Get ’em Involved Nine ways to motivate your young members
by Amy DuBose
We’ve heard many experts talk about generational differences within our culture today. Being 27 myself, I know what motivates me as a young AE. And although I can’t claim to know what motivates all young REALTORS®, I do have some insight. Looking to find out more, I called on young agents from around the country to tell me what makes them tick. Here’s a list of the top nine things that’ll get them going in 2009.
1. Know which benefits attract
For REALTORS® just starting out, money is tight, but the need for education and learning is high. Market your low-cost, high-return benefits to young -REALTORS®. Create a free class that simply runs through what your association offers. You can use this information to create a Web page or a brochure branded just for them. Even if the benefits are not all just for young members, creating marketing mater-ials just for them lets them know you’re listening.
2. Target the young and new
When looking at motivating new members, let’s examine young REALTORS® vs. new REALTORS®. Many of us think it’s best to motivate those in their 20s and 30s, because they’re the future of our industry. Although this is partly true, let’s think about it more in terms of career age. After all, regardless of actual age, new REALTORS® share the same experience of just starting out. John Flor, 40, has been a REALTOR® for just eight years. He’s the 2009 -president-elect for the Wisconsin REALTORS® Asso-ciation and talks about his experience as a new agent getting involved. “I know I felt intimidated at my first couple of board meetings, especially when you see that you are working with people who have done this for 20 years or more. I discovered that even though I had much less experience, I had a lot of things to contribute to what we were trying to do as a board.”
3. Serve the association, serve the community
Finding their perfect fit in a local community is often difficult for young REALTORS® who may not have enough contacts to build a profitable network or be able to recognize an underserved area or population. This is where association involvement can play a big role in their careers. Because local associations are often involved in all aspects of their community, it’s a great opportunity for young REALTORS® to be visible and learn about the community while making a difference. This is part of what prompted Melissa McClain-Lewis, 25, to join the Ellis Hill -Association of REALTORS®, Texas. “Getting involved with the board means getting involved in the community,” she says.
4. Promote the Brand
Promoting the REALTOR® image within your -community is very important to your brand--conscious Gen X and Y agents. They recognize the -REALTOR® brand and want to see it online and on TV. “I wanted to be more than a salesperson, I -wanted to be a REALTOR®,” says 29-year-old Heather McDaniel of the Tuscaloosa Association of REALTORS®, Ala..
5. Never fail to appreciate their talents
According to young REALTORS®, one of the bigger issues they face is being underestimated by their clients and fellow REALTORS®. “I think twenty--something agents are prejudged as being uneducated and unprofessional,” says 25-year-old Beth McGeorge, 2009 president of the Jefferson City Area Board of REALTORS®, Mo. “It is very important for associations to show that they’re willing to judge each member by their individual abilities. Let people show you who they are before you decide for them,” she says. In the same vein, don’t assume based solely on their age that they won’t want to be involved or won’t have real leadership skills.
6. Speak their language
Do you have young REALTORS® who text more than they talk? Then speak their language. To get the attention of your Gen X and Y agents, try upping your technology game. “Young REALTORS® are able to establish themselves quicker in the industry now more than ever with the use of technology,” explains 37-year-old Scott Louser, of the North Dakota Association of REALTORS®. With social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, many REALTORS® can market with a stroke of the keyboard. Establish yourself in their virtual world with association entries in these social networks and they will take notice.
7. Have broker, will follow
Through my own experiences at my association, I can tell you that if the broker is active, then the agents will follow. Leading by example is something our Gen Xs and Ys respond to as well. “I really feel that the broker plays the most significant role in getting their REALTORS® active with the board,” says Flor. “If you have an office leader who promotes it and also leads by example, it is a very powerful -motivator.”
8. Launch a YP group
By starting a young professionals group, the Midd-Shore Association of REALTORS®, Conn., showed that connecting with their young -REALTORS® is a -priority. “We try to hold short seminars based on topics the group wants to discuss. We found that they are not interested in sitting in a classroom -format and listening to someone speak. They want to be involved in the discussion and ask lots of questions,” says Dawn M. Calvo, RCE, executive vice president.
NAR’s REALTOR® Magazine launched its own Young Professionals Network, which now has more than 1,600 members. To learn more about starting such a group, search YPN at REALTOR.org to find the YPN Chapter Start-Up Kit.
9. Just ask
The No. 1 tip I found in my research is that when you ask, they respond. Asking someone to participate is the most effective motivator. This is true not only for young REALTORS®, but for all REALTORS® as well. Just connect, and find their passion, and it’ll go from there.
by Amy DuBose, RCE, e-pro, is the association executive with the San Marcos Area Board of REALTORS®, Texas. She can be reached at 512/396-5478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.