DEA Meeting: Sewell Lexus on Millennials

Jennifer Blakeney moderated our panel with Cooper Bibb and Ross Taylor with Sewell Lexus talking about Millennials!  Ross is a General Sales Manager and graduated from A&M in 2006.  Cooper is a Sales Associate and graduated from A&M in 2014.

What is one incorrect assumption you feel older generations make about Millennials?  Cooper:  that they are lazy or entitled; many are driven and eager to learn and be mentored.  Ross said that every assumption you are making is wrong.  When you are talking about Millennials in general, you forget that the Millennial you want to work with is a person with a name and distinct personality traits.  Ross recruits from universities and trains and develops Millennials.  In general, they are not lazy; they want to work really hard.  We denigrate other generations by making generalizations.  Millennials were born into a recession and graduated into a bad job market.  Our minds group and categorize things to make mental processing easier, but you have to fight against your brain’s determination to put people in a box.  People in your “in-group” have nuances and are very different and you recognize that.  It is easier to label, group, and categorize people in the “out-group”.  If we think less about what Millennials want or need and more about what this specific person is feeling, then that will open us up to a lot better conversation.

Cynthia Oliver asked what the specific age group is considered Millennials?  Ross: it is a little nebulous, but generally starting with birthdates in the early 80’s until late 90’s and early 2000’s.

What is the best way to communicate with Millennials?  Cooper:  regardless of age, you should always understand a person’s communication preference.

What are the most successful ways to work with older colleagues?  Ross:  give respect and honor to the fact that they have been doing this a long time.  Cooper:  it can come off as disrespectful to assume you know a quicker/faster way.  When something has been done for a very long time, there is a reason why and it has probably been successful.  There is a time to bring in innovation, but give it time, respecting the ways things have been done until you have more time to understand.

What advice would you give to older colleagues on how to work with younger people?  Cooper:  Millennials you hire are the future; businesses must change to grow.  Ask new people what things they see that could be improved; value their fresh eyes.  Ross:  resistance to change is common to all of us, not just the older generations.

What are the differences in selling to Millennials compared to older generations?  Cooper:  every customer is different and you need to find what is important to that customer.  It could be price-point or the look of the car.  One thing that has changed is going from relational selling to more of a focus on the exact product/price a customer wants.  Ross:  we are a luxury retailer and need to find what is a luxury to this customer.  Language matters!  Sales are more transactional for younger customers; they love efficiency.

Ron Schulz asked if the younger customer’s focus will change as they move up the ladder wealth-wise and are making more expensive purchases?  Will those relationships be more important then?  Cooper:  a lot of people haven’t experienced great service and once they have, it will become more important to them.

Brad Swann asked if relationship is not as important in the beginning but becomes more important later when the customer needs service?  Cooper:  once someone treats you really well, you are going to go back for it.

What makes a Millennial buy from a certain source?  Ross:  Social media is huge; still going to ask friends first before Social media.  Word-of-mouth still has the biggest impact.  Who is easiest to do business with, like Amazon?  As companies eliminate barriers to do business with them, they will attract more business.  Cooper:  after considering friend referrals, a company’s presence on the Internet becomes important, especially for those who might be new to an area and not know someone who could give them a referral.

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