The demographics of America have changed. Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. They make up the largest portion of the labor force, according to the Pew Research Center, and also a big segment of the home-buying and -selling market. Thirty-four percent of homebuyers and 18 percent of home sellers are millennials, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
This upward trend has major implications in the real estate industry. Older agents may be wondering what they can do to appeal to a younger client demographic while simultaneously being pitted against younger competition. Here are a few ways to update your small business practices to stay relevant in the ever-changing business:
Take Your Tech to the Next Level
Today’s buyers and sellers expect you to be more than a generic information gatekeeper. With the help of online property search portals like Zillow and Trulia, clients don’t need you to find or post a listing. Instead, they want help navigating the nuances of buying or selling a home and making the process flow as smoothly as possible. With the help of technology, and the intimate knowledge of how to use it, you (not just your younger co-workers) can be the expert who walks them through it.
Ways to upgrade and improve:
- Business and Taxes: Let QuickBooks Self-Employed handle organizing your expenses and financial work for you; categorize expenses, track your mileage and capture receipts all from an app. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a National Association of REALTORS® REALTOR Benefits® Program partner, which means it has features specifically designed with agents in mind. Plus, REALTORS® get a discount!
- Digitize Documents: Use an e-signature solution like DocuSign; doing so increases your security, mobility and reliability, speeds up the paperwork process and keeps everyone organized.
- Neighborhood News: Subscribe to BubbleLife, which aggregates neighborhood news and allows agents to share it on all social media platforms.
Upgrading your technology and improving your use of it sets you apart. An agent with years of experience who is also current and tech-savvy is a winning combination and is sure to impress younger clientele.
Build Your Real Estate Brand
Stronger bonds build business and increase your chances for client referrals. That’s why you’re on- and offline real estate brand has to be two things: active and authentic. Online, your younger co-workers may have an advantage; millennials grew up juggling multiple social media accounts with ease. You may struggle to stay active on one—but that can all change.
Matt Johnson, co-host of the real estate podcast and video series “Real Estate Uncensored,” says the way you use social media can make or break the way past and prospective clients perceive you. If it’s a genuine connection, you’re more likely to receive referrals and hook clients. If you never post—or worse, if you only repost or share automated data—you’re likely to lose connections fast. Strive to post daily and share a mix of personal and professional information, all of which you are genuinely interested in and care about.
Know How to Communicate with Every Client
The key to staying relevant in the real estate business is being able to communicate with every client, no matter their age. Have you ever felt like someone wasn’t taking you seriously because of your birthdate? When working with younger prospective clients, you may be tempted to relate to them as you would your millennial-aged children or other young loved ones. Don’t. Treating clients equally will garner respect and prevent younger clients from avoiding you simply because of your age.
Another thing to note: Phone calls and emails aren’t the only way to communicate in the professional world anymore. Your millennial co-workers are used to texting and being available online all the time—and you can bet they won’t hesitate to offer that luxury to their clients. This doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries, of course. Moving forward, ask clients early on how they prefer to communicate and address expectations for how often and how quickly each of you can expect a response.
A little online brand-building, communication, and help from tech companies like QuickBooks Self-Employed, and seasoned REALTORS® can update and upgrade their businesses to match the changing world of the millennial market.
QuickBooks Self-Employed is a proud partner of the National Association of REALTORS® REALTOR Benefits® Program. REALTORS® receive a free 30-day trial and 50% off their first year subscription of QuickBooks Self-Employed.
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