I was at the gym last weekend reciting the no pain no gain mantra while trying to block out the noise around me, when my thoughts got interrupted by two words “real estate” — spoken by the ladies chatting next to me. Enough with my personal pep talk, this peeked my interest.
I gently nudged myself into their conversation. As it turns out, one of the women is in medical sales but also happens to be taking her real estate course. I asked her if she had spoken with any brokers yet regarding work and she explained that she had one interview with a local office.
“Tell me more,” I asked.
She said it was a good meeting. The broker seemed knowledgeable and very eager to help her. The company had training programs and a good reputation in the community. She was speaking so positively that I assumed she was ready to join the office. I congratulated her, but she stopped me and said that she didn’t think it was the office for her. I asked her why.
She explained that upon leaving, the broker’s farewell included the following statement:
“Kiddo, we’d love to have you join the team.”
This closing left a bad taste in her mouth. Bear in mind, this woman who is not yet 30, smart, articulate and in possession of all the mental check marks you look for in a new agent, was taken aback by this friendly gesture that did not sit well with her within the context of a professional job interview. Her concerns were legitimate. From her point of view, the statement served as an indication of how she might be treated in this office. It also suggested a manner in which her employer looked upon her– as a kid versus a professional peer.
For her, these concerns were real. They indicate the type of gaps that occur between generations that are, for the most part, innocent and void of any misdeeds or harm.
Today, we are experiencing a wonderful clash of generations through the myriad of communication channels that exit off as well as online. While real estate professionals continue to grapple with how to communicate to, market to and appeal to newer younger consumers, similar strides appear necessary in order to bridge these gaps within our industry.
Tenured brokers and members of the boomer generation, who now find themselves interviewing the under 30-year old agent need to have a greater sensitivity in understanding the characteristics that make up the personality traits of Gen Y. It will help you attract them and it will help you successfully nurture them into great contributors to your firm.
For a deeper study into the mind of this huge demographic that is fast becoming your customer as well, consider subscribing to Peter Sheahan, who is a well known speaker and writer on the Y Generation.
To add some real life context, here are a few phrases that you might want to reconsider in an effort to broaden your leadership skills and not make the mistake the broker previously mentioned did.
- Never refer to the under 30 in your firm as “kiddo”, “kids”, “kid”. I know you don’t mean any disrespect by it, but that’s how it makes them feel.
- Don’t send someone to “talk to the girls up front” or say “I’ll ask one of the girls to get that information for you.” Those girls have names. Karen or Nicole would be happy to help.
- Don’t refer to any female as “Dear” in the office, especially a Gen Y your trying to attract to join the company
I singled out women in this article, but this advice would also apply to attracting Gen Y men.