Are we getting older or are print buyers getting younger? It can’t just be us, can it? Roughly 15 years ago, I remember when a PIA of Georgia staffer told me the buyer at Coke had been replaced by a 23-year-old girl. (Sorry. Woman! Big diff!)
Yesterday, I was talking to a print sales rep who told me a client’s response to his sales pitch was, “Word!” Not surprisingly, he had no idea what that meant (if you don’t either, use the Urban Dictionary and find out). Poor guy. He didn’t know whether to open up a new order or Microsoft Office.
Things are really getting annoying when we don’t understand what others using our native language are saying to us. It’s hard enough to get them on the phone. Now we have to have a translator as well?
True story: While playing golf in Florida in 2007, one of the 20-somethings I had been paired with asked me if I burn. Naturally, I told him I had on SPF 45 and felt well protected. Fifteen minutes later when he and his peeps stopped laughing, they told me what they meant and whipped out a doobie to give me a physical point of reference. THAT, I understood.
In 2001, I officially became “Sir.” That’s fine. Last October I hit 50 and while my ego took a hit, nothing important fell off so I took it in stride. I just have a hard time selling to someone who, like, um, like, you know, like thinks PMS is something you ride out and not match up to.
This is a problem that is not going away. Companies, in their infinite struggle to save money, are hiring college graduates and sticking them in positions where not only do they have to come into contact with the public, but vendors as well.
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.