FOCUS: South Africa
Beryl Pohlman has been working in the relocations industry for 12 years and she’s still as passionate about the business now, as she was when she started back in 2005. She’s seen the industry evolve significantly over the past ten years with a lot more foreigners relocating to South Africa than ever before.
“People love the South African climate. Europeans and Russians fall in love when they come to South Africa and realise we’re not as third-world as they thought,” says Beryl. “Foreigners realise that they can live a much better lifestyle in South Africa with more beautiful homes, in better neighbourhoods than in their own countries. And I have the honour of introducing them to this beautiful land of ours.”
One of the major concerns foreigners have when they first approach her is the issue of security, says Beryl. “I advise them to always be vigilant but I think that applies no matter where you are in the world. I drive them around the streets of Johannesburg and allow them to experience the city and more often than not, I can see they relax a little.”
Beryl laughs when she tells of an incident when she picked up one of her clients from the airport and although she had a whole day planned to view the flats he requested, he had changed his mind on the plane and now only wanted to view cluster homes with backyards. “This happens a lot, people often change their minds and that’s one of the things that makes this job so exciting. I took him for coffee, cancelled all our planned trips, and quickly made new plans to show him the houses he wanted.”
To new and aspiring relocation consultants, Beryl says her advice would be to assess their customers and identify their initial concerns. “We are often intimidated by corporate people but at the end of the day, they’re just people. Read your customers quickly and think on your feet and you’ll be successful.”