By Jennifer Snyder/Inman.com
Millennials have grown up in a technology-fueled world, where personal computers are everywhere, smartphones are the norm and they’ve grown used to the ability to connect anywhere with their tablets. Facebook was originally created for them as college students. Reality television has shown them that anyone can make a million dollars. Millennials tend to have a tendency toward instant gratification; they believe life is full of unlimited opportunities and are more connected by technology than any previous generation.
Many millennials are not quick to rush into buying their first house, but when they do, as a Realtor, the way you must cater to them might be brand-new to you. They want information, and they want it now. They don’t want to be sold. They don’t commit easily, so it will take them time to find the house of their dreams.
How do you cater to millennials? Use their love of technology to impress them and make your life easier. Use technology to manage their expectations and to give them the information they are looking for before they buy a house.
Here are six tips to working with our technology-driven millennial generation:
- Make your website work for you
Millennials want information; they crave it. They want to be educated about a process before they make the final decision. This is especially true when buying a house. They watched the housing market crash, and they have been gun-shy about entering the market. So how do you turn that around? You educate them until they can’t take in another piece of information.
The easiest way to do that is to let your website do the work for you. Create a page on your website that exclusively caters to first-time homebuyers. Include a list of frequently asked questions, useful infographics and links to articles written by you that will feed first-time homebuyers information. Include a free report about the homebuying process that they can download after providing an email address. This not only gives you a list of potential leads, but it gives the prospect all the information they want in one place. Give them the information they are looking for, and you will pave the way to becoming their trusted real estate adviser.
- Connect on social media
The millennial generation is all about connecting on social media, and they love to share what is going on in their lives. When you first meet a new client, find out which social media platform is important to them and connect with them there. (It may not be Facebook!) If it’s possible to do within their favorite social media site, add them to a custom list so you can easily find out what they are talking about. The goal here is to clue into what they are talking about during the homebuying process, the struggles, the issues and the questions. This will help you anticipate their needs, which will make you look like a super star agent.
- Custom email campaigns
Email is still king when it comes to marketing to prospects. When millennials gives you an email address, dazzle them with an automated email drip campaign. Send important homebuying tips, but don’t make it all about real estate. Other ideas that are useful to millennial homebuyers include information about the schools, good restaurants in the area or local interest groups they can join. Millennials don’t compartmentalize areas of their lives when they are searching for a home. They are going to want to know whether the area will fit their overall lifestyle, so show them that it will by providing them with useful information about the area.
- Give millennials tools
This is the generation that uses an app for everything. When you meet with them, give them a list of apps they can use during the homebuying process, and they will feel like you really understand what they need during this time in their lives.
Ideas for apps include: realtor.com (unless you have your own branded app), Homesnap, My Nest, DocuSign, Crime Mapping and Mortgage Calculator.
If there is a cost to purchasing the apps, then buy the app for them. Millennials like to feel special, and this small gesture will go a long way.
In addition to apps, provide them with spreadsheets and checklists that will help them during the homebuying process. By giving them these tools, it will show millennials that you understand their needs, which will make you look like the expert real estate agent!
- Set communication expectations
Millennials are so connected to technology, whether through email, social media or texting, that it seems like they always have a phone or tablet in their hands. It is important for you as the agent to set communication expectations upfront when you first meet with millennials. Ask them how they like to communicate and whether they prefer a phone call, email or text. Let them know your hours and your turn time for responding.
I know that real estate agents work all of the time, but some millennials may send you texts or emails at midnight asking about a particular listing! If you don’t want to be expected to answer at midnight, set that expectation upfront. Let them know if they text or email at a late hour, you will respond first thing in the morning. By setting these expectations upfront, they won’t feel disappointed by your communication, and you won’t feel irritated by those late-night texts or emails!
- Create webinars
Remember in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when first-time homebuyer seminars were all the rage and would drive real estate leads? The seminars fell off as the information became more readily available on the Internet.
Go where your millennial clients are and offer first-time homebuyer webinars. This will give prospects the opportunity to get to know you and will help build trust in choosing you as their real estate agent. Millennials want to be educated, and they turn to the Internet to get that education. Impress them from the beginning by offering them a webinar that caters to their needs!
Millennials are the current first-time homebuyer demographic that help to drive the real estate market. We need them in the market to keep it moving forward. Millennials can be seen as a challenging group to work with, but I think it is because they are misunderstood. Get to know their generation, what they like and don’t like, their purchasing behavior and how they operate. Most importantly, cater to their love of technology and their need for information. Doing this will earn their trust, and you will be known in your area as the Realtor for the millennial generation!
Jennifer Snyder is a real estate marketing consultant, speaker and blogger at Marketing Ideas for Agents.