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Broker Strategies – The Golden Rule

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How are you recasting your business and agents to be more responsive to the “new” customer?

By Paige Tepping

Pat Hoferkamp
President
Burgdorff ERA Realtors
Parsippany, New Jersey

For over 50 years, Burgdorff has followed the “Golden Rule,” by providing outstanding service to every individual who comes through our door. In the past, the difference between our clients had to do with renting vs. buying as well as the price of the home.

Today’s real estate market has changed dramatically with the onset of emerging markets, causing for the differences between our clients to reach much further than this. Even with the shifting marketplace, our philosophy at Burgdorff has remained unchanged, as we still strive to provide each of our customers with outstanding service. The challenge in today’s marketplace though is to understand and be aware of the different cultures and customs.

In order to keep up with the many customer groups within the real estate market, we have focused on partnering with leaders in diversity markets as well as training our agents to have a better understanding of customers’ customs and needs. Our most recent partnership with Realogy and NGLCC (National Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce) allows us to offer certification training to our sales associates. This certification assists agents in gaining sensitivity to and understanding of the LGBT market.

We have also partnered with the leaders of NAHREP (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Brokers), NAREB (National Association of Real Estate Brokers), AREAA (Asian Real Estate Association of America) and HISPA (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement)to bring awareness to our sales associates. Through these partnerships, we are able to participate in events and attend training sessions as well.

Also, we are working on creating a virtual Hispanic office, which is used to promote and increase homeownership amongst the ever-growing Hispanic market. In fact, we recently implemented Phase I of this project, which includes putting the team of agents together, establishing 1-800-ERA-CASA for the consumer, creating a virtual floor time schedule and working with our business partners (i.e. ERA Home Loans) to establish a direct bilingual line. Phase II, which should be completed by the end of the first quarter, will include a website-www.bienvenidoacasaera.com.

In responding to first-time home buyers and generations X/Y, we are actively recruiting from these segments of the market to bring individuals in to work with us as agents. We conduct monthly “Lunch ‘n’ Learns” to educate all of our agents who are working in this changing market.

Staying grounded in our business philosophy and keeping up with the latest trends has allowed us to be confident in moving forward with the emerging customer groups that are making their way into the real estate market.

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