There are over 79 million Millennials today and none of them believe they can be sold to. They’re now the largest generation, and one of their most commonly-held beliefs is a conviction that salespeople are the evil spawn of the earth. They could never be persuaded into buying products they didn’t already want!
Millennials are smart as a whip, highly educated Digital Natives who know how to blend work and life together to create an impact on the world. They may not always “know best”, but they’re usually connected to someone over the internet who does! Since they can research any person or company instantly, they’ve already made key buying decisions before they connect with you. Traditional sales techniques don’t work anymore!
In today’s newsletter, we’ll give you some new strategies to tap into this HUGE marketplace. Read on…
Defining the Millennial Generation
Anyone under age 34 can be lumped into this generation (plus a few years above and below), and it’s a cinch that they’re tired of being typecast. No one likes to be categorized and made “the same as everyone else,” because we all strive to be unique. That said, in order to sell to this generation we need to see the world from their viewpoint. Here are their most common characteristics:
- Technology Elites
- Born 1982-2000,
- Online 30-40% of the time
- Never knew a world that wasn’t connected
- Focused on Global values, social causes
- Accepts diversity, alternate lifestyles
- “Career must count”
- Highly collaborative, Tribal
- React to fads, what’s popular and viral
- Highly visual, video-based, loves graphics
- Multi-tasks effortlessly using technology
Selling to Millennials
Your approach must be interesting, innovative and internet-based. Millennials hate the same old thing, and are constantly on the lookout for items that are unique, fresh and popular. They are easily influenced in a crowd because they want to be part of the tribe. Use marketing to influence the tribe, appealing to causes that matter to them, and they will beat a path to your door. Don’t reinforce their beliefs about pushy salespeople. Lead them to your product or service with excellent marketing and branding.
Make it Interesting
Millennials get bored easily, and love to be challenged. If you can make a game out of your product or service, this will entice droves of millennials to check you out. Witness what happened with Pokemon Go, which launched in July of this year and on day one was the most downloaded new application EVER. This game has generated over $200 MM in revenue (as of August) and is being played by tens of millions globally every day. And guess what? There are dozens more games even more enticing on the way!
The smart businesses figured out how to get ahead of the pack and managed to make their restaurants, shopping centers and attractions Poke Stops or Gyms, popular locations. Of course, while the players were physically there, they also bought food or goods. Think about how your business can capitalize on these emerging trends, how you can get ahead of the pack. Position your company for the “next great thing” and watch your revenue soar.
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling B2C or B2B, figure out a way to make it more interesting. Capture attention, build in some interactivity, make it a game. Study how it’s being done on television and at well-attended events which attract crowds, then copy the techniques.
For instance, at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington beach, each attendee receives a free badge with their admission. If they fill in their email address, visit 12 vendors and insert their badge into kiosks for an electronic “stamp”, they receive a free prize. This crowd of Millennials willingly waits in long lines for their stamp and freely gives away their contact information (worth thousands of dollars) in exchange for a free T-shirt. The vendors made it a game, and the Millennials played. Simply amazing!
Make it Innovative
Millennials are technology elites, so you need to amp up the technology in your product. Spruce up your website, add lots of video and pictures. Hire a social media wizard to integrate snapchat, Youtube, Facebook, Linkedin, and all the latest and greatest bells and whistles into your website(s) and blogs. Make it compelling, relevant and cause-based. You can do surveys and giveaways as prizes in the interactive games or contests you devise. Blending different technologies can yield some interesting results. Just look at how Netflix revolutionized media distribution, how Amazon Prime is taking over the world of online purchasing because they came up with innovative approaches to common problems.
What else can be ordered online? How simple is it to order your product or service online? Millennials will decide FAST if it’s too much bother and will “vote you off the island” in an instant. Response times need to be near instantaneous, and customer service friendly and responsive.
When a Millennial needs transportation, they Uber it. (it’s a verb). If they want to go to a movie, they order tickets online and pick them up. They pre-order their Starbucks coffee and just pick it up, paying of course with their i-Phone. Their screen of choice is the cell phone. They order gourmet food online and have it delivered to their doorstep. They play games online, and they know how to text with both thumbs at 40-50 words per minute…with auto correct of course.
Millennials spend a huge amount of their time online (estimates vary, but my personal observation is about 30-40% of their time is in cyberspace). In many cases, they are more comfortable with the internet than with actual live people. One of their challenges is learning face-to-face communication, because it wasn’t a required skill when they grew up! For anything you wish to sell, figure out how to market it online because that’s where Millennials hang out.
Finally, my last and possibly most important tip in Selling to Millennials: Hire them! Recruit some smart twenty-something marketing whizzes and get them to review your marketing plans. Challenge them to tell you what’s wrong with your approach and how they could improve it. Your best choice is recent college grads with a passion for changing the world…using your product!