"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”
You might have been thinking of Millennials as you read this quote. It’s common for the previous generation to bash the upcoming generation. In fact, the above quote was from Aristotle.
Millennials are different, so they buy differently. Salespeople struggle to manage this change. These salespeople are stuck in their old ways and old habits. These salespeople ask themselves, “Why can’t this Millennial buy the way I want to sell?” They are asking the wrong question. This is seller-focused thinking. They should be asking, “Why can’t I sell the way this customer wants to buy?”
A principle of Value-Added Selling is to put the customer first. We have to sell the way the customer wants to buy, not the way we want to sell.
The number-one complaint about Millennial buyers is that they never want to meet face-to-face. Millennial buyers would rather email or talk on the phone. Salespeople are left wondering why this buyer won’t meet with them. Maybe you haven’t given the Millennial buyer a reason to meet with you. Ask yourself, “What can I provide the buyer that they cannot find online or in an email?” If you create value for the customer, they’ll open up to meeting with you. Here’s one idea to help you get the meeting.
Millennials want to be part of the solution, not the problem. If their industry is experiencing a unique problem, make the Millennial buyer aware of the problem. Millennials are comfortable challenging the status quo. The Millennial buyer could be your greatest advocate for change. Ask the Millennial buyer to be part of the solution. Ask for their feedback and their help. Here’s a sample positioning statement for your Millennial buyer.
“We have found that manufacturers spend too much on inventory they never use. This ties up their cash and places financial strain on their company. Organizations struggle to find the balance between too much and too little inventory. Very few companies are able to solve this inventory problem. These problems don’t always exist on the surface. Would you be willing to meet so that we can further discuss these challenges? I’d like to hear your ideas and share some additional thoughts.”
In this message, the Millennial buyer has the opportunity to be part of the solution. You offer to collaborate with the Millennial buyer to solve the problem.
When selling to a Millennial buyer, remember that they are a customer first and a Millennial second. Suspend your own assumptions about Millennials and focus on their needs. To be a value-added salesperson, do business the way your customer wants to do business. You have to sell the way the customer wants to buy, regardless of the generation.
Paul Reilly is president of Reilly Sales Training, a St. Louis-based, privately-owned company that specializes in training sales professionals, sales managers and service professionals. Call Paul at 636-778-0175 or email [email protected].