Just when you think you understand a generation, it up and surprises you.
Case in point: Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997. But before we get to the misconceptions about them, let's consider why you should care.
First, they're huge. Millennials now outnumber the baby boomer generation. That makes them the single largest generation - 75.4 million strong. The numbers are simply too big to ignore.
And they're preparing to buy homes. According to Trulia's 2017 housing report, 83 percent of Millennials say they plan on buying, with 72 percent looking to buy in 2018. Plus, another report from Nielsen and the Demand Institute says Millennials will spend around $2 trillion on home purchases in the next five years. Today, there are only about 13 million Millennial households in the U.S., but by next year, that number will rise to 22 million.
Now, the misconceptions, and why Realtors need to understand them:
Misconception 1: They only like working with Realtors online. Not true. In fact, they want to work with local Realtors - in person. Yes, you read that right - in person, not online. Who knew? In a recent study from CentSai, a financial wellness website, a full 75 percent of Millennials said that they prefer using a local real estate agent instead of an online agent. Specifically, they said they liked the personal touch and handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge and reduced hassles. The survey also found that online real estate agents seem less popular than expected, despite advertising cheaper overall cost via mobile apps.
Another study from Ernst & Young found Millennials are more collaborative than any other generation. They see working together with others as easier and more fun. Still, 91 percent of Millennials said they would use an online site or mobile app to research neighborhoods and home prices and to identify houses that they might buy. So the takeaway? Continue your online efforts, but emphasize your local knowledge and personal touch, and that you want to work with them as a team to reach their homeownership dreams.
Misconception 2: They only like to communicate via texting. Nope, not the case. They're not always about texting. Sure, Millennials love their smartphones as much as anyone, and of course that includes texting. And yes, they're pretty well-versed in all forms of digital communication, but in a survey by Bentley University in Massachusetts, more than half of Millennials said they wanted to speak in person when possible. Only 14 percent chose texting as their preferred communication method, and 19 percent chose email. So it appears all the technology is sometimes overwhelming for Millennials. The takeaway: Follow their lead on how you communicate with them and never assume it's just texting.
Misconception 3: They tend to prefer glitz and flashiness. Wrong. Jakob Nielsen, a web usability consultant, has studied Millennial online preferences and found that while they're aesthetically discerning (yes, just like all of us), the generation typically appreciates streamlined informative, user-friendly simplicity over the big and the bold. The takeaway: Revisit your website and make changes that will make it more practical, simple and easy to use.
This all comes down to the old saying: "Don't assume - you make an a.. - well, I won't finish it, but you know how it ends. The bottom line is you need to take time to learn as much as you can about younger generation and apply what you learn at every turn.
And let me hear from you. What are your thoughts on the Millennial generation? What have your experiences been in working with this age group? Do you have a plan to attract Millennials to your business? What can you start doing today to better appeal to this generation?
Bubba Mills is the CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching.com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international Real Estate, Mortgage, and Small Business coaching company. Mills is a nationally recognized speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. Visit us at www.CorcoranCoaching.com.