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Millennials have long entered the workforce, but have you considered the Gen Z buyer in your strategy?
George Leith is a lone wolf this week with an all-new Master Sales Series exploring the significance of compiling a strategy inclusive to Gen Z buyers. Join us as we dive deep to evaluate why businesses need to consider Gen Z buyers, a 5-step strategy to explore, and many more learnings for the future of markets.
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A Strategy That Doesn’t Consider The Gen Z Buyer is Doomed to Fail
A strategy that doesn’t consider the Gen z buyer is doomed to fail. Hello everyone, I’m George Leith and in today’s episode of the Master Sales Series I want to talk about Gen Z. Generation Z is that group of young people born from 1996 to 2010. These are your 12 to 26-year-olds. And I know you may be thinking, “come on George, get real. What weight should a 7th grader have on my business decisions and talk track?” Well, the fact of the matter is if you’re not thinking about them, you’re already falling behind.
In my experience, the Business-to-business space has just come around to this notion of selling to millennials. Millennials are folks who are born between 1981 and 1995. These are your 27 to 41-year-olds. Many of them have had the opportunity to mentor with old dinosaurs like me, and they’ve now built their careers, so they’re reaching or are breaking into that decision-maker status within their organizations.
My point being that If it’s taken us this long as sellers to set our sights on a group of people who are critical to the current success and sales of our business, we need to start thinking now about the next wave. That way, by the time Gen Z hits, we’ll be ready.
I want to talk a little bit about the Gen Z mindset. How they think. Generation Z or the zoomers as they’re referred to are a different breed of decision maker. When making decisions they take into account all factors including the effect on their mental health. Businesses need to understand the way Gen z thinks. Not only when they’re considering how they treat their employees. But how it changes what your customers will expect as well.
Let’s talk about Gen Z in the workforce, specifically within your workforce. Over the last four years, the first wave of post-graduate zoomers have begun entering the labour pool. The fact of this is we need to get them in the door at our organizations now to better understand how they think, how they buy, and how they’ll impact our business.
42 percent of zoomers say they’d rather be at a company that gives them a sense of purpose over one that pays them more. This next generation of professionals needs to feel invested in where the organization is headed to do their best work.
What they want to know is: “Where is the thing headed? Are we helping to make the world better? Are we contributing to our communities? Are we winning in various ways to ensure there’s a betterment?” Not just of a product, but they want to know they’re improving businesses, helping people save time so that they can be with the people they love and do what they love. This workforce wants to know there is a purpose behind the work.
As a leader, you need to be so clear on where you’re headed so that your team has this sense of, “Yes! I want to be part of this. This is actually something that I want to dedicate one, two, five, maybe even 10 years of my life to.”
Another thing leaders should keep in mind is that the vision leaks. You can tell somebody where you’re headed. They might hear it, but over time as the rigamarole of the day-to-day sets in, they can lose it. So it’s a leader’s job to fill that vision bucket over and over and over again to keep it clear that people know what they’re contributing to and they’re a part of that overall goal.
Gen Z cares about flexibility too. According to an adobe survey, 66 percent say they’d switch jobs for more control over their schedules. TikTok is full of zoomers questioning society’s need to prioritize productivity over well-being. All factors we need to keep in mind to build our businesses and attract the generation that will drive our businesses into the future.
By the way, all the things that the zoomers want make sense. So now that we’ve thought about how we might usher them onto our teams. How can we sell to Gen Z? At a recent event I was speaking at a consumer behavior expert said “Don’t sell to the buyers that have the money, sell to the buyers that spend the money.” It’s a mindset that will revolutionize the way we sell. The fact is, the value-driven post-war baby boomers, who might have held their wallets a bit more tightly are drastically different than zoomers. You better believe that your product meets the expectation though. Gen Z buyers are attracted to uniqueness and personalization and they are willing to pay more as long as the product performs better.
