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Market Cycles Influence Alternative Business Development Options

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By Peg Guinta, CRP

relocating seniorsReal estate and relocation professionals often expand business services by recognizing market trending and filling underserved needs in their market areas. By capitalizing and building on business models and skill sets already in place, each of the following individuals and their firms developed thriving sub-specialty businesses while also maintaining successful traditional business services.

Fourteen years ago, Maureen Campbell, president, Pearce Plus Relocation & Senior Services (a subsidiary of H. Pearce Company) in North Haven, Conn., saw a growing boomer population and an increasing need for senior transition services.

Campbell realized that her corporate relocation department’s high customer service orientation and attention to detail could be repackaged for seniors requiring transition assistance into retirement communities. Using a similar business model and infrastructure, the corporate relocation department redirected some of its resources, creating Pearce’s Senior Living Services.

Pearce Plus Senior Services works with downsizing seniors relocating to destination retirement communities nationwide. Many senior clients require marketing preparation services (i.e., organizing, de-cluttering, estate liquidation, home staging) and home sale expertise. These are daunting tasks for many who may not have sold or purchased real estate in several decades or are without family nearby to assist.

Today, Pearce’s Senior Services is a thriving division, responsible for about 40 percent of the relocation department’s business; the remaining 60 percent flows from traditional services such as direct corporate client relationships, RMC and broker-to-broker referrals. Not all of Pearce’s relocation agents are active in senior services. Those who sub-specialize must complete specialized training to serve its senior market.

While Pearce’s Senior Services is essentially commission-based, downstream partners provide referral or fee-paid opportunities. Other brokerage relocation departments may refer senior customers or service partners, but Pearce’s relocation department oversees the process to maintain service standard consistencies. Campbell says relocation departments should consider diversifying and expanding into services besides corporate relocation. In Pearce’s situation, core activities needed to service relocating employees and downsizing seniors were very similar and easily redirected to another audience. “After all,” says Campbell, “That’s what we do. Whether it’s corporate employees or seniors, we help people in transition.”

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