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The Generation Gap: 6 Tips to Help You Understand and Serve Millennial and Generation X Clients Each generation requires its own unique focus.

By David Parnes Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


According to the National Association of Realtors, the last four years of reports have shown that buyers 36 years old and younger (millennials/gen Yers), are the largest share of home buyers at 34 percent. Buyers aged 37-51, generation X, make up 28 percent of recent home buyers. With millennials quickly becoming the largest segment of consumers in general, and gen X having more spending power than any other generation, representing 31 percent of total U.S. income, according to Ad Age, it is important to understand their differences and motivations so you can properly serve them.

Related: 15 Reasons Why Gen Xers Are Smarter With Their Money Than Millennials

Each generation requires its own unique focus. Here are six tips to help you serve Millennial and generation X clients.

Millennials appreciate succinct communications.

According to a recent study by Microsoft, millennials lose focus after about 8 seconds. They are a highly digitized generation, and accustomed to instant gratification. When serving Millennial clients, keep your message short, sweet and to the point. The last thing you want to do is bore your millennial client.

Generation X values authenticity and tonality.

Generation X has seen it all. They have grown up with the digital age, and now they run the C-suite. When serving generation X clients, keep in mind that you'll have to overcome their inherent skepticism. Honesty is always the best policy, and be prepared with facts to back up your statements. Generation X clients are highly educated and will expect you to be an expert in your field. When serving Generation X clients, always keep it real, honor all of your commitments and demonstrate integrity in all that you say and do.

Related: Struggling to Market to Millennials? Here Are 4 Tips That Can Help.

Millennials are all about technology.

Millennials are more engaged with their devices than any demographic. Technology reigns supreme. They want it in their palms, and they want it in their home. A recent study by Wakefield Research group has demonstrated that 86 percent of millennials are willing to pay more to secure a home with smart technology built into it and that they would pay up to 20 percent more each month just to have it.

When serving millennial clients, be sure to communicate via text and email. Millennials are not interested in talking on the phone. In fact, most of my millennial clients communicate almost entirely over text. Keep in mind that millennials value advanced technologies, so if you aren't up to date with electronic signatures, Venmo payments and the latest apps, you'll have to do some research to bring yourself up to speed. Millennials prefer to transact digitally and won't be going to the fax machine anytime soon.

Related: Rent? Buy? How Each Generation Today Prefers to Live.

Generation X clients value efficiency and hard work.

I've found generation X clients are competent, business-like and efficient. They expect you to go above and beyond and aren't pleased with people that make mistakes. When serving Generation X clients, pay close attention to detail and never waste their time. You will rarely receive praise because Generation X clients require you to exceed their expectations.

Millennials respond to innovation, substance, ingenuity and emotional connections.

It seems like millennials, as a generation, are extroverted. They seek new experiences, empathy and emotional connections, even in their business dealings. Millennial clients are focused on values and making a difference in the world. When serving millennial clients, it is important to discover what they are passionate about. Millennials prefer to work with people who share their core values. They are more interested in substance, and look down upon superficiality. Millennials are interested in simple, smart and effective solutions.

Related: I'm A Gen Xer -- Here's Why You Should Stop Ignoring Me

Generation X is all about family.

My generation X clients are very family-oriented. They want the best quality and products for their families and think of their family in all that they say and do. When serving generation X clients, learn about their family life and highlight the ways in which your product or service can be beneficial for their family unit. For example, when generation X clients are looking for a home, they are typically interested in larger homes with room for family, security systems to protect their family and safe, family-friendly environments. I may show a home perched over a 300-foot cliff to a millennial client, but I'd never show that home to a generation X client with four young children.

At the end of the day, not all client interactions are equal. Be mindful of your clients and educate yourself on what matters most to them. Millennials and gen Xers think very differently and all it takes is a little research and education to build long-lasting client relationships with any generation.

Don't forget to catch me on Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Bravo!

David Parnes

Director, The Agency Real Estate

David Parnes is co-founder of luxury real estate firm, Bond Street Partners, and director of The Agency Real Estate. Parnes is one of the top luxury real estate brokers in the U.S., and stars on the hit television series Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, airing Thursdays at 9/8c on Bravo.

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