With the baby boomer generation retiring within the next 15 years, we all need to start thinking about how to replace them. All traditional sales jobs have a problem retaining Millennials. Commercial real estate especially has issues keeping their Millennials for more than a 12-months. Let’s ask ourselves, is it them or me? Sorry, OWD (that’s Millennial-code for old-white-dude), it’s your old-fashion management style.
“OMG, I’m so bored I could die.” Your beloved Gen-X thrived by focusing on a single project and becoming its master. Millennails think that’s lame. Unlike a Gen-X, you can’t sit a Millennial down with a list of phone numbers and expect them to make calls 8-hours a day, 5-days a week. Millennials thrive on hundreds of small projects. Have them do your cold calls along with posting your company’s social media once a day, research and write a weekly blog post, research new methods of getting leads, offer training if they show interest in learning new skills. Millennails like doing the stuff you hate, including SEO, Pay-per-click, WordPress management, creating your listing brochures in Publisher, and more. They’re multitaskers to the core. If they’re doing quality work and turning in projects on time, ignore the fact that their Facebook page is always open. Boredom is the main reason a Millennial will leave their job, so let them have their Skype or social media. If projects are getting done, is it really a big deal?
“I won’t talk someone into a sale that’s not right for them.” We all shouldn’t be so focused on the close that we’re willing to screw the customer. Millennials have grown up in a world of marketing. They’ve been disappointed by toys that have been advertised to fly, and army tanks advertised to run over micro machines. The childhood trauma of saving allowance for bogus products has carried over into their adult lives. Millennials genuinely want to help your customers, not just close the sale. Let them! Customers are more sophisticated than ever before. One nasty online review or Better Business Bureau complaint can ruin a business. Millennials understand this, in fact, they may have single-handedly brought down a business with social media, online reviews and word-of-mouth. They know it’s not about the close, it’s about the relationship. It’s time we all understood this. Don’t focus so much on the immediate close, if they’re developing good relationships your customers will show their appreciation with increasing business and referrals.
“I think your ABC (always be closing) process is stupid.” You don’t make friends with manipulation, pre-qualification and hyper-aggressive sales tactics. Millennials focus on “keeping relevant” to make friends and influence people. You may think their ideas of mailers, websites, blogs, email newsletters, social media postings, and Google+ communities are foreign, but they’re passive sales tactics. People don’t like being called once a week, but they will occasionally tune into a blog or social media stream that’s relevant to them. That’s how a Millennial wants to reach your potential customers, with non-aggressive sales tactics and develop relationships over time. (Check out the article in Inc.com, “It’s Time to Retire the ‘Always Be Closing’ Slogan”)
“Yeah, I come in at 8:45am, but I’m your most productive employee.” A Millennial can easily become your work-horse with the right amount of training. They want to do more work and a large variety of work. With your Millennial, it’s the same with any relationship, pick your battles. They may never come in on-time, but they excel at passive selling tactics and building relationships with customers. Focus on what they do best. Create schedules that work for them. Most Millennials will gladly work four 10-hour days for Fridays off. Or 9-hour days for a half-day Friday. Ask them what works best for them, you may be surprised at how grateful and loyal they can be when they have some control over their own schedule.