Gen Z is a radically inclusive and ethically minded generation so you better be ready to back up your value claims and ethical commitments, which could in the past, been viewed as more of a PR push than anything else. For example, If you are making a commitment to carbon neutrality you need to be able to provide proof of how you’re doing it and what progress you’ve made. Gen z really does care about doing business with companies that support their same ideology and are quick to cancel businesses that don’t live up to the hype. So tread mindfully in the ethical commitment arena.
Look at the numbers. 81 percent of Gen Zers would stop buying brands whose campaigns made them think that they were too macho. That’s a massive audience you’re missing out on if your business, marketing and brand are out of touch with a more socially conscious view of the world. The fact of it is it’s 2023. You can rant on an elevated state of political correctness all you want and daydream about those good old days where you weren’t worried about saying the wrong thing. But modern buyers are expecting the companies they’re supporting to keep up with them in today’s modern viewpoint. If you’re not willing to factor in a more inclusive and socially conscious message you risk getting left behind.
It is surprising Gen Z is more willing to accommodate spotty customer support. 39 percent of the people in this generation expect companies to answer complaints within the same day. For the three earlier generations, the percentage is much higher – 52 percent expect you to get back to them within the first day. This could be traced back to a more technology-driven customer support approach. A less personal and automated platform for engagement may leave consumers expecting a less expedient response than they did a few years past. Overall, For Business-to-business sellers it may seem like there’s a lot of risk and nuance in this category, but there also is a ton of opportunity if you can manage to get it right.
Let’s dig a bit deeper now and flush out some of the tactics you should be focusing on or at least preparing to focus on when it comes to selling to Gen Z.
Number one: Use digital platforms for promotions and advertisements. Gen Z is the digital generation. Every one of them has had access to smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers from day one. They are ready to receive marketing through social media and digital content. In fact they don’t know any different. Sellers need to make the right use of digital platforms to promote and advertise their products. From TikTok and Instagram to Facebook and Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat there will be a more pronounced focus on these avenues of advertising going forward.
Number two: Respect Gen Z data. Protecting personal information and maintaining privacy is extremely important to this generation. Your personal data can be used against you to cause harm leading to cases of fraud and identity theft. Your business needs to be mindful that Gen Z is more concerned to maintain their privacy and stay anonymous.
Number three: Create quick and effective online content. Nowadays, people are living at warp speed and they have no time to spare. Even a 10-second video ad is also too long for Gen Z. They’ll skip it if there is nothing informative that doesn’t pique their interest in those first few seconds. Gen Z demands short snackable content that can lure their attention towards your brand.
Number four: Partnering with influencers and celebrities. Now we don’t all have the marketing budget to sign a Taylor Swift or Kim Kardashian on for an endorsement deal. But you can’t ignore the growth of worldwide influencer marketing that we’ve seen in the last few years. In 2021 this market had expanded 8x to 13.8 billion from where it was in 2016 at only 1.7 billion. You don’t need to spend the big bucks though to make an impact with a Gen Z buyer. Partnering with trusted Gen Z micro influencers or local celebrities in your area to test the waters might be a way to get a social campaign out the door and seeing how it performs before you decide to invest more in this space.
Number five: Reputations matter. Gen Z has the willingness and enough resources at their fingertips to do their research before they buy a product or pay for a service. Product reviews, business reviews, and star rankings weigh heavily on Gen Z’s willingness to make a purchase decision. So make sure your online reputation is stellar and especially that you stack up and beat your competition.
As we wrap this up if you take one thing away from this episode today. It would simply be to take action. Don’t wait until the Gen Z buyer is here because by then it will be too late. Hire them. Begin to understand them and figure out how to sell to them. You won’t be able to get away from zoomers if you’re wanting to ensure the longevity of your business.
If you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Master Sales Series discussing A strategy that doesn’t consider the Gen Z buyer is doomed to fail, revisit some of our recent ones and check out:
- 545: Stop Using the Recession as an Excuse | Master Sales Series
- 542: 4 Red Flags Telling You a Buyer is a Bad Fit | Master Sales Training Series
Please subscribe and leave us a review. Thanks for joining us this week on the Conquer Local Podcast. My name is George Leith, I’ll see you when I see you.