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Selling to the Five Different Age Segmentations In Society Today with Tailored Approaches: Motivating the Centurion, Baby-Boomer, Generation X-Y, Millennial, and Now Generation Z!

Today’s work place consists for the first time in recorded history 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 over-all presentation to the uniqueness of the particular generational segmentation will significantly impact ones’ selling ability and thus closing ratios.

Census statistics and data charts in a recent managerial leadership text, COACHING for IMPACT reveals five distinct generational segmentations in today’s work place:

  • Centurion’s are those workers (and thus potential buyers) over the age of 65. Estimated to be more than 55 million individuals.
  • Baby-Boomers are those individuals between 50 and 65+/-. Estimated to be at more than 43 million individuals.
  • Generation “X-Y” are those individuals between 30 and 49+/-. Estimated at more than 30 million individuals.
  • Generation Millennial (also known by some as the dot.com babies and mosaic generation) are those between 20 and 30+/-. Estimated at more than 26 million individuals.
  • Generation “Z” are those younger 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 significantly older or younger than you, actions may have to differ for success.

For example, studies indicate some of the characteristics of each segmentation look like:

Sales professionals must realize that they are doing the prospect/customer a disservice by avoiding these issues and questions. Ask simple questions like:

  • Centurion’s are more conservative, will scrutinize change, have more loyal behavior patterns, very patient, more formal and structured, like meaning in what they do or commit to, are relationship driven and defend associations, etc., they like one-on-one and face-to-face interactions, printed docs for them to hold, read and study ...
  • Baby Boomers are more results oriented, power and action focused and tend to be more concerned with image/reputation and materialism, conditionally patient, relatively structured and formal in their public impressions and actions, etc., while some may like interactions and communications exchanges like their older Centurion’s, they may like some self-directed interaction via the internet ...
  • Generation “X-Y” are fast action oriented individuals, like net worth options, centered on “me’ism” and not very loyal or patient towards long term commitment needs in the professional world, tend to resist structure or formalities and feel everyone is their equal, etc., some of their decision models are independent of old rules preferred by Centurion’s and Baby-Boomers and are more internet connected, social media driven by established platforms ...
  • Generation Millennial are into extreme actions, offers, differentiating themselves from the pack, not very loyal or patient, loyalty is conditional upon their wants, not very structured and tend to shy away from formalities, have short interest or attention spans, questions authority, want relationships as a source of identity, and are entitlement driven, etc., their communication exchanges tend be less personal and more cloud internet based, fast picture/image interactions, easy to jump opinions based upon common social media trends and beliefs, more apt to trust too fast and assume what they read is correct, typically possess a wide breath of knowledge on lots of differing things, but not a subject-matter-expert depth of knowledge on any one item; Parents are a major pillar of support in their young adult life and have a high influence on their life-style choices; Connectivity across a wide range of touch-points/platforms is smart interactivity with this demographic typically ...
  • Generation “Z”, a more complex generation from their elder Millennials and generation X-Y’ers; This demographic is searching for deeper meaning to what they do and why, want deeper and lasting relationships, like structure, not easy to be loyal but once committed are very loyal, while they are comfortable and like technology are apt to choose for one-on-one interactions, short attention spans and like change stimulation, etc., they are challenging the need to change for change sake, and want to be more patriotic than some generations before them; Connectivity with this demographic is measured by quality quantity of a myriad of touch-points, they like follow-up and knowing that those they associate will be there for some time...

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 reminding oneself of the generational segmentation you represent, the adjust your actions and styles to be mindful of where they come from and thus which segmentation they represent.

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