Expert Tips on Selling in a Millennial Age

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Alicia Rainwater on Millennials

If a Millennial customer in your store starts looking at his phone, he may not be showrooming.  He or she may simply be losing interest.   One way to counter that is to pull out an iPad and offer to show the customer more about the products.  Millennials are used to looking at products online and may feel more focused doing so, even if the real product is right in front of you!

This was one of the tips offered at the keynote address at the MESA Summit of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America buying/marketing group in Denver this week.

Guest speaker and expert on Millennials and Gen Z, Alicia Rainwater, said Millennials are all about visual learning.  Instagram is their showcase.  So, sure, put pictures of your installs on Instagram. For job searches, the younger generations look to Linkedin, but make sure your profile on Linkedin is “warm and welcoming,” suggested Rainwater.  Use a “photo or something about your company that tells a human story. If you’re a family-owned business say so.”

Millennials, by the way are about 24 to 42 years old (born 1977 to 1995).  Gen Z is about 23 and younger (born in 1996 or after).

If you are going to post a video on YouTube such as “3 Things You Should Know About Remote Start,” make sure there’s a friendly, welcoming face at the beginning of the video.  “That 5 minute homemade video done an iPhone will drive more leads than anything else. YouTube is where this visual generation goes to; even more so for Gen Z.  It’s even true for job search,” said Rainwater, a principal at the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK). She applied the company’s research to 12 volt retailing at the MESA Summit keynote.


You should know that entering your store is an incredibly intimidating experience for a young person who is about to spend a ton of money and is not sure which products to buy.  “You need to think about their mindset. Their number one fear is they will purchase the wrong thing or overpay.  Your job is to decrease the stress.”  So a friendly handshake as a greeting is more important than you think, and its’ not going too far to actually train your employees how to shake hands.

Customers are afraid to ask questions because they don’t want to look dumb, so you  can even suggest questions. You might say, “These are the top 3 questions about this type of product, are any of these on your mind?”  Once they ask one question, they’ll feel free to ask more.

The number one advertising tag line used by corporations targeting younger buyers is “As unique as you are.”  Millenials want to be unique individuals. So, use words in your sales pitches and advertising such as “special” and “unique.”

Recruiting and Keeping Millennial Employees

The first sentence of your job application determines whether Millennials and Gen Z will read the rest of it because they are reading on their phones.  “We recommend making that job application 10 minutes or less  so they can apply on their phone.  If it’s longer, then break it apart so there’s an initial communication that lets you get their name and email and then you can follow up and tell them more about your company,” Rainwater said.  The majority of all job applications are abandoned because the applicant didn’t have time to complete it, she said.

Younger job hunters are turning to YouTube for their search.  Gen Z wants to see videos of what it’s actually like to work for you.  Post simple homemade videos of your employees doing a quick bio of why they work for you and like it. “This is the highest conversion technique we’ve seen for recruiting Gen Z candidates,” said Rainwater.

Millennials believe if the boss isn’t talking to you something is wrong.  They want to hear from you in quick and frequent intervals.  Rainwater recommends a quick talk every two weeks. If you wait a year for a review it will be their exit review, she said.

For retail employees, Rainwater pointed to a study showing that more frequent pay is critical–not necessarily more pay.   Some companies are giving the employee half of what they earn for the day on that same day for immediate gratification. (We presume they get the rest at a regular 1- or 2-week pay interval).  Want to retain your staff? Pay them more frequently.

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  1. I caught that too! 1982 for sure absolutely not 1977 … and by the way, why are we tailoring our applications to an employee who can’t be bothered to complete it beyond the first line/10 minutes??? If switching back to Instagram was too alluring then we don’t want that kind of employee anyway. When they get hungry enough they will start acting right.

    1. Agree with your point on the application. My first thoughts reading that section where wondering why I’d want an employee that couldn’t bother putting forth extremely minimal effort to join my business. Of course I wouldn’t recommend a 300 page 2 hour slog of a questionnaire as an application, but I don’t think any business has something that absurd.

  2. Call a single 42 year old a millenial. I dare you. LOL Someone would grew up and graduated college before cell phones and the internet were prevalent. Makes total sense.

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