Millennials now make up a larger part of the housing market than any other generation. In fact, millennials comprise approximately 34% of new home buyers, according to the 2017 Home Buyer & Seller Generational Trends Report. That number is only growing, too.
But millennials don’t buy homes in the same way as their predecessors. Real estate agents need a unique approach to successfully serve millennial clients. Here are three golden rules to follow when selling to millennials.
Remember how millennials choose a real estate agent.
If you want to add millennials to your client base, you’ll need to be visible to millennials. Thankfully, millennials want an agent’s help; the National Association of Realtors notes that 87% of millennials used a real estate agent when purchasing a home.
But millennials don’t just look up an agent in the phone book. Roughly half of them ask their family and friends for recommendations. So, establishing a good relationship with your current clients helps you get your foot in the door.
Millennials also do their research before talking with a real estate agent. Most read online reviews—Zillow’s Housing Trends Report found that 80% of millennials research an agent extensively before they even contact them. Add customer testimonials to your online presence, including your website and social media channels. If you keep a Facebook page (and you should), encourage customers to leave reviews.
When selling to millennials, you’ll need to keep tabs on your customer feedback. Word of mouth goes a long way.
Emphasize a relationship, not your services.
In any sale—real estate, clothing, groceries, or anything—millennials value a collaborative experience, Forbes says. That’s why, when selling to millennial buyers, you should start out with guidance, not your product. Start by walking them through the home-buying process. Help them out. Millennial buyers like to get a professional opinion but feel like they made the decision themselves.
Collaboration is important, but to truly collaborate, you can’t be “all business, all the time.” Cooperation requires a good relationship, too. Sometimes, it’s helpful to be genuine and personal. Take time to learn about your client’s likes and dislikes (and not just housing opinions). Share something interesting about yourself, even if it’s the story of how you became a real estate agent.
Anyone can say they offer the best services or the most competitive closing rates. Forming a relationship—which leads to a loyal customer—takes more effort. But if you can create that relationship, millennials might be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family, which pays off in the end.
Match your communication style to millennials’ preferences.
Once you’ve connected with a millennial buyer, you need to keep them happy. For millennials, good service equals good communication. And good communication is largely text-based.
When selling to millennials, you should expect to text by default. Long phone calls just won’t cut it. Entrepreneur notes that calls are near the bottom of the list of preferred communication methods for millennials. So, save phone calls for in-depth conversations.
For example, if you’re just giving a status update about the time for the next home tour, send a text. But if you need to explain the problems that surfaced during the inspection and how the client’s offer should change because of it, a phone call works better.
But here’s what’s even better communication: establish yourself on social media. But don’t just post about your sales. Remember rule No. 2 and be helpful. Post useful how-to videos. Share virtual tours. Go live and discuss the perks and drawbacks of buying during certain times of year. If a millennial home buyer remembers interacting with you online, they’re much more likely to hire you.
But whatever you do, keep your communication short. Millennials are digital natives; they don’t want to spend 10 minutes deciphering a message from their real estate agent. Keep it concise, and they’ll thank you.