The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 27, 2011 • Issue 11:06:02
What a difference a birth date makes
|| Understanding is a two-way street.|
- Eleanor Roosevelt
For a system of people to succeed, the new must surely work with the old, but the reverse is also true. Be it a business or a society, all participants must be able to work together, regardless of age.
In merchant services, relatively young merchant level salespeople (MLSs) starting their careers must know how to relate to relatively mature merchants. And seasoned MLSs must consider the unique factors influencing younger merchants' decisions in order to close deals. It is therefore helpful to understand how members of generations other than your own think and act.
Meet your elders
The baby boomer generation - roughly those born between 1946 and 1964 - are often called idealists. They generally see themselves as out-of-the box thinkers.
They prefer face-to-face contact, do not appreciate being bombarded with too much information and are quick to tune out conversations they deem irrelevant. Additionally, they tend to exhibit more brand loyalty than younger generations do.
Effective ways to market to them are through white papers, research reports and other sources of detailed information from trusted organizations. Indeed, baby boomers view organizations as inherently trustworthy, despite the rebellious, anti-establishment natures they displayed in their youth.
Now that baby boomers are getting older, however, they want to be able to retire in comfort, but they realize now is the time for them to secure a legacy - to change the world for the better and be remembered for it. Young MLSs who can fulfill that need in some way may find loyal and long-term customers.
Heed the up-and-comers
Gen Xers were born from the mid 1960s through about 1980. They came of age when mothers with employment outside of the home were becoming the norm. Members of this generation therefore tend to be resourceful and independent. They willingly take on responsibility at work, but they also value freedom and value a hands-off management style. MLSs who can tap into these qualities are likely to gain their respect and business.
Generation Y, dubbed the millennial generation, comprises folks born approximately between 1981 and 2000. They are used to moving in such a fast-paced world that email seems slow to them.
They inhabit the online realm as a second home, expect services to be available 24/7 and are impatient with communication channels that take them out of their virtual comfort zones.
Email marketing or direct mailers may not get the attention of millennials. Text messaging, blogging and other types of social media are a better bet.
And since they are largely immune to marketing hype, because they've been bombarded by advertising in multiple forms since they were born, they are not likely to respond favorably to exclamation points in marketing copy and promises that are simply too good to be true.
Work-life balance is also important to millennials; so is community. Because millennials are keen on being a part of online movements, tailor marketing to develop that sense of community.
And since they love to personalize services for themselves, such as through ringtones and online role playing games, think of creative ways to tailor POS services to scratch that itch.
Beauty and efficiency are attained in any human system when all parts work well together. Keeping in mind that age influences attitudes and behaviors can help you interact more intelligently with your customers and prospects, which can lead to more sales, as well as rewarding, stimulating friendships.
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