Prop­erty sales and the Cyprus cui­sine

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Con­tin­u­ing in the va­ca­tion spirit of the days, I would like to re­mind ev­ery­one of the phrase that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stom­ach”.

For­eign buy­ers, par­tic­u­larly Rus­sians, es­pe­cially ap­pre­ci­ate the friend­ship and hospi­tal­ity. From my own ex­pe­ri­ence and if you would like to host a prospec­tive buyer at your home, I pro­pose what should in gen­eral terms be in­cluded in the Cypriot hospi­tal­ity din­ner. Nat­u­rally, I am re­fer­ring to high value sales and not the mid­dle / low range prices where per­haps the cost and the ef­fort could be dis­pro­por­tion­ate to the pur­chase amount or even com­mis­sion, if you’re in­ter­ested.

• For a starter with wine, al­ways of­fer a good qual­ity siousioukko and per­haps corn on the cob grilled with sea salt in or­der to “melt” the ice dur­ing the first hour of the meet­ing. Hiromeri ham (our own ver­sion of prosci­utto) is a “killer”.

• If you are of­fer­ing nuts or dried fruit, start with peanuts with the ini­tial drink (I will not for­get a Rus­sian bil­lion­aire who was so de­lighted with the Cypriot peanuts that for the past three years I have been send­ing him peanuts by post!)

• With the sec­ond drink ready, of­fer hal­loumi grilled with tomato in pitta bread.

• For the main course you should pre­pare the ‘sou­vla’ with pork meat and some chicken if your guests do not eat red meat. This rit­ual should take place in front of your guests and not in the back yard. You should have an ex­tra oven pasta dish or even bet­ter, a mous­saka not with po­ta­toes but with vegeta­bles and greens to bal­ance the meat.

• The salad must be fresh of the day and not those from the re­frig­er­a­tor (they have them in Rus­sia as well) in or­der to wel­come your guests with the fresh smell.

• For drinks, what bet­ter than a good Cyprus wine, a chilled white and a slightly cooled red (keep for just 10 min­utes in the fridge be­fore serv­ing).

• And for dessert, top it off with lo­cal sweets such as ‘shamali’, ‘louk­oumaded’ (donuts0, or a creamy ma­hallepi.

• For other drinks apart from wine, keep a bot­tle of re­frig­er­ated vodka and end he meal with Greek mas­tic (many peo­ple do not like zi­va­nia). And don’t for­get - do not force your guests to drink more than they want.

• The am­bi­ence should in­clude some ro­man­tic Greek songs with the ap­pro­pri­ate trans­la­tion depend­ing on the cir­cum­stances. Ask but do not in­sist for your guests to sing along.

• Fi­nally, be­fore your guests leave, you may con­sider ap­pro­pri­ate gifts, such as a sil­ver rosary (kom­boloi) for the hus­band, and for the wife and a sil­ver dish or tra­di­tional Le­fkar­i­tiko lace.

Th­ese are my sug­ges­tions for sales to Rus­sians who are of­ten in­trigued by such lav­ish treat­ment.

On a lighter note, let me tell you of a Rus­sian buyer at the Po­sei­don project in Lar­naca, who bought a house for EUR 2.8 mln on the beach. Con­sid­er­ing the high pur­chase cost, we in­vited him to a small party at the un­der-con­struc­tion home, with the tra­di­tional sou­vla. Our buyer got so ex­cited that he in­sisted (and we have in­cluded in the pur­chase doc­u­ment) that for the next three years would we will host a sim­i­lar party for him (I have kept this con­tract as a unique me­mento of the 35-year his­tory of our of­fice).

And be­cause I be­lieve in an ag­gres­sive ap­proach, fol­low­ing our deal, we also sent the cook (the su­per­vis­ing con­trac­tor) to­gether with char­coal and the ‘foukou’ grill to Rus­sia with a box of wine. It may have cost us around EUR 2,00 for a party of 22 peo­ple in Moscow, but it was worth it. The next time, we will prob­a­bly send two Vrakades in tra­di­tional cos­tume with Cypriot dances.

Don’t for­get that in such cases, the buy­ers al­ready have ev­ery­thing they want (or at least they can get it), so you need to fo­cus on lo­cal tra­di­tion and some­thing dif­fer­ent, al­ways giv­ing am­ple con­sid­er­a­tion to the host­ess, who very of­ten is the fi­nal de­ci­sion maker in a deal.

And if your po­ten­tial buyer is stroppy-faced and gloomy, make sure you in­vite a friend who will liven up the party, with dance and song, or even a zeibekiko for the tra­di­tional group dance in­spired from ‘Zorba the Greek’.

In a fu­ture ar­ti­cle I will also elab­o­rate on how we ap­proached a Jor­da­nian buyer, an ex­pe­ri­ence not be for­got­ten.

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