Some argue that millennials are vastly different from the generations before them. While different cases can be made for attitudes, values and motivations, one thing is for certain – this is the first generation to grow up with the Internet and smart technology, and it’s shaped the way they communicate.
Born roughly between 1980 and 2000, millennials make up the largest generation in history. In America alone, there are eighty million, representing about a fourth of the entire population. They are highly educated and career-driven, but due to the economic downturn and low unemployment rates in the early 2000s, many chose to live at home with their parents while establishing their careers and saving money. Today, millennials are entering the workforce at full steam, with $200 billion in annual buying power (Forbes).
With increased financial stability, they’re also beginning to buy homes. According to NAR’s 2015 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, millennials between ages 25 and 34 make up the largest share of homebuyers at 32 percent, and comprise 68 percent of first-time homebuyers. Traditional communication doesn’t always work with this group, and homebuilders and developers may need to modify their approach. In other words, wake up and smell the Caramel Frappuccino (with soy milk, please). 🙂
One of the most important distinguishing characteristics of this group is their reliance on technology. Eighty-seven percent of millennials use between two and three tech devices on a daily basis (Forbes), and they can send a median of 50 texts a day. They are at the forefront of the Participation Age, where sharing (of anything/everything) is king.
Enabled by platforms like text, Instagram and Snapshat, millennials prefer to engage in quick, back-and-forth dialogue that they control. Examples are everywhere: Trying to order business cards from Moo.com and run into an issue? There’s a live chat feature available 24/7. Is Hootsuite down? Tweet their support team and get an update in minutes. Millennials are accustomed to instant communication 24/7, and they expect this when making major purchases. Investing in the tools and processes to keep up with them is key.
When millennials inquire about your community or development, they expect (and want!) a quick response. With fast, relevant communication, you can confirm their interest, establish a relationship, and invite them in for an appointment quickly. A CRM is the only tool that can help you achieve the level of engagement a millennial homebuyer expects.
(Note: these programs work exponentially better if you employ an Online Sales Counselor.)
Think of the auto-responder as a receipt, an acknowledgement that says, “Hey, I got your message and will respond to you asap.” Take advantage of this valuable inbox real estate. This is the very first communication with your prospect; start the sales process here. Point them in the direction of new and interesting information about your homes. Let them know you are active on social media. In your email, speak in a relaxed, human tone and be excited they’ve contacted you!
Fast, Personalized Email
These next two points are critical. Ideally, you will respond to your leads within one hour. Responding this quickly can increase conversion rates. Email personalization is just as important. What do you know about this person? What do your website analytics tell you? Are they on social media? What are their interests? Weave as much personal information as you can into your first email. Again, speak in a human tone and be excited they’ve contacted you!
Like everyone, millennials are busy. Just because they prefer quick communication doesn’t mean they always have the time to respond. Your job is to keep contacting them in meaningful ways until they do. You can use a combination of emails, phone calls, texts and video emails. The key is to keep all your tasks organized and on a schedule, so that no lead falls between the cracks. This is the golden feature of a CRM system. Remember, it can take between 5-7 points of contact before a lead responds.
Website Tracking/Customized fields = Relevant Info
Bombarding your leads with canned, generic emails isn’t effective. Pay attention to what your prospects are telling you through their online behavior. With website analytics, you can see, in real time, the pages your prospect is visiting, and how long they stay on those pages. Keep track of this data with customized fields in your database, and send information that matters.
Millennial homebuyers are here and can be a driving force to your success – what are you doing to capture them?