How to Attract the Next Generation of Realtors
As real estate agents from the baby boomer generation continue transitioning out of the workforce into retirement, many brokerages are looking to millennials to fill the empty positions on their teams. This is especially important now that millennials make up 31% of home buyers in America. Finding agents who can relate to this emerging buying segment will allow brokerages to better anticipate the generation’s preferences and behaviors. “My study groups have shown that millennials would rather work with people close to their own age,” said Vince Leisey, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, in the webinar, Bringing on the Best: Finding, Hiring and Keeping Your Next Superstars. “If they’re truly going to be the generation with the greatest buying power…we need to understand how to communicate with them, how to relate to them, and how to attract them to our business.” So what can your brokerage do to relate, attract and communicate? We’ve identified four characteristics and strategies you’ll want to be sure to integrate within your brokerage.
Relate: Company Culture
Leisey continued in his webinar, “They (millennials) are the generation of collaboration, teams, doing things together—completely unlike the baby boomer generation, which was, ‘It’s me against the world…I don’t need anybody else’s help.” Leisey’s three largest teams have leaders averaging 30 years old.
Having a safe place where collaboration and shared personal and business goals are valued is an essential starting place. If your brokerage’s mission statement is relevant and relatable, the right agent will be naturally drawn to and motivated by your brand. The article, 5 Ways Real Estate Brokers Can Attract the Best Talent reports on a study from Employee Benefit News that “23% of young workers said company culture plays the biggest role in job satisfaction, and 35% of all employees said it has the greatest impact on morale. A good culture isn’t just Christmas bonuses and happy hours. Show your employees that you care about their ideas, passions and careers. Define your core values and stick to them.” This is especially true in real estate where the brokerage and individual agent will share a brand image; the more closely they’re aligned the more pride the agent will feel in representing the company.
Attract: Training & Mentorship
Similar to the value of teamwork and collaboration, millennial agents want to know they’re supported. One way to do this is by investing time and resources in your team of agents. This can be in the form of mentorship from fellow team members or brokerage-wide training sessions. By having seasoned agents mentor those less experienced, desired behaviors and sales practices that have been established in the past can be passed down to maintain consistency in brand experience through the years.
Homefinder.com cites a couple of brokers who have seen success in their training initiative. Jeff Thiesing, Gainesville/Manassas Prudential PenFed Realty, said “the old adage of ‘here’s your desk, here’s your phone, you’re on your own’ doesn’t apply at his office. Our agents find comfort in the fact that we do hands-on training right in the branch office; train and follow-up with continuous support.” Claudia Januchowski, Towson Prudential PenFed Realty said ”You can take a good agent and make them a superstar by personally committing to their success. Once the broker makes the investment, the agent is a supporter for life.” If the new agent feels the necessary support is available, they will be more likely to ask questions rather than give up too soon.
Attract: Support Through Technology
An additional investment, which will benefit seasoned as well as new millennial agents, is time-saving technology. One of Inman’s 10 ways to attract (and keep) millennial agents is to “offer technology solutions that allow agents to work remotely and communicate effectively.” The article explains that “millennials are tech-savvy and will expect tools that allow them to work on the go, communicate effectively and simplify business procedures. Mobility is an absolute must for attracting millennials. Look for lead, listing, and transaction management tools that are mobile-friendly. The right technology offerings will mean happy agents and increased efficiency.” Since the millennial generation is largely familiar with web-based tools, training and adoption are likely to be a breeze.
This is especially true when social media is a staple among the brokerage’s marketing channels. Providing agents with automation tools like TriggerMarketing Social will capitalize on the millennial’s familiarity with and use of Facebook as an obvious marketing tool. The automation tool provides them access to targeted prospects with even less effort, so it’s easier to incorporate multi-channel Just Listed and Just Sold marketing campaigns into their busy days.
And Finally, Communicate
In our Real Estate Dish podcast with First Weber’s EVP, Tamara Maddente, we discussed how she sat down with her current gen-X and millennial agents to learn more about what attracted them to their brokerage. When asking what attracted them to real estate and keeps them engaged, she learned the two generations had very different goals. Gen-Xers said, “I can do this job, and yet I can still attend my kids’ school functions; I can be on the soccer field; I can do all these things.” The millennial agents had a whole different message: “I want to live. I have watched my parents live to work, and I want to live. I want to work to live. So, what attracts me about real estate is that I can work where I want, I can be on the treadmill, I can be negotiating a contract. I want to feel good about my job.”
Maddente then described how she created an agent recruitment campaign around these desires. She highlighted the convenience of negotiating on a treadmill and the copy supported how the job cultivates the entrepreneurial spirit as well as overall career happiness. Maddente also recognized that the company needed to tap into social media. After specifying her target demographic, her company launched the campaign in a big way, and their traffic tripled immediately. In the podcast she recalls, “My marketing manager, after the first weekend, called me up and he said, ‘Tamara, you are not going to believe this. Our career center web leads have been up 15% so far this year. We had 1,029 requested career packets. We had 31,000 total visitors. We had 27,000 unique visitors. And our average time on the page was 3 minutes, 8 seconds!’”
It’s clear that real estate brokerages can appeal to the desires of the millennial generation with a little focused, intentional strategy. The positive impact will not only be reflected in the growing interest and caliber of millennial real estate agents to the brokerage, but also in their home buying and selling counterparts.
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