Back to the Future

How are we going to link the Gen X & Y REALTORS® with the older, yet extremely knowledgeable population of REALTORS®, who have had success in Real Estate for 20, 30 and even 40 years?

The more I think about this question, I can’t help but think about the office where I work and its demographics.  Many of the REALTORS® at my office have been in the Real Estate business for many years. A good number of them have had great success in selling homes and commercial property for, quite frankly, more years than I have been alive. How do I connect with these people?

I am 28 years old and have sold real estate for 5 years; in their opinion I am “as green as a gourd.” They have watched me and newer REALTORS® like me walk in and out of the office daily for years. Some of these new REALTORS® have had success.  Some, however, have never even had the chance to learn the office phone number before the business has gotten the best of them.

Really, how do I (and you) connect with an experienced REALTOR® who has fought countless real estate battles, sold homes at 16% interest rates, and at one time, could tell you where every pay phone in the city was?

The younger generation needs to take a good look at this. There were no mobile phones, no lockboxes — and no down payment meant one thing… no sale. What do experienced REALTORS® think when they hear me talk about Facebook? Where does their mind travel when they overhear me say to a fellow agent on the phone, “I will just scan the contract into my email, send it over to you, and if you don’t get it, text me.”

These people are experienced and the best asset we have as Gen X &Y REALTORS®. I think I know how to access their knowledge: Earn their respect. Let them teach us their ways. Work. Listen. Let them see that we are actually working, not hiding behind an afternoon of Facebook “prospecting.”

If you talk to enough experienced REALTORS®, they always seem to say one thing: “If you stick to the basics of the business,” you will have success. The basics such as door knocking, keeping in regular contact with past clients, networking (shaking hands) and lead generation always seem to be near the top of the list.

Is new technology necessary in today’s real estate environment? It is imperative! Am I saying that things like Facebook, Twitter and blogging are not important? No way! But what I am saying is that a good firm handshake with good eye contact will never go away. We need to learn from the people who have shaken the hands of many.  Why not mimic what the older generation has done to become successful first, and then enhance it with what technology has given us?

Perhaps, going “back” might just be a great way for us to bridge the gap with older REALTORS®, and if we play our cards right, this practice could quite possibly lead us to a more abundant “future.”

8 thoughts on “Back to the Future

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Back to the Future -- Topsy.com

  2. Outstanding Blog, Kyle. I’m sending this out to our Young Professionals Network here at NAR. We should chat sometime.

  3. Kyle,
    This is a GREAT article! I am sending to my manager. I am 30 years old, with 7 years in the business, and my office has very similar demographics to yours it seems. I work as a buyers agent for agent who has been in Real Estate since I was in kindergarten, and we always find ourselves discussing these types of topics. You hit the nail right on the head! I’ve started to embrace the hand written note and face to face networking, and guess what? It works! Thanks again for such a great article, I really enjoyed it, and will start following you!

    Thanks so much!

  4. I am one of those very experienced “oldies” but “goodies” who has been in real estate education for many years. I have had to manage the blend of new licensees with the experienced licensees new to our company. The blended classes are wonderful and so much more interesting as the different levels participate and learn from each other. Our company is very similar to what you describe in your company. I commend you for having the empathy and the foresight regarding the importance of blending the skills of all levels and learning from each other. Often there seems to be a bit of a condescending attitute from some of the younger agents instead of recognizing and taking advantage of the knowledge of the really long term agents. Good job and best wishes to you for a very long and successful career in real estate.

  5. Kyle,
    One of my Outstanding Young Professional’s is Autumne Benett. She sent me your article. She knew I would enjoy it. In our office we have about 85 agents and more than 30 have been in this business for more than 20 years. It’s refreshing to read that a young adult understand their is value in listening to, talking with those with years of experience. At the same time, it is important for us older generation agents to recognize what the young estate agent can teach us. Autumne has helped me many times with technology and has led sales meetings in our office teaching us all to use Facebook and the like. No matter what age, there is no magic button that one can push and be successful. It takes consistent, daily, contacting your past clients, friends, and family either by written notes or face to face.
    I enjoy the study of Generations and the best techniques for working with each.
    On a personal note, I have met one other Killebrew in the business. She was with Better Homes and Gardens for many years and most recently the NAR Regional VP for SC, NC, Tenn., and Kentucky. Any relation?

  6. Great blog post Kyle!!!! I think the focus of your blog should be the next topic to tackle as you chair the Gen X / Gen Y Task Force in the coming year (can we hurry up and change the name by the way….?).

    Being in the business for 15 years, I have embraced the knowledge of the more experienced REALTOR – especially when I was new. Even today, not a day goes by that I don’t watch, listen & learn from the more experienced agents in my company.

    Thanks for the post!!

  7. Kyle, what an incredible “maiden voyage” introduction to your blog! You are “wise beyond your years” and reading your insights made our hearts skip a beat! You are a natural learner and Bill saw that from the very beginning. He refers to you as a sponge. We have a high regard and hope for the Gen X & Y group coming up especially when they merge their technological advantages with common sense and a keen awareness that being a student of “wiser and older” isn’t a bad thing. We both readily admit that it is rewarding to watch the younger generations “take the lead” and we will continue to learn from them. However, reading your article today was uplifting and encouraging to us (on this side of our careers) as we strive to “finish well”. There’s no doubt you have and will continue to make your mark in this world! Thank you!

  8. Kyle: What a great blog! As an “older generation” Realtor, I look forward to working with the younger generation. Would love to visit with as many of you as I can. I have been a Realtor for over 30 years and have been through the good times and the bad! I think this new “committee” of young people is a no brainer. Let’s try to plan something for our next set of meetings. I so enjoyed the TweetUp at the convention. More things like that, but more like a panel discussion with Q&A’s would be great. I know many of us “older guys” would love to participate. Keep up the good work. It’s the younger generation of Realtors that we need to work with and mentor.

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