When selling to millennials, discover how to transport conversations from phone to email while building loyalty — not losing it.
On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call with his newly patented telephone. On March 11 of that same year, John H. Patterson, of National Cash Register made the first sales cold call.
Just kidding. We don’t know when cold calls originated, but what we do know, is that if you’re still shaping your sales strategy based on decades-old tips, it’s past time to learn some new sales skills — like selling to millennials.
Millennials aren’t just a group of kids anymore. You might picture them playing Minecraft and living in their parent’s basements if you believe all the news headlines, but even the youngest millennials were born in 1996 and are now in their early 20’s. The most ambitious ones are well into their careers and are making buying decisions for their companies. Older millennials are senior managers and entrepreneurs. Knowing how to sell to millennials is a job skill any salesperson needs.
If you’ve been in sales for a while, you know millennials are much different from their Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors. Traditional marketing tactics like cold-calling will only get you so far. That doesn’t mean they won’t pick up the phone; it means that once you create that initial connection, millennials often say they’d prefer to continue the conversation in email. And yes, they do convert digitally, it’s not just a blow-off.
In sales, specifically, a recent survey suggests that 63% of millennials prefer email communication from salespeople. And they’re checking email “at least 2-5 times a day, but they receive less than 5 emails from retailers a day.” So if you’re selling to millennials, you can read that as, once you’ve called, not only will they read your follow-up email, but you won’t have a lot of competition in getting their attention. That’s kind of the dream-come-true for sales, #amiright?
Hold on just a sec, though. A successful follow-up email when you’re selling to millennials isn’t as simple as putting words on the screen and hitting the “send” button. You need to plan out your content, deliver it in a digestible format, and provide something of value. Most importantly, you need to develop trust with your millennial audience.
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Real tips for selling to millennials on the phone and then through email
1. Be authentic
Before you do anything else, keep in mind that millennials are hip to marketing. That doesn’t mean they hate it; it just means they appreciate good marketing. The days of authoritative messages coming from big corporations are over. Millennials, instead, want to be part of a conversation. They want to buy on their terms, from people they trust. That’s why phone calls still work, when you can get them on the phone.
Try to create rapport with them on the phone, and after the call, ask them to complete an email survey. In the answers, make sure it helps you learn how your product or service could benefit them if they clammed up over the phone. That way, you’ll have better talking points for follow-up emails. Personalize the message as much as you can without being too informal. Doing this will help millennials to see you and your business as people, and once they feel you’re real, they’ll be more likely to buy later on.
2. Link to your blog
Millennials love to read blogs. This feeds into their buying habits. 33% of millennials report reading company blog posts before purchasing a product.
When you follow up in email, include snippets from a recent blog post that might relate to a topic you talked about on the phone. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website, which immediately brings your visitor further into your sales cycle. It also shows you were paying attention. If your blog offers valuable content that aligns with a customer’s needs and values, you’ve likely won their business – if not now, then in the future.
3. Dress up a little
No, you don’t have to buy a new wardrobe. But your communications may need a makeover.
While letter-style correspondence is useful in sales email marketing, graphics are a bonus for millennials. Any ideas you come up with for email should include visually appealing graphics. One industry expert claims that 71% of people feel better about brands that use visuals in their content. But don’t take this task lightly. Designs that look hastily thrown together won’t elicit the same response. Millennials have set a high bar for visual appeal with all of the design technology out there. Make sure that yours meets or exceeds that bar, otherwise your audience is less likely to take you seriously.
4. Offer something of value to get their email
More than ever, sales is a two-way street. Millennials want something from you before you get something from them. That’s not to say you need to give away your services for free, but including meaningful content is more likely to get millennials’ attention. If you’re on the phone with a prospect and you do not have their email, offer a white paper or a case study in exchange for their contact information. When you can, offer a limited-time deal.
5. Get to the point
Millennials are notorious for having short attention spans thanks to all the content that’s out there for them to digest. For that reason, keep your follow-up emails brief and to the point. Don’t spend a lot of time on the features of your product or service. Remember the purpose of the email isn’t really to sell, but to keep that connection. Keep sentences short and all graphics relevant. Use simple language and make sure that live links are clear (and intact). Email marketing is definitely a place where less is more.
6. Use interactive content
Finally, millennials love to engage with the brands that are important to them. Include interactive content in your emails, like a video. If you sell software, a tutorial about a feature you discussed over the phone would be a great video to link. Doing so keeps their attention on your brand while getting them interested in whatever it is you have to offer. Furthermore, interactive content makes a millennial audience feel like they’re involved in the sales process, again reinforcing the idea that they’re not being sold to, instead, they are a partner in the process.
Millennials are a buying generation, and they’re some of the youngest business leaders in history. Learning how to sell to millennials is a must-have skill for any salesperson.
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