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Communications Breakdown

generation y

Let me first get all of the pleasantries aside: I have enjoyed AgentGenius for some time and it was an exciting pleasure to be invited to be a contributor for the site. You can see my info on the G-Spot, but to summarize, I teach marketing, technology and generational marketing classes to Realtors in Oregon for Chicago Title of Oregon.

Along with marketing and technology, I happen to know quite a bit about Generation Y (which has caused quite a stir around here before). As my Twitter profile says “I am the poster child for generation Y”. I’ll provide more of my slightly different take on my generation later on, but today I want to focus on methods of communication.

In one day, I heard both of these: “Email isn’t my preferred method of contact, so if you didn’t provide a phone number, I may not get back to you” and “If you email me, how soon should I call you back?”

All of these people potentially lost my business. And most other Generation Y people I know.

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on their terms

People in Generation Y want to contact you on their terms. It’s why they belong to multiple social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn, to name a few. If they want to email you, email them back. If they want to chat online with you, chat back. If they want to poke you, poke back. (I still feel odd about poking people).

Some people may link this to our supposed sense of entitlement. It’s not that, we just value our time more than anything else. Twitter and Google Talk are the most efficient ways for me to keep in touch with my friends, so I use them. Chatting on the phone and driving to meet people are not efficient most of the time, so I avoid them.

easier to convert

I’m not a big fan of Facebook. But I have an account. And a few old friends have found me through the site. They could be potential customers. Friends are easier to convert than strangers.

What it comes down to is being accessible. You have an office so people can visit you. You have a phone so people can call you. You have email so people can email you. Now you need to start considering the new technologies like social networks. You need to at least exist so people can get in touch.

Next time I’ll be covering how to kill two birds with one stone through email marketing.

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Written By

Nick runs a new media marketing consulting company helping real estate professionals learn how to implement new media tools into their marketing arsenal. He frequently gives presentations on generational marketing, green marketing and advanced online promotion. Nick is active on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.



  1. Andy Kaufman

    February 12, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    Hi Nick- I totally agree. By participating in social networks and providing value to those I’m connected to, I’m pre-qualifying myself for the job and making myself asynchronously available 24-7.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have to say about email marketing.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    February 12, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Good start at AG. I’m a big fan of Skype, and not a big fan of “professionals” who don’t use the most basic of tools. As a consumer, I would never work with someone who started off in their VM by telling me that wouldn’t communicate with me by my preferred method of contact or that they don’t use a communications median that is has been so widely embraced over a decade!

  3. Ines

    February 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    I think I was born in the wrong generation – is there such a thing as generationally confused?

  4. Jeff Brown

    February 12, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Certainly, each ‘generation’ can decide on their own how they wish to conduct business.

    I find the need to continuously deny/defend GenX/Y’s behavior as ‘not one of entitlement’ the common thread seeming to run through these posts. 🙂

    Though I’ve not yet embraced social networking like a crazed hormonally driven teenager yet, I don’t doubt its efficacy. That said, I wonder when or rather if a 27 year old stumbled on a ‘top 5%’ type real estate professional, what their behavior would be. Would they dictate the agent’s behavior, or would they choose to benefit from the outrageous expertise into which they’d stumbled?

    “The agent doesn’t even twitter! That’s it — I’m outa here!”

    I suspect these young people are a lot smarter than folks give them credit for — at least that’s been my experience. Sure, they’re into the newest and the fastest. I get it. 🙂 They’re also into obtaining results. And results sometimes comes packaged differently than they’d prefer.

    Am I off base here? Thanks

  5. Nick

    February 13, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Jeff, you bring up some excellent points.

    I too am not totally into social networks like some people I know. I hate MySpace, I check my Facebook only when I am emailed friend requests, I like LinkedIn but sometimes don’t really know why, I love Twitter because I get to chat with this community but it seems like it’s always down and there are a few others I belong to, but don’t live in.

    Like I said, people just need to exist on at least some of these networks. I have the opportunity to work with that “top 5%” and many of them are near retirement. They understand that their business is slowing to a degree and want in on the new trends like blogging and social networks, but would rather just buy in if possible.

    I’m still going to base my Realtor decision on the relationship and expertise, but (especially if I’m relocating) I’m probably going to find the person through these online methods.

  6. Jeff Brown

    February 13, 2008 at 1:05 am

    I’ve found many of my team members in the different regions I do business via the web. So far I haven’t made use of social networking.

    Now you’ve done it. I’m gonna be asking everyone I talk to now if they’re doing what you suggest.


  7. Inspirion Inc

    March 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    As an expert in intergenerational communication, Misti Burmeister has worked with top Fortune 500 companies, military leaders and national associations to motivate and inspire their staff to work together, beyond their generational differences. As an experienced coach with clients ranging from young teenagers to top executives, Misti has opened doors of life changing transformation. Misti would like to share her insight to your audience and shed light to the questions and concerns individuals have about parents, children, seasoned bosses, young new hires and more

    CEO of Inspirion Inc. Ms. Burmeister has recently published her latest book “From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations,” a book written on the topic of four diverse generations and the communication barriers they come across at work and at home. This book is an essential guide to overcoming the preconceived notions we have about other generations and open doors to happy and healthy relationships.

    For more information please email

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