This past Monday IXACT Contact was lucky enough to sponsor and be an integral part of the RE/MAX Professionals Spring Into Summer event at the beautiful Credit Valley Golf and Country Club in Mississauga, Ontario. The theme this year was “finish strong.” It was a great opportunity to meet and network with RE/MAX professionals and some of the leaders in the real estate industry. Walter Schneider, President and Co-Founder of RE/MAX Ontario Atlantic Canada, was the keynote speaker. In his speech, he provided some excellent insights for real estate sales professionals that I’d like to share with you here.
On Monday, Mr. Schneider had two key messages he shared with the RE/MAX Professional team. The first has to do with the changing demographics we’re seeing and will continue to see. The percentage of baby boomers (45-63 years old) has been declining while the percentage of millennials (18-29 years old) has been increasing. This means that agents have to fully understand the millennial generation and (often times) change the way they market themselves and do business to suit this generation’s needs, habits, and personality styles. For example, you might have to use text messaging as the main form of communication with some clients while you pick up the phone and call other clients.
Because they’re more used to browsing content than actually reading it, with millenials, you’re going to need to very carefully walk them through the process of buying or selling a home and the implications that these transactions carry. Because their frequently “directionally challenged,” you’re going to have to provide explicit directions to the homes you’re showing them so they make it there. It’s next to the Starbucks on the corner might be a more effective approach then saying the property is located on the northeast corner at Young Street and Finch Avenue.
A great percentage of these millenials will be looking at buying their first home and very soon will be looking at buying their second or even third home. The winning agents will be those who are experts at keeping and staying in touch. Compared to countries in Europe, there is great opportunity for expanding home ownership in Canada and the United States. There are plenty of renters out there that are simply going to want to buy in the future and we have to be aware of this.
The second point Mr. Schneider discussed was customer service and the implications good service can have on a business. Underpromise and overdeliver and think of how you’re going to make yourself stand out in customer service. Schneider shared a personal story about how Nordstrom, an American retailer, went wildly beyond his expectations for a $68 dollar shirt. If Nordstrom can do it for a $68 dollar shirt, going above and beyond for a $5000 commission should be a no brainer. If you meet your clients’ expectations, they’re probably not going to tell anyone. They expect that. If you exceed their expectations, they’ll tell an average of 3 people. If you fail to meet their expectations, they’ll tell an average of 7 people. Think about that. How can you differentiate yourself by providing a superior and memorable service experience?
Mr. Schneider’s advice and feedback was enlightening for many in the audience. As a real estate professional, you need to understand the market, your customer, and ways you can grow your business. Schneider started out in real estate sales and has grown RE/MAX Ontario Atlantic to employ 30,000 of the 89,000 RE/MAX Agents worldwide. We can certainly learn something from him!