This is an excellent article by Jeffrey Magee on Generations.
Tailored Approaches for Selling to the Five Different Age Segmentations
Motivating The Centurion, Baby-Boomer, Generation X, Generation Y and MTV’er
By Dr. Jeffrey Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC
For the first time in recorded history, today’s workplace consists of a very unique demographic trend – five distinct age segmentations. How each has been raised, conditioned and operate ranges dramatically. The ability of the sales professional to make this recognition and tailor their words, approach, questions and overall presentation to the uniqueness of the particular generational segmentation will significantly impact ones’ selling ability and thus, also their closing ratios.
Census statistics and data charts in a recent managerial leadership text, COACHING for IMPACT (www.JeffreyMagee.com) reveals five distinct generational segmentations in today’s work place:
1. Centurions/Matures are those workers (and thus potential buyers) over the age of 55. Estimated to be more than 55 million individuals.
2. Baby-Boomers are those individuals between 37 and 55. Estimated to be at more than 43 million individuals.
3. Generation “X”/LinkedIN/FaceBook are those individuals between 27 and 37. Estimated at more than 30 million individuals.
4. Generation “Y”/YouTUBE are those between 20 and 27. Estimated at more than 26 million individuals.
5. Generation Millennials/MTV/MySpace (also known by some as the dot.com babies and mosaic generation) are those younger than 20. Estimated at more than 53 million individuals.
The approach with each generational segmentation is not a matter of good versus bad or right versus wrong. How you engage each directly correlates to how each was raised and why that matters in interacting with each, based upon the age of the sales professional and the segmentation of the prospect or customer being engaged.
How you may engage in a dialogue, what you might say (and not say) may be within the norm of how you talk and act with your same age peer group. For that same level of effectiveness with a segmentation which is significantly older or younger than you, actions may have to differ for success.
For example, studies indicate some of the characteristics of each segmentation:
1. Centurions are more conservative, will scrutinize change, have more loyal behavior patterns, are very patient, are more formal and structured, like meaning in what they do or commit to, are relationship-driven and defend associations, are more traditional in views and behaviors.
2. Baby Boomers are more results-oriented, are power- and action-focused, and tend to be more concerned with image/reputation and materialism. They are conditionally patient, relatively structured and formal in their public impressions and actions, are more competitive.
3. Generation “X” are fast-action-oriented individuals, like net worth options, are centered on “me-ism” and are not very loyal or patient with regard to long-term commitment needs in the professional world. They tend to resist structure or formalities, and feel everyone is their equal.
4. Generation “Y” are into extreme actions, offers, and differentiating themselves from the pack. They are not very loyal or patient. Their loyalty is conditional, based upon their wants. They are not very structured, and tend to shy away from formalities. They have short interest or attention spans, question authority, and are entitlement-driven, more social conscious and easily buy into collaborative initiatives.
5. The Millennial Generation are searching for meaning, want relationships, and need structure. They are more concerned with their place in relationship to others.
The success of the sales professional in engaging each segmentation is contingent upon your ability as a sales trainer/sales manager to assist them in understanding these variances. Once an educated guess is made as to the specific generational segmentation of the potential buyer and you have been reminded of the generational segmentation you represent, then you can adjust your actions and styles in order to be mindful of which segmentation they represent and from where they come.
You’re quite right. Every age group has its own requirements and needs to be tackled in in its own individual way.