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RISMEDIA, April 9, 2008-With a market that’s no longer homogenized, agents today find themselves working with a broad spectrum of clients from first-time home buyers, to the Hispanic community, to senior citizens. We asked Robin Peterson, president of Coldwell Banker Burnet, what her company is doing to address the many different customer groups that make up the consumer base. Here, from top to bottom, she offers her words of advice from hiring to specializing in niche markets.

petersonrobin.jpgRobin Peterson
Coldwell Banker Burnet
Edina, Minnesota

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 that’s been very successful 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 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 Hispanic 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 print media.

We also extend our reach to a variety of ethnic groups through our language services on our website. The site currently features 42 different languages, enabling potential customers 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.