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By Paige Tepping 

Robin Peterson
Coldwell Banker Burnet
Edina, Minnesota

With the real estate market no longer being homogenized, what is your company doing to address the many different customer groups that make up the market?

At Coldwell Banker Burnet, we hire a broad spectrum of people to help local residents buy and sell residential real estate. The sales associates that we bring in pursue a wide variety of niche markets. If we have enough sales associates serving a particular market segment, we develop a formal program and provide resources to assist these sales associates.

One example of this type of program that has been very successful at Coldwell Banker Burnet is our Previews-Distinctive Homes Division, which serves both luxury home buyers and sellers. This division was launched in 1980 and includes a large, successful network of sales associates and upper-bracket buyers. In addition, the division has a highly visible brand, exclusive branded luxury home marketing materials and region specific coordinators.

If there is enough demand for new, emerging markets, we develop a formal program as well. The Hispanic/Latino community has become a significant emerging market in our area recently, and many of our sales associates serve this market. We have been working on implementing a program to assist these sales associates. The program includes networking meetings with the sales associates who serve the community, participation in Latino community events, including Cinco de Mayo, La Familia Latino Family Festival & Expo, and other events that are sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The program also incorporates the development of Spanish marketing materials as well as advertisements on a local Hispanic radio station and in Hispanic media print.
The sales associates who have been part of our Hispanic/Latino activities have said that they are pleased with the program and the way in which it has helped them make a larger number of contacts with neighbors, community leaders, previous customers and even potential customers.

We also extend our reach to a variety of ethnic groups through our language services on our Web The site currently features 42 different languages, enabling a potential customer to select a sales associate who speaks their language.

We have also assisted our sales associates who work with both the senior and first-time home buyer markets. We have developed special marketing materials and classes for both of these groups.

We plan to continue evaluating emerging markets and implementing new initiatives that will help our sales associates grow their businesses and make a difference in the community.