Remember when it was enough just to be referred by a Realtor? Ok, that is still certainly a major check mark for winning, but it is quickly losing some influence to several other factors that Millennials value. If that referral is not supported by information that they find on their own, the risks of them being influenced by other options increases dramatically.  Here are 3 ways to reinforce your referrals:

Be digitally visible and engaged.

There are two characteristics that are incredibly important to Millennials: credibility and authenticity. They are not impressed by claims of being the best or having the best rates. They are generally skeptical of advertising.  You are not going to influence the purchase decisions of Millennials effectively through advertising.

The best way to establish credibility and authenticity is to have a dynamic web presence and active social profiles. Having an active digital presence, as opposed to the static “About Me” page and rarely-posted-to social media pages that many LO’s have, is an indicator to Millennials that you are real, established.  Furthermore, if you are posting regularly; responding to comments; and liking, sharing, and retweeting, it shows that you are actively engaged and it humanizes you in their eyes; transforming a cold lead into something warmer before they even speak with you directly.

Have a well-designed customer experience.

Millennials are experiential. There are countless studies that show that one reason Millennials were slow to own homes, cars, and other assets was due to a stronger desire to pay for experiences rather than save to pay for things.

It is important to remember that the customer experience does not start when they contact you. It begins with awareness. Whether that awareness comes from the words of a Realtor, a billboard, or a flyer, from that moment forward their impression of you is forming. Map your entire customer experience, from their promotional exposure, to their first direct contact with you, through settlement, and beyond.  Be intentional with every touch throughout the entire process. Your goal is a 5-star review, lots of referrals, and repeat business.

We in the mortgage industry have tended to consider the process as something separate from marketing. That is a mistake. Remember this: New Coke did not fail because of the hundreds of millions of dollars invested in marketing and promotion.  It failed because people didn’t like the product.  In an industry where all the players have basically the same products and pricing, your product is the experience.

Transparency is a requirement.

Millennials came of age in a time when bad things happen.  In fact, one of the reasons they are skeptical of advertising is most likely because several of the messages that were taken for granted turned out to be, in their eyes, less than completely true. The idea of being completely safe was tarnished by events like September 11th and school shootings. The concepts of the home as The American Dream and success being available to those that worked hard was damaged by the housing bubble and the ensuing unemployment and lackluster recovery.

Whether you agree with those views or concerns is beyond the point, what matters is that the typical Millennials does not want anything sugar-coated or exaggerated. Being open and transparent throughout the mortgage process, regardless of whether the news is good or bad, is critical. The need to feel informed is very real and a feeling of being uninformed or misinformed is likely to result in a very negative experience regardless of whether or not things work out in the end.