If I have learned one thing in my time as a manager in the real estate industry, it is that the ability to communicate is a quality demonstrated by the best of the best.
Great communicators know that this quality is as much about listening and making yourself available to another person as it is about relaying a message. True salespeople can steer the style in which they communicate to suit their clients. However, the actual message they are conveying never changes. They are there to help and are the best at the job they are doing.
Authenticity and a genuine desire to help are obvious in the best of agents. I am sure you have also noticed when the opposite is true as well.
As agents, we don't sell houses. We sell our time. Our job is to devote our time to best serve our clients. When we communicate with them, we are selling the fact that we will work harder and our time will be better spent in serving their needs than will our competitors'.
With all recent indicators pointing to the importance Millennial home buyers will have on the upcoming housing market, we as agents must ask how do we need to communicate to best serve these clients.
Keep these 3 details in mind when working with Millennial home buyers:
Like it or not, my generation expects rapid communication. The older half of our generation came of age with technology at our fingertips and the younger half were using cell phones before high school. The ability to reach out is not a luxury for us; it is a necessity. If we are hiring an agent to represent us or help us find a home, waiting 24 hours to tell us about a new opportunity or respond to an offer is unacceptable. I am sure you have heard that internet leads need to be called back within two minutes to be converted into clients. The same theory goes for your current clients. If you don’t pick up the phone immediately and wait until the end of the day instead …your clients will find another agent. Strive to return all calls within 10 to 15 minutes during normal business hours.
You are not as smart as the internet…don’t pretend to be. Information (such as new listings from cooperating brokerages and mortgage rates) is no longer a tool in your arsenal. This information is easily accessible. Now, more than ever, what you need to provide is your guidance and negotiation skills. We, as agents, have a well-founded understanding of the home buying and due diligence processes. First time home buyers are not normally very comfortable with these processes. Make them comfortable and you will have a client for life.
By now, assuming you are not retired, you should know how to use text messaging and email to communicate. If not, please take a class. When important discussions need to happen (such as whether or not to accept a counter offer), nothing will EVER beat face-to-face meetings or phone calls. However, many people from my generation do not feel the need to talk to you for unimportant items such as confirming a meeting time or receipt of an email. Remember, it is your job to work for your clients not the other way around. The internet doesn’t only provide a list of homes. It provides a list of agents and people without a prior relationship with you have no duty to be loyal to you whether or not you think they should. I do realize the irony in making a point not to over communicate in a blog post about communication. Please understand that there is a fine line. Reach out to your clients via the means they wish to use and you will be seen as that 'trusted advisor'.
This industry is a service based industry. Our job is not to grow our bank account. That is merely a bi-product which happens when we do our jobs exceptionally well. Whether we do a good job is determined by the clients we help.
Much like industry veterans had to learn to contend with internet based MLSs and mobile phones, today’s agents need to learn how to communicate based on their client demographics.
Learn how Millennials communicate. Understand that the internet was there for them before you were. Provide your negotiation representation in a professional manner and you will be poised to be a strong agent from here forward.
Technology never backtracks, it only grows - much like the generations that become our business base.