How can we Re-brand Real Estate to attract younger generations?
In my previous blogs, I have spoken about how real estate is at risk of not being able to survive the coronavirus pandemic and the mental health crisis that is plaguing us poses a risk to workers. Although these two issues are very different, I firmly believe that they need to be met with similar solutions.
Firstly, we need to take steps to take care of our workers, putting in place working conditions that promote the health and wellbeing of our workers, creating environments that make them feel safe during these ever-changing and unprecedented times. Secondly, the industry needs to play its part in contributing to better mental health outcomes for generations to come. To do this, Real estate needs to drop the attitude, make the consumer experience a priority, and become a business that is about supporting one another rather than making some quick cash at anyone’s expense. Some people might read this and cry out to me that they already are one of those professionals, and that is great. I consider myself one too, but we are in the minority and to make lasting and sustainable changes to the world of real estate we need to be the majority. I am going to discuss in more detail 3 ways in which I think we can re-brand Real Estate and make it an attractive career path for the young men and women of this country.
The Consumer Experience
As many good businesses know, we’re only as good as our customers say we are. For a very long time, consumers have accepted the persona of the real estate professional; the bold statements, the oversell, and the tunnel vision to closing a deal. This was just accepted as the norm. Then, the Coronavirus pandemic hit, the world stood still as workers and businesses were put into lockdown. Now, coming out on the other side, people are being cautious about how they spend their money, especially in commercial settings. Now, more than ever, it is important for Real Estate to re-brand, to become the trusted ally of the consumer, who makes money but isn’t in it just for the money. Professionals need to work to become engaged with their client’s story, to be relatable and understanding that this investment to them is more than just a check. A farmer can tell you how their crops are grown and an artist can tell you what materials they used because they are invested in the bigger picture. Becoming a professional within real estate needs to become an art form, a skill that is practiced and perfected. Once the consumer experiences this they will be more likely to hold it in higher esteem and naturally more people will aspire to be part of it.
Aspiration instead of desperation
It is not uncommon within our field that many people find success through desperation. The failed entrepreneur who took one last shot at making some money by going into real estate or the man who never took his education seriously and wound up taking any job he could be hired for, the common theme is neither of them aspired to be a real estate professional. With no collective aspiration, there is no passion or drive to push things forward or even to be the best at what you do, this results in workers wanting to play the short game, not the long game. It also means that our offices are full of people who might not want to be there if they had a second option, not having a meaningful occupation or something that you feel is worthwhile can impact our colleagues mental health, especially if playing the part of the brash real estate agent conflicts with their personality. This all leads to compromises to the quality of service for the quantity of deals at any cost and with no great effort in improving the consumer experience.
With this rapidly changing world and market, what the industry needs is people who have set out with the aspiration to work within real estate, who feel that it is a worthwhile career that they can make a difference to someone’s journey. To do that we need to look beyond those who are walking through our doors for interviews.
Targeting younger generations
The younger generations are becoming (quite rightly) more concerned about making a positive impact on our world and everyone within it. It is important that the industry can align with these modern values and become a viable career path for college leavers, who can enter the business well educated and motivated to work hard.
To do this we need to be visible to this target audience. Building relationships with colleges/universities to attend job fairs or provide a seminar on real estate will make the industry desirable to younger generations. Offering work experience is another great way to bring the attention of potential agents and change the opinion that real estate is what you do if all else fails.
The future of real estate will be in the control of these generations to come, but for it to survive and succeed, it is the responsibility of those of us currently within it to start initiating changes now.