A Realtor Magazine “30 Under 30” finalist shares her secrets

Heather R. Johnson

Millennials under the age of 36 account for 34 percent of all homebuyers, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.

If you’re a younger real estate agent, you’re perfectly positioned to not only reach these prospects, but nurture them into lifelong clients, says Alexa Kebalo Hughes. And even if you’re not part of their generation, you can still get their attention – and their business.

“When I’m sitting with millennial clients, they feel comfortable with me,” says Hughes, 27, who co-leads a small team, the Kebalo Group, with her mom Cheryl Kebalo, at RE/MAX Edge in South Windsor, Connecticut.

“They’ll tell me, ‘You’re so quick to text back, you’re tech savvy, and we love what you’re doing on social media.’ They haven’t experienced this in the past with other agents. To me, it’s natural.”

After winning over millennial clients with rapid-response texts and video emails, you can strategically position yourself to become their agent for life, assisting with everything from their first home to their post-retirement home, says Hughes, whose team earned a 100 Percent Club Team Award last year.

Whether you’re a millennial or not, using new technology, online marketing and social media can help you acquire and retain younger clients – and also increase your productivity.

Hughes, a Realtor Magazine “30 Under 30” finalist, and her team closed 33 transaction sides in 2016, totaling $7.6 million in sales volume. Here’s how she’s winning over a new generation of homebuyers and keeping her pipeline full.

Use Google to run your business

Hughes runs a cloud-based, mostly paperless office powered by Google Apps. She logs meetings into Google Calendar. She uses Google Tasks as her to-do list and Google Keep for recording random thoughts. With Google Voice, she has a separate business phone number she uses on all her marketing.

And for conference calls, listing presentations and market analyses, Hughes uses Google Hangouts to meet with clients virtually via video.

“I just send a link to the client,” she says. “I do a screen share so they don’t miss a thing.”

Embrace video

Millennials are turning to video at several stages in the home-buying process. And with tools provided by her RE/MAX region, Hughes easily creates videos for listing presentations, marketing campaigns and other outreach efforts.

Hughes combines lead consolidation and response software with BombBomb video emails to create personal messages for all of her clients. “We’ll send out an auto responder to every inquiry with a hyperlink to a BombBomb video saying we’ll be in touch soon,” she says.

Hughes also uses BombBomb videos to wish clients a happy birthday or a happy home anniversary, and to answer questions that take too long to type out.

Other video ideas: broadcast an open house on Facebook Live, include a video tour on your listings’ custom websites, or add videos to your blog posts and e-newsletters.

Combine technology with face time

If you’re eager to grow your business, step away from the computer and take advantage of the powerful networking opportunities offered through RE/MAX, Hughes recommends.

Hughes attended her first RE/MAX R4 Convention in 2011. Since then, she has attended national and global events regularly.

“There’s no better community in this business than RE/MAX,” she says. “Top-producing agents are willing to share information, and the ability to learn from other agents allows you to grow outside of your comfort zone and rise above the competition.”

Despite an increase in younger members, NAR reports the median Realtor age at 53. Kebalo encourages her peers to pick up the torch.

“Real estate is full of great relationships and offers high quality of life,” she says. “You’re working for yourself but not by yourself, because you have tremendous support at RE/MAX. Seize the opportunity and run with it.”