When we read about millennials in the workplace, adjectives like young, tech-savvy and entitled typically appear. Some researchers have gone so far as to call us (I am a millennial) Generation Me.
While these descriptors may ring true for many, millennials are also known for their unabashed authenticity, unique in work relationships. It is our challenge as sales professionals to align with this authenticity to meet the needs of the millennial buyer. We can do that by paying close attention to how we present ourselves to our clients.
Being Genuine Counts the Most.
In general, millennials never want to be “sold to.” They want us to help them make a good decision. At the beginning of my journey in sales, I focused too much on technique and not enough on what clients really cared about and wanted to achieve. As a result, I pushed clients toward my own solutions instead of figuring out how best to help them. I had to remind myself that intent counts more than technique. If I sincerely want to help my clients, I need to do something with them, not to them.
Demonstrating a genuine intent to help your clients get what they need is highly likely to earn you their loyalty. Jeff Fromm, in a Forbes article published last May, points out that 50.5% of millennials show extreme loyalty to their favorite brands. In my experience, it takes a genuine exchange between client and sales person to create that kind of trust in a brand and in a relationship.
Being Peer-to-Peer Can be Pivotal.
Some observers note that millennials demonstrate a general lack of respect for authority. While this may or may not be the case, it is widely noted that millennials respond more favorably to peer-to-peer relationships than other generations. While you, as a sales professional, may care about titles, your millennial client probably does not. Peer-to-peer means meeting your clients where they are and joining them on the other side of the desk. Once there, your role becomes clear – how can you enable their win?
Are You Ready for a Millennial Future?
Millennials are only now beginning to take control of the marketplace. As they progress their careers and become key decision makers, authenticity in sales will be more important than ever before.
I'd love to hear about your experiences selling to this up-and-coming group of buyers and prospects. Are there any lessons you've learned? Share them in the comments section below.