There are roughly 85 million millennials in the US, and like any generation, they have observable tendencies that when acknowledged can help you positively connect with them.
This is important to keep in mind as they transition from entry level positions at their companies to positions of greater responsibility. Soon, it will be millennials that have the purchasing power. Companies will need to adapt their overall selling approaches to be compatible with the millennial way of thinking.
There are some key thoughts to bear in mind when considering the millennial consumer.
Online is Their Natural Habitat
Simply stated, millennials don’t remember a time without the internet and technology. With social media and websites, millennials expect access to information in a matter of seconds. So what implications does this have for selling?
Millennials feel comfortable combing over information online and doing research on their own. That means your employees should be less concerned about delivering concrete product information and more focused on guiding the consumer based on their unique scenario. Don’t think of yourself as a salesperson, but more as a consultant helping the consumer make the best purchase based on their needs.
It’s More about Meaning and Less about Offering
Getting a ‘good deal’ is not what motivates Millennials. Rather, they want to know that the companies they are working with sincerely care about their success and not just gaining another client. There needs to be an understanding that your company and your products enable them to continue carrying out their work at the highest level.
So, be a good listener and internalize each individual customer’s unique situation. Provide information that is personalized and relevant to them. Help them confidently make a purchasing decision by answering their questions in a collaborative way. Rather than one-way communication in which you are pitching a product, have a discussion about how you can work together to achieve their goals.
Millennials Want to Make a Difference in the World
Simply put, millennials tend to be very civic minded. For them, it is important to help others not just in their own communities but around the world. Take for example the statistic that an increased number of millennials are now taking jobs in public service. In addition, studies show millennials are averse to organizations they view as greedy.
Consequently, when talking with millennials the conversation can’t be limited to your products and how you can help their bottom line. There has to be an added layer that deepens the conversation and illustrates the social influence of your organization. Be sure to provide genuine information about your company’s story and the positive impact it is having on the lives of others. Initiatives and goals that extend beyond dollar signs and profits strongly resonate with millennials and can provide your company credibility.
Millennials Don’t Care about Your Title
Lastly, for millennials, it is important that no matter your position in a company, you view them as a peer. While most organizations have a certain level of a hierarchy, millennials prefer a flat organizational structure. This isn’t to say millennials don’t respect your accomplishments, achievements, and experience. They do and it’s for this reason they will be eager to work with you!
They want transparent information and constant feedback within an organization so that everyone can continue to collaborate, innovate, and ultimately improve the way things are done. When they feel excluded from important processes and decisions, they become discouraged. When you are speaking with a millennial– even one that is from a different organization– think of them as a team member and peer with whom you are collaborating to reach a common goal.
Millennials carefully consider the companies and people with which they will work, but once they do they practice strong brand loyalty. By putting in the effort on the front end to positively connect with millennials, you can gain lifetime consumers and valued partners.
Don’t Forget the Importance of Social Media
Online adults aged 18-34 are most likely follow a brand via social networking (95%)
(Source: MarketingSherpa) As mentioned earlier, they are the next generation of decision makers, think about who your demographic is and figure out which account they would most likely follow to gain the most exposure, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Instagram or all of them!
In 2015 YouTube posted the figure of 40 billion all-time views for branded content
(Source: ReelSEO) This means that video marketing has become an essential part of a company’s marketing program. A quick, to the point video, truly makes a stronger impact on your brand messaging than simple text posts.
Products were the top content types for the top 200 global brands in terms of engagement, at 60% in 2015 beating lifestyle category by over 20%
(Source: Hootsuite) Instagram users are aware that they are following product pages and acknowledge that they are going to be marketed to in some type of way. This means they aren’t trying to opt-out of ads like clicking “Skip Ad” or clicking out of a pop-up ad, they are going directly to your page and brand, so make sure your Instagram page is prepped and ready to be followed! This also allows your company to post who they are through well thought out photos and gain exposure by what they produce, but in a more creative way than a simple text post. The addition of hashtags will also make your account pop up in more keyword searches, the more unique and creative the hashtag the more searches you will get for your brand!
Link clicks account for 92% of all user interaction with tweets
(Source: HubSpot) Since Twitter’s slogan is “It’s what’s happening” their user’s post and interact with tweets of 140 characters or less. This means your post has to be direct and to the point, the best way to do this is a link that can go into further detail. Use a catchy headline and a few hashtags to draw attention to your post to drive traffic to your link.
Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content
(Source: HubSpot) One of the first steps Millennials do before purchasing any product is they look online for reviews and the company’s social media pages. These can either make or break a company if they either aren’t up to date or have poor reviews. “Word of mouth” via social media can make a stronger impact than a basic TV advertisement. It’s also a new way to get in contact with potential customers you wouldn’t have had a chance of reaching before!