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VOL. 39 | NO. 22 | Friday, May 29, 2015

Dealing with millennials can take some finesse

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Roughly 75 million strong, millennials are on a course to soon surpass their baby boomer parents as our nation’s largest living generation.

This generation, also known as Gen Y, was born between 1981 and the early 2000s, and they are beginning to wield great influence in their professional roles.

More and more, salespeople are encountering millennials in key decision-making roles within targeted companies. And what a millennial seeks in a sales experience is much different than their Gen X or Baby Boomer predecessors.

As such, you must adapt your sales skills to this generation before you begin losing sales to more nimble competitors.

So, how do you appeal to millennials?

Authenticity

Millennials are skeptical by nature. They can typically fact-check any claim you make within mere minutes, so make sure you know what you’re talking about.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply say you will research it and respond quickly.

They seek sales consultants who level with them and are focused on supporting them versus driving them through the sales process.

And they seek transparency from the companies from which they buy.

Respect

Many millennials feel as though they aren’t taken seriously.

Ask for their insights and feedback, both about what you’re selling and ideally about broader topics as well.

For instance, you might ask millennial clients to provide input into new products that would appeal to their generation.

Communication channels

If they are emailing you for details about a service you provide, don’t force them to take a call from you to get those details. Provide the requested information by email and offer alternative communication methods (e.g., text, phone). Communicate according to their preferences, not yours.

Accessibility

Given the connectivity of this generation, traditional boundaries around availability are crumbling.

Millennials don’t mind blurring the lines between work and personal life. That means it’s easier to reach them, but in turn, there is an expectation regarding your after-hours availability.

At a minimum, so that your prospect feels respected and heard, respond quickly to evening and weekend requests indicating you will follow up in greater detail the following business day.

Personal interests

Given the amount of information this generation divulges to the world via social media, they expect you to be educated about their personal interests if you’re going to do business with them.

Utilize this knowledge to connect with them and to help them see how your services or company philosophies align with their interests.

Time limitations

Time is highly valued with this generation. As such, be cognizant of this priority and get to the point quickly with millennial prospects.

Or better yet, leverage technology to identify innovative ways for this generation to communicate with or purchase from your brand more efficiently than your competitors.

Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO and founder of RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.

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