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Relocation Service Departments: Ideally Suited to Provide Corporate B2B Services

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By Peg Guinta, CRP

RISMEDIA, April 6, 2011—Many relocation services departments within real estate brokerages are considering alternative activities as fewer transfers affect traditional services. Less mobility activity doesn’t eliminate the need for corporate services, but may call for new approaches to support B2B needs and establish your firm as a key resource for this valuable business source.

RIS Consulting Group has released a whitepaper on this subject, which can be downloaded for free here.

Corporate relocation administrators’ program goals traditionally include service quality and cost containment. But many are also aligning mobility activities with corporate objectives that may result in these or other trends in your market area:

-increased global mobility as companies compete in world markets
-highly selective transfers (i.e., executives or key positions)
-strategic use of performance metrics data.

Could your relocation department strengthen its local corporate relationships by recalibrating existing services? Read on to learn what clients need.

Changing Corporate Profiles
Fewer corporate relocation administrators are dedicated solely to relocation functions but often have other HR responsibilities, including non-mobility benefits, compensation and recruiting. They’re also frequently influenced by other internal functions. For example, Procurement’s involvement in selecting outsourced service suppliers creates rigorously competitive processes and often requires ongoing performance metrics management activities.

Employers must also maintain competitive, cost-effective programs that support corporate objectives. Often external forces such as cyclical changes in real estate and financial markets affect transferees’ relocation decisions requiring employers to periodically evaluate assistance policies.

Expanded responsibilities, increased metrics reliance and changing environments all increase program support needs. As performance-based partnerships grow and program services evolve, administrators may rely more on localized assistance to manage mobility programs, including:

-relocation-trained agents
-regional market information
-B2B relocation management tools
-enhanced transferee services

Your staff may already include relocation-savvy agents, but other service offerings could interest your firm’s corporate clients.

Regional Market Information
Brokerage relocation departments can become relied-upon local sources for real estate-related subjects important to corporate administrators and transferring populations. Brochures, articles, tip sheets or Web content offering best practices for short sales, bank foreclosures and REO purchases for example, are useful.

Transferee educational content may also facilitate sale opportunities within corporate home marketing programs by explaining how:

-employer-provided marketing assistance improves sales activity
-correctly-priced or well-staged homes lessen selling time
-market feedback supports updated sales strategies

Some companies have limited traditional home purchase benefits and must consider options for ineligible employees. As a result many have strengthened home marketing programs and some provide transferees with buyer-directed incentives to improve salability. Your recommendations for proven, local buyer or agent incentives may be welcome. Others sponsor rental management programs for homeowners unable or unwilling to sell their homes and resource information or services for landlords may be appreciated.

Relocation Management Support Tools
Corporate administrators need meaningful, consistent advisory support to help manage and direct their programs and your ‘from-the-field’ insight could be invaluable for:

Policy Development: even companies with few annual moves but without a basic relocation policy can benefit by establishing consistent, equitable assistance programs. Existing policies need periodic evaluation to confirm they’re effectively meeting transferees’ needs and corporate objectives and are also tax compliant. Some companies may need to conduct policy benchmarking with corporate peers to ensure assistance remains competitive. Companies initiating group moves may prepare a customized one-time policy to address their complex dynamics and specialized needs.

Survey Services: primarily used for post-relocation employee service evaluations, these are underused management tools. Transferee survey feedback is valuable input in many other situations including:

-destination home search needs assessment
-diagnosing a group move population’s transfer requirements.
-tracking program usage or identifying service process disconnects.

Your own company’s KPI (key performance indicators) tracking or SLA (service level agreement) referral management or other employee activities could be vital data for corporations and a significant credential for your services.

For more information on survey-based metrics management, download the free white paper “The Key to Relocation Metrics Management.”

Transferee Services Opportunities
You may tap into other transferee service opportunities in your local market area:

Renter Assistance: in some corporate mobility populations renters outnumber homeowners yet their needs are not always well-addressed. Fee paid or not, renter service packages could be a timely offering to corporate clients. Some renter profiles may benefit from escorted familiarization or home search trips and lease negotiation assistance.

Pre-decision Home Market Data: corporations may need to identify potential home sale challenges before employees or new hires accept the job. Conducting a market analysis as part of a decision process prior to acceptance encourages informed decisions for homeowners and employers and could help avoid possible relocation failures.

Global Assignments: locally inbound internationals typically need specialized orientation services and settling-in assistance. Those on short-term assignments may not purchase but have temporary housing or rental property service needs instead.

Corporate clients that don’t outsource transferee services to relocation management companies may especially value your B2B support. Even those using outsourced services may not receive levels of program-aligned input necessary to manage complex mobility programs. Your corporate services department could be a key resource to local corporate clients and you may be ideally positioned to provide or partner with others to offer new products or services.

To download the free whitepaper, “The Key to Relocation Metrics Management,” click here.

RIS Consulting Group is the relocation business consulting unit of RISMedia and frequently assists corporate clients, service companies and the real estate community to develop tools and training to facilitate relocation activities.

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