By Gino Blefari
From every angle, millennials are shaping the future of real estate, whether they’re potential first-time buyers embracing homeownership or recent college graduates joining a brokerage, eager to launch real estate careers. For any business leader asking what the future looks like, the answer comes wrapped in a millennial bow. And even if this certainty is understood, how to reach the millennial is still muddled by a haze of social media, mobile marketing and other millennial-focused trends.
“Millennials will form tens of millions of new households over the coming decades, and their preference and opportunities will reshape housing demand.” – Harvard University State of the Nation’s Housing 2014 report
Almost every affiliate I visit on my travels and every manager I meet wants to talk about this enigmatic generation and how they might impact our industry. But Brian McKenna, branch manager for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Blake, REALTORS® in Clifton Park and Niskayuna, NY, took things one step further: He wrote an entire book.
Generation Now by the PhD-educated manager offers a deep dive into recruiting, training and retaining millennials as real estate agents … and as clients. Through dozens of comprehensive exercises, Brian’s book identifies millennial preferences and explains how to use them to capture the Gen X consumer and agent.
Here are some of my favorite passages:
On retaining millennial agents: “Do not assume that your millennials have the experience in real estate to know how good they have it with you. They are often new to the business world and processing way too much information for us to assume that they know our value. We want them to be our evangelists and draw more high quality millennial recruits and clients. They will only be successful as evangelists if they believe in our message: that we provide the best setting for their success.”
On staying connected with your millennial agents: “In this age of social media, staying connected requires only a touch. This could include liking a Facebook post, favoriting a tweet or texting a quick thank you for a comment made at a meeting. As long and it’s sincere, it counts.”
On a manager’s role in educating millennial agents: “Our millenials need us to be the North Star. We need to be the beacon through all the fog and the chatter and the distraction. We can’t think for our millennials or make their decisions for them. We can establish relationships with them and develop trust and credibility. Our millennials will grow less distracted and less vulnerable with experience and time. While it is often trying, we both win when we provide the consistent guidance and direction they need to remain focused and outcome-driven.”
So, what’s the message? In the struggle to understand millennials, half the battle is won through education, the other half by listening to their specific needs. Brian’s book teaches us ways this can be done and helps us understand that millennials aren’t just our future, millennials are our now.