Tag Archives: Millennials

Selling in the NOW!

selling-in-the-nowWhere do you turn when sales aren’t where they should be? Conventional wisdom tells us to hit the sales-training road in an attempt to utilize those time-proven selling techniques. Back to the basics – you know, those sales tools that have been used with great success for years and have stood the test of time. Not so quick. They’re often repackaged, but not much has really been altered during the past twenty years. But something has changed … your customer. Many of the selling tools and techniques we still use today were created back when all customers had the same motivations, values and perceptions. At that time, creating a set of universal selling concepts that would appeal to everyone was a pretty good idea. Ultimately, a “one size fits all” sales manual was utilized to teach and appeal to the majority of the prospects out there, namely Baby Boomers. The only problem now is that Baby Boomers have begun to retire, and the incoming Generation Y and Xers don’t dance to the same drummer as the generation before them. And the Millennials who follow the Gen Y & Xers are bringing even more diverse motivations, values and perceptions to the playing field. So why are we selling in the past? It’s almost like we are skating where the puck used to be, and then surprised when we get there only to find that the game has moved to another place. If the mission is to win the game of today, then you must use the tools that customers respond to NOW. “Selling in the NOW” means recognizing that if you want to make a sale to today’s buyers, you have to be aware of how and why they buy in today’s world.

Customers are definitely different from years ago. A lot of selling concepts fit for the people who made their jobs their priority. The company’s pain was their pain. Little else mattered. Years ago when a layoff took place, the company stock went down. It was a sign of trouble. In contrast, a layoff today signals lower costs and higher profits, resulting in stock prices being driven up. I’m not saying that customers aren’t loyal and devoted to their companies as much any more, however different priorities are now in the forefront of all prospective customers’ minds.

Here’s an example. You may have a product that relieves your prospect’s company pain and would solve a major problem. However, if your solution requires that the buyer stays after work two extra hours a day for three months, watch out. It might conflict with what he perceives as his gain, which is getting home for dinner each night.

Go ahead and uncover the pain. But you also have to find the gain or you won’t make the sale. Solving pain is a defense play. No one likes pain, but in today’s world, it’s no longer the only motivator to buy something. Gain is an offense play and a motivator that brings pleasure.

Think of it this way. You won’t find people scalping appointments at the dentist’s office, but you will find people eagerly paying many times over face value for tickets to a popular concert.

If the way you present your products benefit appeals to their pain, they might have a reason to buy. If it appeals to what’s important to them, their gain, that’s motivation to buy, and you will make that sale.

“Selling in the NOW” is recognizing different generational groups. Learning to understand, test, and then validate any perceptions prospects hold that will help you relate to them, uncover their “gain” and build trust – and ultimately assist them in buying.

Author: Rich Lucia

Millennials Just Might have the Key to Unlock Cold Calling Doors

millennial image photoshoppedIt almost can be called a perfect storm. Just as the world of existing buyers has rejected being interrupted by sales cold callers, a generation has come along that not only has no appetite for such an ancient practice but offers a valuable alternative.

Since the beginning of selling, sales representative making cold calls has been the way of life. If sales were down, you made more calls. Sales management could rely on a simple formula ‘cold calls equal sales’ and that’s that. Buyers were open to the daily interruptions because, prior to online access, receiving a cold call was a major source of information. Thanks to the internet, buyers are more informed today and have little time for a stranger’s intrusion, asking, “Tell me about yourself and what do you do here”. There remains, however, the sales management element that still subscribes to the notion that even though it’s not working, just do more of it.

It is a bit ironic that we now have a Millennial or Millennial-influenced workforce that possesses the DNA that is averse to wasting time with random, unfocused actions. Their reliance on technology has given them the title of Technophiles and has set them on a course of value and efficiency that not present with cold calling. They recognize the practice of calling someone without both information and purpose makes about as much sense as removing your hand from a bucket of water and looking for the hole it left behind.

Millennials know that trying to fill a sales funnel with anyone that will listen is a waste of time and resources. They reject the inefficiency of selling to unqualified prospects and embrace more of a cylinder approach over the traditional funnel. These technophiles are using digital resources such as social media and business intelligence to work with only those who are predisposed to buy their product or service. By focusing on their target market, armed with information about the buyer and their company, they fill a cylinder with qualified buyers and see a greater and faster return on their efforts. How many touches now have been replaced with meaningful interactions? Technology exists today that will help you identify your target market’s buying influences and even create a personality profile of your buyer before making contact. Millennials are more inclined to use this technology in place of calling cold.

Today’s selling challenge is getting to interact meaningfully with a qualified buyer. Buyers have changed and we should be thankful the next generation of sales is also changing. Before we demand more of what doesn’t work any longer, let’s embrace a Selling in the Now attitude, and take advantage of the Millennial sales evolution.

Author: Rich Lucia

Tried …. But Not True Anymore

millennial-seminarHow often have we heard the phrase, “Tried and True”? This phrase is a throwback from the past designed to build our confidence around, “It has always worked, so keep doing it”.

Today, nothing can be further from the truth. I watch sales organizations, desperate to increase revenue, turn to the dated wisdom from the past to teach, train and manage today’s sales force. Those business development techniques might have worked in the past, but they just don’t work anymore.

The reason why a trip down memory lane is so ineffective today and will never get you to your destination of effective selling is right in front of us.

Buyers have changed and so have your sales personal. We are now living in a world where Millennials are the largest single group in our work force. By the year 2020, Millennials will represent nearly half of all workers.

Millennials seek, receive and process information differently than their parents or grandparents do. They are much more collaborative in their decision process and are apt to continue interactions well after the normal work day. Millennials are eager to pick their projects and professions based on their passion rather than financial motivation alone. This fuels the engine of innovation and a strong desire to make a difference in their dedicated beliefs.

This explains why, when we take a page out from the old sales playbook of cold calling, stock presentations, self-interest pitches, and information dumping, it is met by the Millennial buyer as a deletable event. Also, how about your Millennial sales rep? They will just not accept using the techniques of yesteryear to sell to an audience of their peers.

Here lies the dilemma. Why continue to teach and train a salesforce, that will reject an outdated message, with the hope that they might be force-managed to use it on a Millennial buyer that will reject it. Yet, we still do this on a regular basis by jumping at that next CRM ear-pulling program to try and muscle both buyer and sellers into the past.

At this point you might be asking, “What are the more successful business development organizations doing to change with the times? First, they are gaining a true understanding of Millennials. The very capable group of Millennials, not only hold the keys to business development success, but are having a huge impact on influencing Gen Y, X and Baby Boomers. Sales organizations that have broken the code have reexamined their sales strategies and selling techniques to ensure they are congruent with the buyers and sellers of today. They label it “Selling in the Now”. At great expense, many sales organizations have come to the realization that although they have, “Tried” the old way, it just isn’t “True” anymore.  Learn how to help your organization make the shift.

Author: Rich Lucia