Attitude and focus are the key to results, not age.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, and they’re joining the real estate industry in ever greater numbers. While each new generation has had to fight negative stereotypes about their age, millennials are proving to be better suited to entrepreneurship than other generations, thanks to their unique skills as digital natives and the spirit of “startup culture” they embody.
However, millennials aren’t just coming on board as Agents, they are also finding success as Broker/Owners. So we talked to Ivelina Nikolova, a millennial Broker/Owner from Varna, Bulgaria, to get an insider’s perspective on how younger Agents can get ahead, and how Broker/Owners can better attract and retain millennial Agents.
The millennial advantage
Compared to previous generations, millennials are starting businesses earlier and have launched twice as many businesses as older groups did at their age. What’s more, this generation might be more naturally inclined toward entrepreneurship, since they’ve seen how difficult climbing the corporate ladder was for their parents, and many more have had the benefit of watching their own parents become self-employed.
“I’ve always been part of RE/MAX’s culture, ever since I was a child,” says Ivelina, who grew up around her mother’s RE/MAX brokerage. She started her career in public relations and communications for the tech industry and politics but soon realized that she wanted a more dynamic environment. “And now I am finally in the game, putting all of my past experience to use.”
That experience is a big difference for millennials. While older generations expected to have a job for life, most millennials have already worked in at least two other industries by their 30s, giving them a unique combination of diverse skills. Plus, since millennials look for freedom and more control over their work, they’re more likely to engage in high-level work earlier in their careers.
Lack of experience is no obstacle
One common misconception that customers or other Agents might have about younger real estate professionals is that youth always means ignorance. While anyone can make mistakes at any age, millennials have grown up surrounded by technology, so they have experience putting tech-savvy tools to use to find resources when they have questions. “I always encourage young Agents to see inexperience as an opportunity to learn and read even more on the topics that you feel uncertain about,” says Ivelina.
What’s more, innovative millennial start-ups like Airbnb or Indiegogo show this generation’s talent for finding new solutions to old problems. “The positive thing about being young in this business is the ability to adapt and use all the tools that RE/MAX provides.”
But often the best resources are human. “I look at being surrounded by older and more experienced people as a huge advantage,” Ivelina points out. Older mentors can not only show young Agents the basics of the job, but they can help guide your career and set you on the path for early success.
Attract younger Agents with value
Broker/Owners need a different approach to hiring and motivating younger Agents, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just as every customer is unique, each Agent has a different way of working. So here is Ivelina’s advice for recruiting and retaining younger Agents:
1. Communicate directly
You may think that millennial communication just means texts instead of calls, but what’s even more important is how you communicate, and how quickly. “You need to be very fast and direct when communicating,” says Ivelina. Clearly provide the most crucial information first, then the details. But remember millennials are well-educated, so don’t dumb down your message.
2. Provide meaningful experiences
Millennials tend to be driven by purpose rather than money and status, and they value transparency, authenticity and community – all traits that customers are looking for in a real estate experience. So invite prospective Agents to office meetings to show how you educate and support your team in their professional development. “Attract their attention instantly by providing them with all the tools they can use to succeed and build their own branding as a real estate Agent,” says Ivelina.
3. Build trust with transparency
Millennials want to associate with companies that are completely open, honest, and transparent. So sharing the real side of the industry – happiness, and headaches – is important for building trust. “They say that the best policy is the truth,” says Ivelina. “This is why I am always transparent with new Agents. When I hire them I let them know that they are joining me in one hell of a ride and I want them to want it with all their hearts.”
It’s the exhilarating ride that most Agents and Broker/Owners love most about working in the real estate industry, and sharing that passion and excitement with newcomers are always rewarding. And if you’re millennial thinking of getting into the real estate industry, the sooner you get started in your career, the longer the ride!