There is advice all over the sites for Realtors about how to work with millennials. But nobody seems to be doing anything to help the "30 Under 30" crowd figure out how to expand their business to appeal to their elders. And it's pretty safe to say that there are a few generational differences.
Here are a few of the tips that have helped some of the younger agents in our company increase their appeal to buyers of a certain age:
- The telephone is your friend, and it's not just for texting! When I'm working with younger buyers, I rely heavily on texting. But when you're working with older buyers, you need to expand your repertoire. Some of your older clients still use flip phones and don't know how to text. Some can text faster than you can, but they want to talk to you - to hear the nuances in your voice. So call them with most communications unless they tell you to email or text. Its the client who sets the rules of contact.
- They don't all search for homes on the Internet. While most "seniors" I know do have and know how to use computers, many are not completely comfortable navigating the online home search sites. They don't mind clicking a link in an email that leads to a full listing on a particular property, but dealing with some of the automatic searches we send can be confusing.
- When you email anything important to them, call to let them know what's coming. Email has gotten crowded with spam, and you can't assume your clients open it up to read every day. Also, a lot of the email sent from an MLS system can easily wind up in the spam folder.
- Older buyers and sellers may be put off by the team approach to service. If they feel they are being passed around to various team members, they might look for an agent with a business model that provides for more individual service, and they might demand more attention than many agents are apt to offer these days.
- It's hard to fake it with these buyers if you are still at the "don't know what you don't know" stage in the business. They may have been through more real estate transactions than you have, and while things may have changed since their last move, they can spot a fake or incompetent a mile away.
Younger agents have a lot going for them. What they lack in experience, they make up with energy, enthusiasm, and a readiness to try things that older colleagues might not be willing to do. But there are a couple of other important ingredients that are even more important. Humility helped me a lot when I was a newbie. I also had a broker who helped me understand the crucial need to add competence to the mix, whether it was a firm grip on the various contracts or knowledge of the inventory.
This is a profession that you can't master overnight.