Last Monday we had a Chinese New Year celebration organized by the alumni association of our university. We gathered to share memories of the good old days on the campus. Dinner was followed by a lucky draw with much fun. Amazingly, everyone got a prize, thanks to our general affairs executive Jane who is also a bargain hunter. She managed to acquire gifts worth twice the budget given to her. I pay $20 as membership for 2 years, but in that lucky draw alone I won a beautiful tea pot worth $50. What a bargain for me! Here's the post.
February 8, 2017 (Wed)
Connecting with Chinese companies
We know selling to end users gives you the best value. Vivo.com, for example, was sold for $2.1m to Chinese smartphone maker Vivo last year as upgrade from VivoGlobal.com. This price is spectacular for a 4-letter domain name, as Namebio.com shows the majority of similar domain names were sold for less than $20k in the same period.
If end users are that good, how can we approach them? Some may just pick up the phone and call, or write emails to prospective buyers. But for me, I'd like to build relationship first, and invest for the long term.
The answer actually came from an unexpected source: a reader of my newsletter. Howard Fellman runs the PC Professor Technical Institute to upskill unemployed workers for better jobs. Students can even get government grants to study at his school. What a contribution to the society! He has been generous in sharing with me his views on domain names.
Howard has an impressive network of over 10,000 LinkedIn contacts. In June last year, he urged me to join LinkedIn, and then soon I realized the power of this business networking platform. It is the only western social network I know that has entered China successfully, and it serves as a bridge between Chinese executives and people living outside China.
For my purpose, I created a LinkedIn profile focusing on the domain name field. Then, I discovered LinkedIn uses machine learning to study us, so I turn around and use it to my advantage. I show LinkedIn what kind of contacts I prefer, by selecting to connect with executives from Chinese companies. LinkedIn seems to have learned my taste and now the majority of my new contacts are Chinese executives.
However, connections are not relationships. To develop relationship, I read the profile of each new contact, write a relevant message to initiate a conversation, and offer to answer questions on domain names. I also publish updates in Chinese six days a week as an educational series on domain names. This series covers domain prices with meanings, domestic news, global news, and case studies of domain names used by successful Chinese startups.
An incident involving a top executive in China alerted me to the importance of Weixin (Wechat). LinkedIn gives me connection but Wechat gives me instant access to an executive. Fortunately, Wechat is integrated into LinkedIn so a simple scan of QR code enables me to be present in both worlds.
After some hard work in the last 6 months, now slowly I'm trying to tap into the power of LinkedIn by placing posts to promote premium domain names and linking them to their respective Chinese web page with detailed information. LinkedIn is helpful by giving stats on my posts.
For example, two days ago I published a post on an LLL .com name. Within a day it gathered 235 views with 18 viewers being "CEO or Executive Directors", and most of them being from Shanghai. I also know who "like" the post and so I can discuss with them privately. This is only the beginning. The information will be valuable in formulating domain strategy in the future.
When I was growing up, our Chinese teachers told us to take time so as to produce quality in everything we do. They said there is no need to hurry, because China has been around for 5,000 years so it can wait. I use it as my guide and invest for the long term.