Millennials—people born in the 1980s to 1990s, and currently in their 20s—are now coming into their own. According to CNN, this generation has just surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest, and most diverse, generation in the country. Accordingly, they will soon become the largest group looking to buy and sell their homes, and are set to become the real estate industry’s most influential demographic. To keep your real estate business thriving over the next two decades, you will need to attract both Millennial customers and agents. Here are a few characteristics to keep in mind:
• Optimism: Generally speaking, Millennials have grown up with parents who gave them constant admiration and praise. From this, they built a healthy dose of optimism. While incorporating this in every part of your business isn’t feasible, seeing the glass as half full could boost employee morale. When leadership and management feel good about a major decision or change, employees are likely to follow and, more importantly, likely to share via social media, which leads to our next point.
• Communication: In addition to receiving copious amounts of praise throughout childhood, Millennials are also used to sending and receiving tons of communication—both electronic and in person. They also largely prefer text messages, emails and tweets over phone calls and in-person chats. In your business, remember to value chat or email exchanges, and recognize the potential a well-written tweet could have on your bottom line. Foster an environment where real-time engagement via social media is encouraged. Millennials will then be able to fold your business into their everyday lives, as both your clients and employees.
• Tech savvy: Personal computers became standard in homes while many Millennials were still in grade school. They are comfortable adapting to new technological advances, and are able to pick up new strategies with ease. In your business, not keeping up with technology could severely limit your reach. You must be open to trying new forms of technology that have the potential to streamline old processes. If your customers are changing with the times, this is a good way to stay one step ahead of them. However, there is a misconception about Millennials being “tech-savvy” when what they really are, is “mobile-savvy.” They do everything and expect to do everything from their mobile devices, but ask them to give you a budget forecast in an excel spreadsheet, and you might expect to get a confused look in return. This just means that the definition of “tech-savvy” has changed for Millennials and your idea is probably very different from theirs. Stick to mobile-friendly approaches, and you’ll both be on the same page.
• Family oriented: In contrast from their overworked parents (Baby Boomers), many Millennials will prioritize a work-life balance. This doesn’t mean you should let your employees work as few hours as they want, but you may want to analyze how much overtime you require or encourage. Are promotions only given to the person who works a 60 hour week? If so, you may want to rethink how you reward work, and help your employees keep that balance. This also creates a common misnomer about Millennials which is that they need to be “virtual” and will not come in to the office. The reality is this demographic grew up accustomed to the “mommy and me” playgroups, so they enjoy the group environment as long as it is fun and worth their time.