I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the question from real estate agents that goes something like this…
“How do I connect with seniors before they decide to put their home on the market?”
Or, almost equally as frequently…
“What is the best way to connect with adult children of aging parents who need help selling their parents’ homes?”
Truth be told, these audiences require the development of two distinctly different platforms. Mature homeowners and adult children, while having seemingly similar issues in regard to selling a longtime residence, don’t hang out in the same online or personal circles. This makes connecting with each of these groups somewhat interesting and a bit complex. I actually refer to this endeavor as a grand experiment!
At the Seniors Real Estate Institute we have been experimenting with the best practices for both connecting with and better serving mature homeowners and their family members for the greater part of two decades. And, as you can imagine, a lot has changed in those two decades. Just when we think we have it figured out, someone moves our cheese!
Naturally, the proliferation of internet and social media use in the most recent decade has made connecting with some groups easier. Interestingly, however, this same vast online social medium has made it even more challenging to connect with seniors.
For purposes of this post, we are first going to tackle the issue of connecting with mature homeowners, and more specifically those who are contemplating a change of residence for a variety of reasons. (Those reasons are addressed in other posts, so we won’t go too far into detail here).
Don’t worry, we will address the adult children and how to best connect with them in a subsequent post. Best not to confuse the issue by trying to address both in one article.
How do I, as a real estate agent, connect with mature homeowners who might be considering an upcoming change in residence?
- Educational programming specific to the questions, concerns and goals of mature homeowners.
- Referrals from senior living community sales and marketing representatives.
- Personal referrals from friends, family, and past or current clients.
Let’s consider why educational programming (a.k.a. Seminars, talks, and workshops) is such a valuable tool when it comes to connecting with more mature homeowners.
- Longtime homeowners often plan in advance, with the decision-making process being completed in phases.
- Mature homeowners have been out of the market for a while and have questions about the current real estate market and practices.
- Seniors often choose to hire professionals whom they can trust and who understand their unique circumstances.
There are few ways in which professionals can build strong relationships with mature homeowners over time. By offering ongoing educational programs over a period of time, attendees get to know you and begin to trust you as a valued resource and advocate. That is, of course, if you deliver quality programming that isn’t laced with ulterior motives.
As mentioned earlier in this article, we have been experimenting and researching this idea of educational programming for a while — two decades to be exact. In doing so, we have developed a system for creating and delivering seminars that has proven to be a win-win arrangement. Attendees (a.k.a. Mature homeowners) benefit because they have access to local experts and current information designed to empower, educate, and equip them to make informed decisions. The agent hosting the events also benefits because when attendees are ready to take steps toward relocation, they naturally reach out and ask their trusted leader to assist.
This recipe for success has now been repeated in multiple markets with a number of other Certified Senior Housing Professionals around the country. Those with audiences of 100 or more monthly attribute their success to strategies taught in the Ultimate Senior Living Seminar Solution by SREI.
Senior community referrals
In addition to educational programming, senior living marketing teams can also be an excellent source of referrals for an agent specializing in the mature market. Independent living community sales reps (the ones who understand that the biggest obstacle faced by their prospects is selling their home) benefit from having a strong partnership with a real estate professional who can assist with all the obstacles preventing a possible move in.
While this may sound like a fairly easy collaboration to establish, most agents find that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not only do real estate agents all look the same to these community reps, they often approach the proposition of working together completely wrong.
It is critical that the arrangement be a win-win-win. As taught in great detail in Part 2 of Success in Seniors Real Estate, it must benefit the community, the prospective client, and the agent for it to work.
(Read more about senior community relationships in Think Different When Calling on Senior Communities.)
The third way to connect with mature homeowners early in the process is by making sure that your personal platform is aware of your value proposition and service offering. Naturally they know you can help people buy and sell homes, but do they know of all the other tasks in which you can assist?
We have found in our research at SREI that agents do not typically do an effective job of educating their spheres of influence. This is particularly true when it comes to their depths of knowledge concerning the downsizing and relocation process and how they can help facilitate this process by walking alongside longtime homeowners from the beginning.
People who know you, trust you, and want to help you succeed simply need to be taught how they can best support you and your business goals.
(Read more about your personal platform: How to approach your sphere without sounding salesy.)