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Leasing to Baby Boomers

An article on how to lease to Baby Boomers is a shift isn’t it, from the normal focus on Millennials. Now some of you are thinking, “It’s about time we stopped focusing on those Millennials!!” While others of you are thinking, “Why would we focus on Baby Boomers?? They already own their homes!”

The truth is while Millennials will continue to be a major force in the rental housing industry for years to come, Baby Boomers are still a crucial component of your success too. Did you know that over five million Baby Boomers (including current homeowners), aged 55 and over expect to rent again by 2020. (Source: FreddieMac)

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Many Baby Boomers have spent many, many years working hard, climbing the corporate ladder, raising children, while pursuing the “American Dream” of owning a home. And now many Baby Boomers want someone else to take care of things so they can enjoy the lives they’ve worked so hard to create.

So what can you do to attract Boomer renters?

I’m going to focus more on the “people” aspect here, since you may not be able to do something about the product or the price, depending on what you do at your company. But, you can control you, right?

 

So here is what you need to know. First, I want you to watch this classic Chrysler commercial with Ricardo Montalban….

Did you see how they compared a Chrysler to a Mercedes-Benz and Rolls-Royce at the end? What about the reference to “Corinthian Leather?” (By the way, there is no such thing as “Corinthian Leather” it’s a made-up marketing term, but man it sounds luxurious doesn’t it, especially the way that Montalban says it!)

As a cohort Baby Boomers love the luxurious. The exclusive. The elegant. Just think of the TV shows of the 80’s, Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knot’s Landing, even Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. This is all Baby Boomer heaven, right here!

What does this mean for you? Well if you’re in a luxury community play it up, my friends! Highlight the status, exclusivity, the prestige of your community.

Even if you’re not in a luxurious community, you can still provide excellence in the experience for your Baby Boomer customer. This might mean that you may need to be a little more formal, more traditionally professional, and you may need to be less “friend” and more someone who is serving, if that makes sense.

If you’re a fan of the Gilmore Girls, I want you to think about this question…would you sell to Emily and Richard Gilmore differently than you would to Lorelai or Rory? Yes!! Remember, you’re selling to Richard and Emily and that may give you the perspective on how to connect, communicate and engage with your Baby Boomer customers.

Why is this important?

If you’re a Millennial or a Gen X-er like me, our generations are somewhat more casual than Baby Boomers. I’m convinced “Casual Friday” was invented by a Gen X-er who wanted to wear his khakis from The Gap to work, instead of a stuffy suit. (I have no proof for this.) So, if your default tends to be more casual and less formal, that could get in the way of successfully helping your Baby Boomer customers who are used to being more formal.

Remember this word … EXCELLENCE. If there is a buzzword that should guide your interactions with Baby Boomer clients, it’s excellence.

Good luck and happy leasing!!

Rommel (pronounced "Roh-mel") Anacan is one of the most dynamic, entertaining and educating speakers in the multifamily industry today. Rommel works with leading companies and organizations nationwide helping them achieve their maximum potential and performance with a powerful "Win With People" message and approach to organizational development. In 2017 he was invited to become a member of the famed Apartment All-Stars team.
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  • I think a good way to look at some "luxuries" is to imagine how the resident will use it to make themselves sound better. My wife's cousin talks about how he as something like 26 vehicles. He doesn't talk about how they are probably all rusted out and half don't run - instead, he focuses on the thing that he thinks will sound impressive. So in a way, for some people, not only are the amenities meant to be consumed, but they are also meant to be shared. In the video, he's giving people not only the selling points, but also helping them share how great the car is with their friends. I can easily see someone who purchased that car trying to tell their friends about how their car was somehow on par with a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes.

    I would imagine, although I can't say with certainty, that "downsizing" to an apartment from a house comes with a certain amount of concern about how their image will be affected. They can say that they really didn't need all that room, or that they enjoy not having to mow the lawn, but I would bet that they will also be talking about the amenities to counter the potential lack of prestige of them owning their own home. So as we are explaining the benefits, we are also training them on how to share it with their friends...

    Or I could be talking out of my rear!

    p.s. You inspired me to write a spin-off blog - that's the sure sign you got my gears turning.

  • Susan Weston

    I'm a baby boomer. Just a word of caution just like we're hearing from Millennials - please don't try to stereotype us. I didn't connect to this post. That's all! Authenticity and sincerity probably trump everything else!

  • Thought-provoking post, and I would have to agree with Sue here . . . be careful of stereotyping baby boomers (yes, I'm one too!). Baby boomers fall into every part of the socio-economic range, and the things that resonate and are important to over 75 million Americans are too numerous to catalog. One of the key things to keep in mind from my perspective is simply how you communicate with a baby boomer; as was stated earlier, authenticity and sincerity (and really listening) most likely trump everything else.

  • Susan and Judy... thank you for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it!
    I agree with you that there is danger in stereotyping everyone, and I also believe that there is a danger in not recognizing that each generation does have characteristics that it shares as a cohort, even as many individuals within the group may not fit those generalities of the cohort as a whole. I do think it's important for everyone to be aware of the characteristics of the different generations so that when they are working with someone who views things differently, instead of immediately going to, "Oh, there is that entitled Millennial again!" or "There is the slacker Gen Xer again" etc. and doing things that break connection, they can instead go to, "Ah...I get where s/he is coming from and now I can adjust my approach accordingly, while still being authentic, so that I can speak the language the customer will best understand."

    I also agree that everyone should listen well, connect accordingly and be authentic in all of their interactions with their customers. Thanks again!!

    Oh...and Brent, thanks for commenting and sharing too! (=

  • This is what I know about the market for Baby Boomers in my area. If you are a person of a certain age, and you want to sell your house, or you want maintenance-free living, the choices can be limited depending upon one's level of income. For most of the Boomers in this area, they choose to start downsizing with an apartment, so the potential to market to this demographic is tremendous.
    Listening will be the leasing consultant's best course of action - no matter who walks through the door. But for me, the key is knowing that moving to an apartment will afford me a lifestyle I had and want to continue without the hassle of maintenance chores and the freedom to entertain at a whim as time off allows, and the ability to have guests, sometimes longer than that 5-day rule found in many leases. I think the Boomer market is definite a gem demographic! Finding the verbiage is important because we do want to think we are making not only a viable choice, but an excellent one.