What do you want your future to look like? Financial Security? More Time in a Day? Smooth Transactions? Good working relationships? What knowledge and tools do you need to make the most out of every moment in your real estate day, increase your client base, and maximize productivity?
As a consumer, you look for the person or product that is going to serve you best. Your clients do the same, and in the consumer-centric real estate profession, knowing your clients and understanding their needs and wants is essential to success. One of the most important keys to understanding clients is recognizing their generational background and the unique peer personality that they each express.
Within the United States there are distinct generational groups with common life experiences and influences that affect decision-making. Understanding those differences is essential to creating successful working relationships, and thereby attracting a larger client base. With appropriate understanding, you will be able to match your clients to the right financing, communicate with the appropriate technology, and understand their negotiating styles. In the end, you will be able to facilitate transactions between all the parties, including other agents, and structure transaction platforms to achieve financial success for both you and your clients. Serving each client well is the key to effectiveness and increased profitability.
Consider for a moment one example of distinct generational differences--negotiating styles. The G.I. generation (1900-1924) is known for its strong leadership skills and "command and control" style. The Silent generation (1925-1945), being torn between the macho G.I.'s and the free spirited Boomers, ironically want to talk-it-out. "What are other people doing?" "Convince me that this is right." The Boomers (1946-1964) are always busy (workaholics, idealistic volunteers) so they expect their agents to know "what's in it for me" and focus on the best choices. Gen Xers (1965-1981) are very pragmatic and skeptical, and often have a confrontational negotiation style. The agent needs to prove expertise and also understand that time with family and friends is a top priority. Millennials (1982-2000) have arrived and failure is not in their vocabulary. They are anxious for the "old folks" to get out of the way so that they can move into leadership positions. They don't wait for a life event (marriage, baby) to purchase or invest because they are very optimistic about the future. They are multi-cultural, inclusive, and collaborative. They are pressured and stressed so even though their technological bent leads them to prefer more impersonal negotiations they want results now. Five generations, and five very different negotiating styles.
There are many more examples of how generations differ. Each of the generations has a different approach to housing choices, financing options, investment and retirement planning. An agent who wants to build a broad client base needs to understand what makes each generation unique.
Your business future depends on how you build the relationship under your clients' terms and according to their needs and wants. Become their Agent of Choice and make them a Client for Life.
Carmen and Lloyd Multhauf are the founding developers of the Generational Housing Specialist™ Council, a national real estate designation that focuses on the unique impacts made by different generations in establishing housing trends, financial products, negotiating skills and reaching a successful closing.