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What should a relocation director be doing to adapt successfully?
The relocation director can lead the firm’s analysis of its market footprint to identify and target emerging segments of the mobile population. This may be highly specific to the local economy and demographics.  Marge cited several examples of “creating presence in the market”:

  • One firm’s “Seniors” program, providing housing services for downsizing or final home sales and related support
  • A “first-time homebuyers” program, seeking to attract local and mobile renters into ownership
  • “International” programs, some of which “are more by default”, i.e., hiring agents already specialized in a strongly represented ethnicity or nationality.

Relocation directors can further their personal professional development too, by accumulating a sound Real Estate background and by studying global mobility through Worldwide ERC and other resources.

Marge encourages relocation directors to pursue a key hiring – the hard-to-fill Relocation Business Development position. This person chiefly cultivates direct referrals from local and regional employers, especially those without outsourced relocation programs (colleges, hospitals, etc.). Although this sales effort requires persistence and high service for modest volume growth, it can generate sustainable and higher-margin business not subject to referral fees.

Above all, Marge urges, relocation directors need to “Champion the value of their role – sell their benefits to their own agents.” Her long-held principle is that the relocation director needs to work in partnership with agents under a meaningful reward system. Relocation Departments should work for agents foremost. By aligning with the shifting needs of top producers and their customers, Relocation Directors can maintain (or regain) “a relevance to our demographics” that will sustain and enhance the Relocation Director function for years to come.

John B. Sculley, SCRP, is Vice President – Managing Director of RIS Consulting Group,