Born between 1980 and 2000, millennials are quickly surpassing baby boomers in terms of purchasing power. By 2018, they will spend greater than $3.4 trillion annually. Each day, over 10,000 people turn 21. However, millennials possess a very different purchasing mindset versus previous generations. If you want to sell to them, you must understand them – and likely change how you sell. Let’s look at some typical stereotypes surrounding this generation.
Millennials have the undeserved reputation of being lazy. Critics say they’re waiting for the world to come to them instead of going after their dreams, but statistics show otherwise. A University of Wisconsin study found that 85 percent of millennials are either working or in school.
They Are Addicted to Technology
Millennials and their technology have a strong relationship. But they’re not the only ones. How many baby boomers do you know that don’t have a cell phone nearby? What’s the largest growing demographic on Facebook? Baby boomers. Millennials are not the only ones attached to technology - it’s everyone.
They Over-Value Happiness
Millennials have the reputation of seeking happiness over paying the bills. There’s no doubt that the modern world is looking for balance between work and play. They’ve grown up in the fitness and healthy eating world where nearly half of marriages end in divorce. But it’s not fair to characterize baby boomers as uncaring and addicted to work at the expense of their family either. Each generation has a strong representation of all types.
Tap Into Millennial Purchasing Power
Now that we have eliminated some useless stereotypes, let’s investigate how today’s powersports dealerships can capture Millennial customers – for life.
Focus on Data - Millennials have the highest education rate of any generation to date. They’re smart and focused on research, taking nothing at face value. For a powersports dealer, this means you better have the facts to substantiate the claim that your dealership provides better value than the competition. Everything you say will be verified in seconds with a simple Google search. Being authentic means being absolutely truthful. If your facts are wrong, expect a social media barrage that won’t be good for business.
Focus on Technology - Millennials are the Internet generation. They were raised with technology and do not function without it. They will do their research online long before they ever set foot on your dealership floor. And when they do enter your showroom, your team needs to be as well-informed as they are, or they will go somewhere else (or simply purchase online!). In the mind of the Millennial, the lack of a social media presence makes your business irrelevant. Have a social media presence. Update it a couple of times each week. If you’re not a big fan of social media, ask one of your employees to take on the task.
Focus on Connections - Millennials are connected to a wide range of people – and it is their lifeblood. Their “village” is strong and holds sway when forming opinions. Peer review sites, community chatboards, Facebook friends and LinkedIn colleagues are consulted before purchases are made. As a powersports dealer, it is important to have a presence on these sites – and a stellar reputation. Your customer is online researching their purchase before you ever meet face-to-face. Meet them online, provide useful information, and answer questions quickly. If you become their valued source of information, they are more likely to purchase from you. Also, become part of their “village” by supporting the causes and activities they care about.
Focus on Value - Millennials are fiscally conservative. They entered the workforce in an incredibly weak economy and likely are still paying off a mountain of student debt. They are somewhat fearful of their career future and manage their money carefully. It is imperative that your sales team – and F&I department – have pricing details down to the penny. And be able to show value for each item.
Focus on Results - Finally, millennials are committed to efficiency – and results. Just as they demand instant gratification from their technology, they expect the same from their purchasing engagements. They don’t have time for small talk or lost paperwork. If you run a tight ship, your dealership will score points with this group. Millennials, as a whole, aren’t interested in your sales pitch. They don’t want you to ask how they’re doing unless you really want to hear the answer. Want to send them out the door faster than you can say, “iPhone?” Be that pushy salesperson. You’ll likely never see them again. Keep your pitch under a couple of minutes. Millennials live in a world with only a couple of speeds and they’re all variants of “fast.” They don’t want a long-winded value proposition or a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation.
The Millennial generation is changing the world – whether we like it or not. A savvy powersports dealership will embrace this change – and develop a customer for life.
Glenice Wilder is the vice president of Powersports for EFG Companies. A 33-year industry veteran, Glenice is responsible for growing and developing EFG’s action and powersports market channel. She combines her passion for motorcycles and her dedication to serving EFG’s customers to develop solutions that consistently exceed their expectations. Glenice acts as a strategic partner to assess her clients’ areas for improvement and how EFG can fill that role. She provides insight in how to increase productivity by pairing the right products within the right markets for the greatest return on investment.