By Travis Gnehm

With Millennials (like me) stepping into decision-making roles within the next 10 years, sales executives must adapt to how this new generation does business.  The most unique characteristic of Millennials is that they communicate more information via various mediums, and faster than ever before.

“Be authentic, passionate, and sincere about your business offering and the results that you can provide.” -- Travis Gnehm, sales executive for Xerox

“Be authentic, passionate, and sincere about your business offering and the results that you can provide.” — Travis Gnehm, sales executive for Xerox

Drawing on my own experience as a sales executive, here are five ways to sell to Millennial decision makers:

    1. Your approach defines your credibility to a Millennial.  Any true decision maker receives dozens of messages every week – many receive hundreds – that are seeking to win their business.  If you want to differentiate yourself from the other reps competing with you, be creative.  Do your research and send a well-crafted message with a call-to-action at the end.  This could be a message on social media to the decision maker, or an email that cites the research you have done on them and a follow-up date that you will call them.
    2. A Millennial will be highly skeptical of your ability to deliver on your offerings.  According to a survey published in March by the Pew Research Center, Millennials are considerably less likely to trust people than Generation X or Baby Boomers.  A Millennial will want references, case studies, demos, and numbers for return-on-investment; but most important, they will do their own research on your offerings.
    3. A Millennial may be climbing the corporate ladder.  In 2013, the Washington Examiner reported that approximately one-third of Millennials had a full-time job, yet almost two-thirds of them had gone to college.  Millennials have had major challenges in their careers due to the economic downturn in 2007 just as they started graduating college.  If a sales representative presents an offering to a Millennial decision maker that – for example – is able to cut annual energy costs for his organization by 20 percent, the opportunity for career advancement and professional success is a strong factor in the decision to go-ahead with the solution.
    4. Appeal to the technological value of your offer.  In December of 2012, a study from KRC Research revealed that 65 percent of Millennials consider losing their phone or computer to have a greater negative effect on their life than losing their car.  Technology is important to Millennials and they rely on it.  Technology helps them navigate their jobs and personal lives.  They also understand the potential of technology and – even more important – they understand and value what it can do.
    5. Be authentic.  In any client interaction, regardless of generation, you must convey your own sense of dedication and confidence with your product.  Be authentic, passionate, and sincere about your business offering and the results that you can provide.   It is the best context in which to deliver your value proposition.