Though most articles in the news today will teach you the tricks of selling to millennials, recent statistics prove that you are wasting your efforts if you are customizing your marketing strategies solely to suit this generation’s needs. According to data recently released by FNB, the average age of a South African home buyer has increased from 38 to more than 44 this year. On average, it is likely that you are dealing with more buyers belonging to Generation X than any other generation. That begs the question: what are you doing to attract and retain their business?
“The game of real estate is constantly changing and while agents do need to be aware of the younger generation that they will one day serve, the reality is that very few real estate transactions (excluding rental agreements, of course) are conducted with those under the age of 35. Estate agents will need to be aware of how to sell to an older generation if they want to remain successful in this industry,” explains Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
The first piece of advice Goslett provides to agents is to know and understand their market. “Those belonging to Generation X are currently (roughly) between the ages of 36 – 58. This means that they lived through technological revolutions, economic crashes and rises, and the development of popular counter cultures (with MTV being the most often cited culprit). This makes them a rather head-strong and resilient generation that understands how quickly things can change.”
“With the speed at which technology has grown and been adopted into widespread everyday use, those under forty may actually have more in common with Millennials than with the older end of their own generation. This means that the traditional models of ‘marketing to Gen-Xers’ might need to be adapted in order to accommodate the habits and needs of the younger end of this generation,” Goslett elaborates.
“For starters, Generation X are not afraid to use technology and are often as well-informed as the Google generation that came after them. Combine this with their counter-culture wilful determination and you’ll find yourself with a buyer who can see straight through the marketing gimmicks and will want to cut through to the point. Give them the facts and spare them the frills – and be sure to get your facts correct because they’re mature enough to know if you’re just spinning the numbers,” he adds.
“Generation X are also incredibly family oriented – more so than the Baby Boomers that came before them. The 60s and 70s were not as kid-focused as the world of today, so many belonging to this generation know what it’s like to grow up with parents who weren’t particularly involved. This generation is also having children later in life in order to afford the best for their children, so estate agents can expect that buyers in this generation will look for the best money can buy – both for themselves and for their loved ones.”
As a final piece of advice, Goslett suggests that the key to dealing with this generation is authenticity and respect. “In this tough economic climate, buyers in this age group have worked hard to get to the point where they can afford to invest in property. They have done their homework and usually know exactly what they want, so an agent who wastes their time by showing them unsuitable listings and tries to convince them that ‘I know better’ will fail to hold onto their business,” Goslett concludes.
Press release by RE/MAX Southern Africa
Also read: Home buyers in South Africa getting older