its success is proven.
On another occasion, we did a BBQ lunch on-site where the house was under construction (deal of €2 mln).
The clients were so enthusiastic about their treatment, that they insisted that our souvla cook (the foreman) be present and to visit Moscow with full equipment to celebrate the buyer’s birthday (all expenses paid).
If you are not up to it, use a catering service, leaving you time to talk.
From there on, keep your fingers crossed and if everything else regarding the property is okay, you might have a deal of several million as well!