Selling to Millennials
The most interesting comment that I've heard in a LONG, LONG time...
...came out of the mouth of a participant on my "Selling to Millennials" panel at GRAPH EXPO a few weeks ago. There were three 25- to 35-year-old print purchasers and influencers talking to a room of about 20 people plus me. We asked a series of questions regarding their buying habits and attitude towards print and preferred communication methods, etc.
First of all, why weren’t you there? It was awesome! Okay, on to the point...
I made this oft-repeated factoid to the panel and asked for their comments:
"According to Purchasing Magazine, the top three reasons why a particular sales rep is chosen are:
- Raw sales ability—How good of a salesperson are they?
- The sales rep’s knowledge of his or her own products and industry.
- The sales reps knowledge of the customer’s products and industry."
After a brief moment, one of the panelists blew me away with this:
"You know, Bill, I think those three should be flipped and reversed. I think that because I am much more aware of the new vendors I speak to (due to internet research), I don’t need a great sales rep. I need the rep to be knowledgeable about me first, then I need him to know his own industry, and then after that, if he has some sales chops, great."
I was rattled. I was SHOCKED.
For years, I’ve talked about the importance of being a good, talented, and professional rep first and foremost and now here was Today’s Buyer completely blowing a hole in that argument. No. She didn’t blow a hole in it, she lit the argument on fire!
- Know me. Know my company. Know my industry. Know my challenges.
- Know you. Know your stuff. Know your capabilities. Know your differences.
- Have some good sales habits.
Well, I put the panel together so that we could learn the new rules and this old dog got an unexpected lesson on the importance of customer knowledge in today’s world of selling.
I am still processing this point, to be honest. It’s in the slow cooker and will stay there until I can think it through a bit more.
Anyone have a reaction?
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