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Generational differences: 8 tips for millennials to consider in their sales approaches.


Small business owners (those with fewer than 500 employees) make up 99% of all businesses in the U.S. Less than 20% of those owners are under the age of 35. Here are some insights for millennial producers on how to sell to those prospects and clients of other generations.


Formal business attire likely isn't necessary unless you're calling on a very conservative company, but keep in mind it's generally better to be overdressed than under-dressed. With every new prospect, think of selling like interviewing for a new job. Your clothing, your entire look should project an image of professionalism--save the beard stubble for the weekend. You have only one opportunity to make a first impression, and experts say initial decisions made about you in the first three minutes are nearly irreversible. Non-millennials tend to have more conservative attitudes about dressing professionally.


Many business owners grew up in an era when manners were taught in elementary school. "No problem" is not a satisfactory substitute for "You're welcome," and "Have a good one," doesn't take the place of "Thank you." If your prospect is appreciably older than you, it never hurts to ask if it's OK to address her by her first name. Be on time for appointments. Call if you're held up and running late. Good manners are an important part of first impressions, and your good manners will be noticed.


Non-millennials may take more time to make a buying decision. As people grow older, they want more information than they did when they were younger, and they are willing to spend more time in making decisions. Make these prospects feel rushed or pressured, and you'll lose the sale. Allow plenty of lead time, especially on accounts that renew during holidays. Consider working on commercial prospects further out than the typical 60 to 90 days.


New producers, and many experienced producers, tend to assume most prospects make buying decisions based on price. A benefits-driven presentation rather than a quote is a must for these prospects.


Non-millennials may be more brand loyal. This can include the "brand" of their insurance agent or carrier. It's difficult to penetrate a long-term relationship a prospect has with the incumbent agent. Currently, more than 90% of commercial accounts renew with the incumbent agent. This is not surprising because research suggests non-millennials may be more "faithful" customers. These prospects may be a tougher sale, but win them over, and they're more likely to stay with you.


Relationships are important in sales. Relationships are even more important to non-millennials, but aren't built with e-mails and phone calls. Get face to face with non-millennial prospects. Look for networking opportunities in associations and organizations. People do business with people they like.


Many people, old and young, are annoyed by those who insist on talking on their cell phones when they should be giving their full attention to the situation at hand. Put your phone away, and turn off the sound while you're meeting with a client. HI

Referrals Are Your Lifeblood

Possibly the most effective method of establishing a relationship with any prospect, old or young, is through a referral. Savvy new producers are using social media, such as LinkedIn, to identify connections they have in common with prospects in order to leverage those relationships. And they never miss an opportunity to ask for referrals from clients and centers of influence.

Kenneth L. Fields

(LinkedIn) kennethfields

Kenneth L. Fields is an assistant vice president of sales development with The State Auto Insurance Cos.

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Title Annotation:STRICTLY SALES
Author:Fields, Kenneth L.
Publication:Property Casualty 360-National Underwriter
Date:Sep 1, 2016
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