Thursday, April 3, 2014

Working with Millennials and Digital Natives

         I recently did a story for one of the state associations on attracting and working with “digital natives”— the tech-savvy Millennials who will be tomorrow’s mainstream buyers and sellers.
Heading into it I thought my discussions with Realtors would be about cool tools to engage and impress. There was a little of that, but much more about services to meet new expectations digital natives bring to the real estate process.
Some Key Points:

Theirs is a Mobile World: Everything you do, from your website to video tours on the fly, has to be optimized for display on their mobile hardware and platform of choice. The smartphone is their primary PC, the essential device always within reach.

They Expect An Instant Response: He or she who is first to respond to an incoming query from these buyers has the best chance of winning them as clients.  “Right now,” is how one Realtor jokingly described when they expect an answer. But  he speaks truth: get back immediately, if only with an auto response, or risk losing them. And, if they they contact you by email or text, respond in kind.

They Do Their Homework: As another agent noted, by the time these buyers initiate contact they’ve already googled you. They also check agent review sites, social networks, your website and blog for a sense of who you are, why you deserve their business. All cited blogging as especially useful for enhancing your presence and boosting  search engine placement while these buyers are in self education mode. But it’s all you do 

They Know What’s Available, But Not the Neighborhood: As masters of the Web, and real estate search portals, these buyers, more than their parents, already know what houses are for sale before they an engage a Realtor. They may even have a particular home or two in mind. What they need is a good negotiator who also  knows everything about the neighborhood they can’t easily discover on their own. Being “hyper-local”—a resource of insight on schools, taxes, utilities, shopping, etc., etc.— resonates.

Comfortable in the Cloud: You don’t have to explain to these buyers what a digital signature is and why electronic forms make sense. They also appreciate the convenience of 24/7 to everything they need to know about progress toward closing through Web-based transaction management system.