This new generation, known as Millennials, gets a lot of shit from both Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. If you haven’t noticed check out this blog. However, in my view, they have the right ingredients to be the best sales generation of all time. Selling has changed. For instance, there are now apps, like Spiro, to help you close more deals and make more money. Now the question is, will the pin-striped suit-wearing, Montblanc wielding sales rep from the older generations dominate the almond-latte drinking more casual newcomer?
Probably not – here’s why:
The Millennials Are Hungrier
Millennials entered the job market under tough conditions; following 9/11 and also during the recession. As a result, they are aggressive and ready to fight for their positions. They will walk into a company and assume their position with confidence, which can make some people who are comfortable in their positions a bit squeamish. You also can’t forget the oldest of the millennials (who turned 18 in 2000), who are now settling down and having families, buying houses, etc. How do you think that phase of life impacts their drive to make more money? They are motivated and hungry.
They’re More Tech Savvy
Secondly, they grew up with technology, which means they’re going to adopt new sales software faster and get a leg up on their older counterparts. Add a Chrome plug-in from Yesware? No problem. Try an iPhone app to keep them on top of their deals? Sure, why not!
Having the experience with tech, allows them to venture out on social media and connect with clients in ways Gen X’ers just aren’t as comfortable with. This is a trend that is occurring across all industries, from sales to the younger doctors, and causing foundational changes in how the industries operate. This is all moving in the direction of better accommodating tech savvy millennials.
Better Attuned to Today’s Buyers
Third, as more Millennials enter the work force, more are also becoming buyers. This means that Millennials will be selling to their own peers, allowing them to be more attuned with their needs. Millennials are the largest generation to come around so… the Gen X salespeople will be targeting them as buyers as well. Who knows better? My bet’s on the Millennials.
Millennial Sales Challenges
Even though millennials do have a leg up in the areas mentioned above, they also have their challenges. The technological expertise of their generation, has shown to come at the cost of face to face or telephone interactions. They must remember that deals are made with people and it is important to make a real connection with clients in person. There is a time to put down the smartphone and have an in-person conversation.
Another challenge comes when considering the fact that millennials are younger and newer to the market. They do not have the extensive networks that Generation X’ers have built, which may set them back when it comes to referrals and loyal repeat customers. However, this is something that will come with time and diligence.
Lastly, it is important that millennials realize that they have room to grow and work on sharpening their sales skills. There are some basics that all sales reps need to practice which begin with slowing down and really listening, knowing how to build rapport with customers and asking open ended questions to get them talking. Millennials may assume that their communication and skills are in the bag so to speak, but that’s not always the case.
In consideration of the qualities of millennials and their challenges, the future looks bright for this up-and-coming generation of salespeople. Not only will they be better than older generations, but there are more of them. This means that as they compete for the top sales jobs out there, the best of the best will emerge. Look out Gen X’ers, the Millennials are coming in and doing so boldly.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2015.