Selling across demographic lines has its challenges. Selling to younger prospects can be difficult because this segment of society grew up during a different time and have a far different view of the world than those that came before them. The differences make this sales environment more challenging. Let's discuss the two main reasons it is far more challenging to sell to younger generations.
The Age of Technology
First, because of technology, the world is a different place than it was 30 years ago. With the increasing ease of access to information, prospects don’t have to go to the library, find a book on the topic and read for hours. They simply search the topic online and a wide range of information, as well as opinions, floods their device. In this instant gratification society, concepts are still good, but if your concept has any tax code or specific product details, the average young prospect will most likely research and find information about the actual topic, even though it was illustrated in concept form. A concept illustration or presentation focus cannot be product related and by that, I mean specifically product related. Why? If you come right out and identify a specific product in the marketing or initial sales process, you have now educated a prospect that can go anywhere and see anyone in the industry and get that product. Your leverage or competitive advantage just went out the window. You have now educated a prospect for your competition. You have now engaged in unpaid consulting.
Relationships and Communication
The second main reason is the relationship and communication gap. The younger generation has been desensitized to actual human interaction and personal relationships. If you think it isn’t so, next time you go to a restaurant, look around and see how many people are talking compared to how many have their head buried in a smart phone texting. The younger generation would rather text than call. They would prefer to interact digitally as opposed to personally. These two main reasons change how younger generations buy.
The Amazon Effect
An example of the difference of how younger buyers make purchases is what I call the “Amazon Effect”. You can go on Amazon.com and buy whatever you need, instead of physically going to a brick and mortar location and buying the item through traditional means. This ability has changed the entire buying process for younger generations. There are now more calculators, spreadsheets, and videos on the internet than ever before. This “Amazon Effect” makes the younger generation feel that they can “DIY” (do it yourself) anything, including their financial affairs.
Now don’t get me wrong, they still understand that they don’t have all the answers, but that also makes them willing to seek advice from a financial advisor and then try to implement it on their own. Over educating without a commitment from the prospect to say yes or no at the end of the sales process is a risky move and most often leads to unpaid consulting. The younger generations are far more savvy today and even more so with the addition of technology. The art of asking questions, maintaining control of the sales environment, and storytelling are still vital to any sales technique. A proven, systematic sales process is just as important today as ever before. You must identify the younger prospect's problems or issues, and help them find an emotionally compelling and seemingly logical solution.