President and co-founder of REMAX Integra Group of Companies Walter Schneider has a tip for sales agents: Most of your phone calls should be outbound, not inbound.
“’What am I doing to drive revenue?’” Schneider says every agent should ask themselves. “Work your referral system. If you talk to highly successful people in the real estate business, they will continue to repeat all the things that drive activity for them, so this business is all about outgoing, not incoming, calls. That’s always been at the forefront of what I do. Am I making more outbound than receiving inbound calls? If the answer is yes—that I’m making more outbound—then I’m in control of my activity.”
Schneider would know a thing or two about driving success. Last month, he was honoured with the inaugural Founders Award in Las Vegas at the R4 Convention. However, as important as working one’s referral system is grasping demographics and how dramatically they’ve changed in the last few decades.
The North American customer’s profile is virtually unrecognizable today compared to the 1980s. People are marrying later, or not at all, and families are being redefined with same sex marriages and partnerships, as well as single-parent households. The housing types people buy are also diverse, but, according to Schneider, there’s also the most common household formation in Canada that’s changed the way agents approach their jobs.
“When I started in real estate, my buyer was mom and dad, their two kids, dog and station wagon,” he said. “Today, we have a bunch of things out there. The largest component of housing in Canada today is the single person household, and the largest percentage are females. In 1990, one in 10 couples over the age of 50 were divorced; today that number is one in four. That creates more demand for housing and that changes the type of housing they are necessarily seeking. Then you have intensification and the urbanization of metropolitan areas across North America.”
Schneider also advises agents be on the lookout for millennials, of whom there are about as many today as boomers. While they typically gravitate towards starter homes, they’ll enliven sleepy neighbourhoods in under two decades’ time.
“Their needs again are different. They want smart houses and accessibility to transportation. I see a lot of sleepy neighbourhoods in the next 15 years coming to life with people who wouldn’t consider living there today. A 30-year-old today won’t consider a certain neighbourhood, but when she or he turns 45, they will consider it as their needs change.”
Additionally, roughly a third of millennials between the ages of 20 and 34 currently live with at least one parent, and Schneider reminds they’re a future buying cohort.
And therein lies Schneider’s most important piece of advice to agents: “Nothing stays static.”