In April 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Millennials are most commonly defined as individuals who were born between the early 1980s and around the year 2000. That puts most people who fall within this category between the ages of 16 and 36.
As more and more millennials continue to enter the homebuying market for the very first time, it’s important to understand how they differ from other generations, and what motivates them to buy.
In this post, I’m sharing 8 essential tips that every real estate agent can use to successfully sell more homes to the millennial generation—a group of people who now represent the largest share (32%) of homebuyers in the U.S.
Tip #1. Master social media
Millennials use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as primary tools for communicating with other people, engaging with businesses, and performing research that ultimately helps them make purchasing decisions. According to the Pew Research Center:
- 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook
- 30% of online adults under 50 use Twitter
- 55% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Instagram
- 37% of online adults under 50 use Twitter
As a real estate agent, social media sites present you with the opportunity to connect and engage with buyers in channels where they already feel comfortable and spend most of their time. To learn how to master social media for real estate, check out this helpful guide from Wishpond.
Tip #2. Sell the neighborhood
Millennials tend to be much less interested in finding the perfect home and much more interested in finding the right community that can align with and support their interests, passions, and needs. This is a group of people that cares deeply about supporting local businesses and causes, prefers public transportation over owning cars (in urban areas), and would rather be eating dinner on a patio at a restaurant down the street than cooking a meal in their own home.
To successfully sell more homes to your millennial clients, you need to put an emphasis on selling the neighborhood in addition to the house itself. The easiest way to do it is to come to meetings and showings armed with expert knowledge of all things local—popular events, nearby restaurants and businesses, hidden gems, the best bike trails, the favorite breweries, the coolest music venues and local bands, and anything else that could help paint a good picture of the type of community they’d be able to participate in and enjoy if they bought the house you’re selling.
Tip #3. Embrace mobile
According to a USA Today article published in October 2015, 86% of people aged 18 to 29 now own a smartphone. Millennials rely on smartphones for everything—they use them to find instant answers to their questions, for entertainment, to communicate with others, to perform research on people, companies, and products, for online shopping, and even (you guessed it) to look for houses and reach out to real estate agents.
Embracing mobile as a real estate agent by using an app like HomeSpotter can help you easily differentiate from competitors, attract more millennial clients, and sell more houses.
Tip #4. Be a resource first
Since many millennial homebuyers are also first-time homebuyers, it’s important that you position yourself as a resource first, and an agent trying to sell a home second. Buying a home is often a complicated, frustrating, and overwhelming process for a lot of people, and it becomes even more daunting if you’ve never gone through the process before. As a real estate agent, you can build trust and establish a strong reputation for yourself among millennial homebuyers fairly quickly by simply being willing to help answer questions and personally guide people through the process of buying a home.
One of the easiest ways to start positioning yourself as a resource and connecting with more millennial homebuyers is by investing in content marketing—i.e writing and publishing helpful, original blog posts on your website. To learn more about how to use content marketing for real estate, read this quick beginner’s guide from Inman.
Tip #5. Customize communication
To effectively connect with and sell to individuals within the millennial generation, you have to be willing to communicate with them using whichever method they prefer. Most millennials, for example, would rather communicate through text messaging or instant messaging rather than talking on the phone or even meeting in person.
Some millennials may prefer communicating through email rather than text messaging, others might want to communicate primarily within Facebook, and some might prefer the convenience of having a conversation over video using tools like FaceTime.
If you want to attract and sell more houses to millennials, ask them early on how they prefer to communicate, then embrace it fully.
Tip #6. Make responsiveness a priority
Millennials, also known as the ‘instant gratification’ generation, have pretty high standards when it comes to customer service and responsiveness. Thanks to companies like Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, and many others, they don’t have the patience or interest in waiting longer than they think they should to get what they want.
Some real estate agents might see this as an annoyingly unavoidable part of working with millennial clients, but smarter agents will recognize it as an opportunity to differentiate from competitors.
When selling to millennials, you have two options: you can either choose to communicate and respond to them in the same way and in the same amount of time that you normally would for other more patient clients and hope it yields the same results, or you can recognize and accept how important responsiveness is to this group, and choose to make it a priority in order to make the sale.
Tip #7. Leverage reviews and word-of-mouth
Like most people, millennials are significantly motivated and persuaded by online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations from friends. Consider the following statistics highlighted in a great blog post from Ambassador:
- 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
- 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision.
- On social media, 58% of consumers share their positive experiences with a company, and ask family, colleagues, and friends for their opinions about brands.
To attract more millennial clients, consider asking your current and best past clients to send you testimonials or help you build a case study spotlighting their experience working with you. Build instant trust and overcome any objections that prospective clients have by featuring these powerful social proof statements prominently on your website, share them with your followers on Facebook and Twitter, and include them in your email signature.
Tip #8. Invest in video
Thanks to popular websites and apps like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine, millennials love watching videos and using them to make decisions about what they buy. Consider these facts highlighted in a blog post from Animoto:
- 80 percent of millennials consider video content when researching a purchase decision
- 7 out of 10 millennials are likely to watch a company video when shopping online
- 76 percent of millennials follow brands on YouTube
- 60 percent of millennials prefer to watch a company video over reading a company newsletter
To attract and nurture more relationships with millennial buyers, use video to share convenient virtual tours of specific properties, customer spotlight stories, and educational tips that help them navigate through the homebuying process.
What else are you doing to attract and sell properties to millennials? Share your ideas and tactics in the comments below.