Selling to millennials can be complicated – especially if you are not one yourself.  Although they make up the largest ever generation (by 2020, millennials will form 46% of the work force!), they are also the ones who have grown up with the most technology, resources, and arguably, privilege.  Millennials simply have different priorities and preferences from the preceding Gen X and Baby Boomers. These differences must be understood and leveraged if you have any desire to reach this rapidly growing group.  Luckily, we at Glia have decided to provide you with a little cheat sheet.  Keep these 5 things in mind when selling to millennials, and you’ll hit ‘Millennial Sales-Jedi’ level in no time.

Be Quick!

Growing up with T.V. at the push of a button and high-speed internet, Millennials have low – really low – attention spans.  They work faster to compensate, but sometimes the detail-oriented people around them aren’t always appropriately aligned.  If you want to sell to this group, though, you had better figure out how to shorten your sales pitch and speed up the actual sales process.  Flowery language and a detailed spiel about every product feature is going to result in a, “Sorry, I’m in a hurry right now!” statement.

Go Casual

If you walk into a cliched tech startup’s office today, you’ll see millennials lounging in jeans and a t-shirt on a beanbag with their Macbooks on their laps and some guy playing video games a few feet away.  Millennials often have little patience for the cultural nuances of the 20th century.  They are more interested in substance than appearance and are far less likely to judge someone based on the latter than their older counterparts.  If you are meeting with them through video chat or even in person, lose the tie.  The younger and ‘hipper’ you seem, the more likely the millennial customer will be to connect with your product.

Get Tech-Savvy

Do you have a great strategy that avoids drop-off rates by providing a number on your website for customers to call right away?  Yeah, don’t expect to be getting any calls from millennials.  Talking to someone in person requires spending time on pleasantries and small talk – millennials generally see these as a complete waste of time that can be avoided by engaging online.  That’s why they prefer to send emails, use ‘contact-us’ pages, and fill out quick, automated sign-up forms.  In fact, according to a 2013 study by CompTIA, 67% of millennials make personality judgements based on a person’s technical knowledge.

Err on the Side of Transparency

Social media is a force for globalization, communication, marketing – and destruction.  Yes, you should be deathly afraid of the Twitter-verse.  A bad review gone viral or a low Yelp rating can have permanent negative repercussions on your business.  The solution?  Be transparent and authentic.  If you have a solid product and business plan, you will find the right audience for your company.  Stretching facts or making premature observations can be caught more easily than ever and broadcast (gleefully) on social media.  Protect yourself, your reputation, and your sale by being transparent, authentic, and trustworthy during a pitch.

Show Respect

Millennials have been hit pretty hard by the media in the past, developing a practically collective inferiority complex by repeatedly being called entitled and spoiled.  Naturally, millennials themselves don’t generally find this to be true and appreciate being treated with respect.  Avoid being condescending or soap-boxy like the plague!  If it is necessary to talk about their age, point to the generation’s strengths instead, like their quick adaptation to technology and attraction to innovation.  Flattery will get you everywhere.

Looking around the internet, Millennials come up in articles and papers almost like aliens.  Today’s industry leaders are baffled about how to handle them as customers.  That’s expected, but avoidable.  It all comes down to how well you understand what motivates a millennial and how to fit in with the cultural nuances of the 21st century – fast, casual, tech-savvy, transparent, and respectful.

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