Today’s baby boomer generation (people born between 1946-1961) consists of over 4 million Australians who are typically empty nesters looking to downsize, invest in property or buy a holiday house. Whilst approximately one in five Australians are baby boomers interestingly they own over 50 per cent of the nation's private wealth and have high disposable incomes (McCrindle research). As a sizeable segment of the Australian population, it is important to have a good understanding of how to reach baby boomers and convert them into clients.
At the beginning of the baby boomer generation you have people aged in their late sixties who remember when TV was a luxury and only had two channels, and most likely hoard their vinyl record collections including every Seekers and Beatles album ever made. Around the time of their late 20s and early 30s when they began considering settling down and starting a family, the median house price of a home in Sydney was $34,300 (Applied Economics). Today’s older baby boomers may be retired or semi-retired and have a general and practical understanding of the Internet and new technology. They can post to Facebook but have difficulty troubleshooting their laptop to solve Internet connection issues or detect and remove a virus on their computer.
Born at the tail end of the baby boomers are those people who are now in their mid-fifties. They could tell you when the Berlin wall came down, permed their hair in the 80s and know where they were when they found out Princess Diana died. They bought their first home close to their thirtieth birthday, when the median house price in Sydney was $194,000 (NSW VG Department of Housing). Today’s youngest boomers are tech-savvy, read the newspaper on their tablets, can touch type, text message quickly and use social media on their smartphones daily.
Here’s some advice to help glean a better understanding of baby boomers in general and how to best go about converting this lucrative customer segment into clients.
Adapt your communications
Baby boomers, especially those in their sixties, really appreciate personal touches and prefer one-on-one personalised conversation on the phone or in person over digital interactions. The younger segment of baby boomers will however be more willing and receptive to receiving text messages and email communications. If you’re unsure about a clients communication preference just ask what they use most often so you can deliver the right kind of information in an easily accessible way.
Don’t forget that baby boomers were the first generation to be segmented and aggressively marketed to by the admen of the 1960s. They were born and grew up in a time of information and sensory overload, so it is worthwhile to keep your communications relevant, simple, to the point and leave your cheesiest salesman marketing lines at home. Be sure not to waste their time sending information on homes that don’t meet their criteria and lifestyle requirements, as they will feel as though you don't understand their wants and needs.
Ease their fears
Keep in mind baby boomers typically have concerns around the financial, social and physical implications that come with getting older and retiring.
If they’re looking to downsize highlight the positives of having a smaller home. Talk about the benefits of having no stairs to climb, and the time and money they’ll save on property maintenance, cleaning and energy bills. Also if viable, discuss the potential for leveraging the equity in their current home to purchase the new smaller one and pay off their mortgage.
If you have clients looking to buy property for investment to supplement their income or as a retirement nest egg, set some time aside to explain exactly what this will involve and the benefits and risks that come with investing in property. For instance, they may not realise they need to keep their full time job to save up for the down payment or to get the loan amount they need. Advising baby boomer clients about what investing in property entails sets you up as their local go-to expert on real estate.
Sell the lifestyle perks
When viewing a property or writing a property listing directed at empty nesters and boomers show off the features that will allow them to keep active physically and socially. When baby boomers are looking to downsize pique their interest by showing them apartments, units and smaller homes that are close to parks, recreation facilities, neighbourhood shops and township centres. Now that the kids are grown up and moved out, they are particularly interested in leading a rich social life outside the family home. Provide them with information on properties located in safe pedestrian friendly neighbourhoods, that are within walking distance to public transport, restaurants, cafes and entertainment so they can easily stay active socially and physically.
Target their interests
Connect and gain visibility with baby boomers by advertising and sponsoring activities and organisations they’re interested in. Such as golf courses, lawn bowls clubs, swimming pools, community clubs, museums, performing arts programs or charities where they volunteer.
When they were younger most baby boomers may have considered changing careers or had a favourite hobby they lost touch with or didn't have the time for. Turn their empty nest situation into a new opportunity to follow up and foster these interests again. Depending on their hobbies and how they want to spend their time you could explain how the third bedroom of a home could work well as a home office, kids playroom for when the grandchildren visit or sewing room. Alternatively, if they’re a budding gourmet chef focus on finding a place with their dream kitchen or a property with studio space for an aspiring artist.
Hopefully keeping these four things in mind will help you to better understand, service and target baby boomers and more effectively convert them from prospects into clients.
From the Homely Team
Homely is a new way to search for property to buy and rent in Australia. Homely incorporates beautiful design and community engagement, to create an enjoyable and simple experience that helps you find a new home quickly.
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