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What does the growing influx of Gen Y into management roles mean for the sales professional today?

Natural Showcase: Generation Y are ready for you, but are you ready for them?

According to Matt Drought’s 2013 sales predictions at our Natural Showcase Seminar earlier this month, Generation Y businesspeople have been primed to enter the boardroom, and they mean business. We have a look at what makes them tick and how to sell to a notoriously discerning and well-informed audience.

Of all the statements to make you feel old in the business world, I’ve a feeling that this one might sting: Generation Y are filling management positions. And no, they’re not young upstarts with more responsibility than sense. They’re tech-savvy entrepreneurs who at the swipe of their smartphone could potentially know more about your product than you do.

Generation Y in profile

So just who are they? Generation Y tends to refer to those born around the early 1980s and later, and they commonly display the following characteristics:

  • Transient – Entertainment in short bites (think two minute videos) and on demand means attention spans have shortened. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll look elsewhere.
  • Fickle – It might sound bad, but the fact is that loyalty just won’t mean as much. If a better deal crops up, they won’t be resting on your laurels. This is due to the emergence of very transparent comparison sites and price driven super-sites like Amazon.
  • Technophile – Gen Y grew up with computers. More specifically, they grew up on computers. Social media has long been the norm, and is a fundamental part of how they communicate. Blogs, video and website innovation are very important.

 

Insider knowledge

As businesses have made the migration online, so have their customers. An organisation’s online presence increases its transparency and has made much of the information customers need instantly available.

Think about how you’d shop for a new phone. You could go straight into the shop and be walked through the abundance of phones in-store, but there’s a good chance you, like many others, would shop around online first. Not only can you research your perfect model but you can also find out who can provide it at the best price.

From this process, you have intimate knowledge of the product, and a good idea of who you want to sell it to you. So why wouldn’t your customers do the same?

How to pitch to Generation Y clients

Firstly, keep it brief. As informed as they are, a lot of what you’d normally tell them will be superfluous. Let them know why they should choose you, and what your company is about. As Matt Drought explained at the seminar:

“Your typical pitch is an hour long; normally you might pitch for 50 minutes and have questions for ten minutes. When you’re pitching to Gen Y, I suggest the other way round. Pitch for ten minutes and conduct the questions for 5o minutes – telling isn’t selling, asking questions and interacting is selling.”

Sales, especially those made on the phone, are not long discussions for Generation Y. Communication, as on social media, can be boiled down to the necessary information, and you don’t have a lot of time in which to do your persuading. Let them know why they should choose you, or they’ll choose someone else!

Finally, research your product. There can be nothing worse for a sales professional than a customer knowing more than you.

The more you know, the more you can tell them. Never rely on your customers not understanding or having an intimate knowledge of your products, and the alternatives that are available. There may be a very specific feature of your product that will sway them your way, so do your research and be the authority.

If you missed the Natural Showcase in November 2012, but want to find out more about 2013’s marketplace, pick up the new Natural Training book where this is explored further. Click here to read the first two chapters of The Natural Sales Evolution for free.

Alternatively, speak to the Natural Training team about our selling strategies and sales training programmes. Call 0207 043 1582 or email hello@naturaltraining.com.

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