- Millennials represent a greater percentage of our buyers annually — reaching 50 percent within just a few years — yet the proportion of agents their age remains comparatively tiny.
- You should reallocate your Internet time to actively connect with millennials and build relationships with colleagues across the country.
- Immersion is an effective way to understand how millennials think, play and work.
The real estate profession needs millennials, and millennials need real estate agents. Each year, “mills” represent a greater percentage of our buyers — reaching 50 percent within just a few years — yet the proportion of agents their age remains minute by comparison.
The challenge is threefold:
- How do we recruit millennials to become agents?
- How do we train and retain millennials once they’ve chosen our profession?
- How do our existing agents work efficiently with millennial clients and customers?
The first step is clear. We have to learn about this massive generation. They are diverse, powerful, connected, often impatient and they outnumber us. So how do we begin?
A quick Google search of “millennials” generates more than 16 million results. And we know that reading whatever we find on the first few pages or what catches our attention on social media is more about effective marketing and SEO than about quality content.
Add to this the fact that we real estate agents have minute free time to explore, and the prospects for success diminish further. Still, the need is clear — we must begin to understand what motivates this generation, how they prefer to communicate, to learn and what models work for them. But how?
I suggest these three strategies that will at least get you started in understanding millennials:
1. Change the way you use social media and at least a portion of your online time
Most of us can find time if we honestly examine our day. If we add up time doing the email thing, plus time on Facebook and Twitter, plus time spent surfing the Internet (I prefer the term drifting, but that’s for my next article), I bet we’ll have something to work with.
The idea is to assign some of that time to active connecting. Reach out during this active connecting and build virtual relationships with colleagues across the country who face the same challenges. Join (or create) dialogue about millennials. Learn from what they’re doing and let them learn from you.
2. Spend time with millennials
Go places they go. Do some of the things they do. Read and watch some of the things they enjoy. There is nothing like immersion to confirm that there are real differences between generations and to begin understanding those differences.
Hint: It is OK to ask a mill or two to act as your tour guides. They usually don’t bite.
3. It’s important to remember value
We bring value to millennials, and while we have questions and challenges about accommodating them, they have concerns and issues about fitting in.
For many of the mills we help as clients or train as colleagues, this will be their first time buying or working with real estate at all.
Our experience — a track record of success and familiarity with the way the market works — will prove invaluable.
These few strategies represent more than just a beginning. They represent an effort on your part to get to know the next generation — the future of our profession.