Selling to the Millennial: How to Gain Trust and Persuade
1. Millennials respond to demonstrations of obvious authenticity, like transparent pricing comparisons or talking about the ways your competitors are indeed a better choice for their needs.
2. Millennials respond to unique stories and causes that give their purchases a deeper meaning.
3. Millennials respond to aspects of personalization. Your product or service should be able to be customized to them or feel like it’s personalized to them as much as possible.
Exuding authenticity will help you connect with millennials who are skeptical of anything that appears synthetic.
According to a Forbes article, “Authentic is defined as being true to one’s personality, spirit or character.” So if your average employee age is older, you don’t have to pretend to be young, hip and trendy. Instead, play off the classic and trustworthy angle. Be true to the spirit of your company and your current realities.
Particularly if you are selling B2B and you’re talking to millennial decision makers, you are likely talking to relatively savvy individuals who were able to put themselves in positions of power at a young age. Respect their intelligence and ambition, and cater to the more technical aspects of your solution. Most importantly, ask questions to your ideal prospects throughout the process. Listen deeply, then offer specifics on how your solution solves their problem.
Have A Unique And Compelling Story
An in-depth guide I put together on branding for millennials speaks to how millennials are hyper-connected, overstimulated and may be more attracted to simple branding. Rather than clinging to flashy ads, they may be persuaded more by a single story of a real customer who used your solution to great effect.
To help your brand build a story around a product or service, answer the following questions about your target market.
1. What are the specifics of their situation as it pertains to the solution you offer?
2. How did they use the solution to move beyond their challenges?
3. How will the solution benefit the good of the whole, rather than just the individual who applies it?
An AdAge article recently dropped the bombshell on brand marketers. It shows that just over half (51%) of millennials have no real preference between private-label and national brands, according to the study by Cadent Consulting Group. To be successful when reaching millennials, brands will need to adjust their marketing efforts.
In your sales process, telling a story can mean curating a specific example of a customer or client — ideally in their industry if you’re in B2B sales — who’s tried your solution and is having great results. Start with the problem they had, what kind of effect it was having on their life or business and building that up in their mind, then offer the product or service as the hero of the story.
Using A Cause To Sell To Millennials
How can you support a cause that makes sense from a business standpoint? It’s not enough to haphazardly attach a “5% of all profits go to some unrelated organization” to your marketing assets.
A better choice is to consider making that donation with your organization’s time, choosing a matter that you’re both passionate about and makes sense in conjunction with the solution your company provides. For example, a luxury home builder could assist in building one Habitat for Humanity home each year, or a software company could build an application for the community, pro bono, that improves access to local recreational trails.
By relating philanthropy efforts back to the central solution you offer, it will become more natural and less forced during outreach, allowing you to work the value proposition into the conversation in a way that doesn’t feel inauthentic.
Using Personalization To Sell To Millennials
Your millennial prospects want to feel like what they are getting is a great fit for them. That means you should emphasize the aspects of your business that aren’t pre-packaged.
Personalization is expensive, but many companies find creative ways to bring personalization into their selling process without going broke. For example, Coke’s recent marketing gimmick of putting names on Coke bottles: An insane amount of work went into the Share-a-Coke, but with 235,000 tweets from 111,000 fans using the #ShareaCoke hashtag and 150 million personalized bottles sold, it gained a 2% increase in soft-drink sales, increasing Coke consumption from 1.7 to 1.9 billion servings per day. That’s 200 million more servings — from personalization.
Now, with your product or service, you may need to use a different application, but the principle is consistent, regardless of the situation. Make the product or solution’s marketing specific to them, and emphasize this personalization in the sales process.
For example, many B2B software solutions are continually adding features and building out functions to serve their top clients and even creating a branded or white label login page or dashboard that puts the software in a new light for bigger clients. If you’re a salesperson, you can emphasize that you’re able to brand or retrofit the solution for a client’s specific needs and that your company is constantly innovating. This can be the extra push needed to persuade them to work with you.
Take a good, hard look at your customer base. How can you expand it with these principles or build some of these tactics into your selling process, even if millennials aren’t square in the middle of your prime demographic just yet? Selling to millennials is becoming more and more important with each passing year. I wish you luck on creating a sales framework and process that includes the things they care about.
Author: Tim Brown