So much of the real estate industry—really any client-facing industry— is about making connections. Connecting to prospective clients in a way they will receive that interaction best, may just be the first thought you need to have when beginning to build clientele. The challenge then becomes keeping these client connections strong and positive.
The unique aspect about our industry, is that the client-base isn’t a narrow or specific demographic, but rather a wide and broad one. For instance, one sale you may be working with Millennials and the next Baby Boomers. Additionally, Gen Z is now entering the arena of home-buying as well!
Each generation has its own unique experiences, needs, desires, communication styles and more. We hope to help you serve them better, by sharing a few insights on how to reach and communicate across generations.
While some traditional marketing methods will reach the Baby Boomer generation, reaching the younger generations should also largely be done online.
“Millennials and Generation Z are at home on the Internet,” says Iris Stephan
Owner of Stephan Immobilien. “As digital natives, they are very familiar with the digital world and should therefore be addressed directly on the Internet.
However, just throwing an image of your print ad on Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to cut it. Legitimately understanding the online marketing tools on each app and comfortably using platforms that your target market uses on a daily basis, will be key.
“On Facebook, for example, I mainly reach Generation X, while young people are more likely to be found on Instagram,” Stephan says. “Video platforms like TikTok are also places where you can reach Generation Z well—provided your content is interesting.”
Then there’s the issue of your website. Each generation will expect different things and interact differently with the technology and resources you provide.
“For some time now, we have been offering the option to digitally fill out and submit forms and contracts on our website,” says Stephan. “Many Millennials and Generation Z immediately took advantage of this option. Boomers, however, still prefer to print out the agreement and fill it out by hand. Many young people don’t even have a printer anymore.”
For the most part, those in the younger generations grew up with the internet and are accustomed to fast, almost-immediate communication.
“Responding to messages as quickly as possible is essential.” says Stephan. “Since it’s not possible to respond around the clock, this is where modern technology can help.”
She suggests considering automated emails, installing chatbox on your website, and utilizing apps like WhatsApp.
Conversely, Baby Boomers might prefer a weekly phone call with updates or emails, with Gen X likely falling somewhere in the middle.
The important thing is to match the pace of your client as best you can, and to serve them on their comfortable terms,” says Matt Woods, Co-Founder and CEO of SOLD.Com.
Ask your client what kind of communication they prefer and then match their pace. If your client texts often, then text them back often. If they prefer phone calls weekly with updates, use that approach instead.
Consider Their Journey
While each generation certainly has characteristics and experiences that unite them, the first step in connecting with anyone is to ask questions and truly listen. This is a theme we drive home again and again because it’s so important.
Perhaps a Gen Z couple is looking for their first home, but they are still paying off student loans; or maybe a Millennial wants to sell their first home and buy a bigger one for a future family. You might find yourself working with a Baby Boomer who lost a spouse and needs to downsize.
Listen to their stories first. Consider how their generation may impact their goals and decision-making but viewing them first and foremost as a unique and important individual is what will truly set you apart.