Selling to the Gen Y Buyer

by Shannon F.

selling to generation y

So you’re selling to a decision-maker who was born after 1980. This generation has an unfair reputation for having a short attention span, poor interpersonal skills, and a host of other negative characteristics. Sure, we were raised on ADHD-inducing cartoons, colorful and experimental food products, and the notion that we can do ANYTHING. As a result, we’re high-achievers who dream big, but we’re also a little…different. Here’s what you should know when it comes to approaching this group of prospects.

1. Your Gen Y prospect does not want to talk to you on the phone. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that we would rather have you connect with us in a less invasive way and give us more of a choice as to whether or not we want to interact with you. So send us an email or connect with us on Linkedin before or instead of calling.

2. Gen Y has already looked up you and 5 of your competitors online—unless you enter at the consultant level before Gen Y even knows she needs your product or service. Basically, as soon as a business need pops into Gen Y’s head, she is going to Google it—that’s a fact. So BE the one to introduce the need. Remember that by the time the client searches for you online, it’s too late for you to build rapport, influence the buying decision, and name your price. But by approaching Gen Y early in her buying process, you can inform and shape her decision.

3. Gen Y cares more than anyone what others think. He’s used to going online and looking up dozens of product reviews before making even a simple purchase, so you’re never going to sell him over the course of one or two phone calls. Make sure you have testimonials on your website and plenty of positive public interaction with clients on Twitter. Gen Y prospects often don’t ask for personal referrals when looking for a vendor. They want highly visible evidence that you are providing a great service.

4. Well-rehearsed jokes make Gen Y feel awkward, like we have to laugh. The same goes with canned scripts that don’t take our specific needs into consideration. Gen Y thinks you should keep it real. Know what you want to say, but be flexible about where the selling conversation takes you.

5. Gen Y responds to new and interesting content. (Who doesn’t?) We grew up with so much information at our fingertips that seeking and sharing great content comes naturally to us. So inviting us to your webinar or sending us a link to your blog is approximately 500 times better than calling us.

We hate to brag, but our adoption of technology, our buying habits, our lack of response to traditional marketing, and our preferred methods of communication are changing the way other generations approach the task of finding vendors to fulfill business needs. Coming next: 5 things you must do to weather this sales paradigm shift.

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