Selling to a New Generation: What Millennials Are Looking For
How to Sell to the Next Generation
Blame it on reality TV. Blame it on the Internet. Blame it on whatever you like, but the latest generation to enter adulthood is unlike any you’ve dealt with before. And, like it or not, if you don’t expect to retire with the last of the baby boomers, you’re going to have to reach millennials where they are, and sell to them on their terms.
Understanding those terms can be difficult, and figuring out how to sell to millennials can seem very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
Selling to millennials basically comes down to three things: projecting at least the appearance of authenticity while conveying respect for their perspective(s), making information instantaneously available and responding to their needs with great speed, and taking care of community building and engagement with them in real life and on social media.
If you can integrate these three overarching concepts into your sales strategy, you’ll be well on your way to ongoing sales success with the next generation.
Authenticity and Respect
Both the perception of authenticity and the concept of mutual respect (despite experience) are hallmarks of the illennial generation. Millennials want to be taken seriously, and expect that if you are engaging them that you care about their perspective and not just as it relates to the transaction at hand.
Engaging millennials requires a delicate balance between providing value to an ongoing conversation, listening carefully to their perspectives, and gently suggesting solutions.
Availability of Information and Lightning Fast Response
Keeping in mind that millennials have grown up with the entire digitized world at their fingertips, their expectation that everything they want to know about your company, your offering, and you personally be available to them instantaneously is somewhat understandable. Also keep in mind that this expectation applies to your ability to respond to any questions or concerns they may have.
Millennials have come to expect that the world operates on Internet time; in other words, lightning fast and outside of regular work hours, if need be. Don’t get too hung up on this, though. Often a simple reply promising a more developed answer the next business day will suffice.
Word-of-Mouth, Peer Reviews, and Social Media
Like no other generation before them, millennials respect and even trust the reviews of friends, family, and sometimes strangers, on the Internet. Remember, what people are saying about you and your company on social media is your brand, like it or not.
Joining the conversation, participating in and building community around your brand, responding to both positive and challenging online reviews: these are all mandatory if you are hoping to engage and convert millennials.
In many cases, millennials will trust an online consumer review from a total stranger over what you are saying about your own brand. The relative anonymity of the Internet makes it seem more impartial, and more of a flat organization of sorts.
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