How to Sell to Baby Boomers

Monday, January 11 2016

In Canada there are over 9.6 million Baby Boomers and statistics suggest they have more disposable income than any previous generation. That’s a huge opportunity for sales.

I am a Baby Boomer and I have learned that when you sell to this cohort there are some tenets worth remembering. Of course it’s always dangerous to generalize because there will be exceptions; but you might find it helpful to remember that as a group:

  • We work hard. Many of us started working when we were in our early teens and haven’t stopped since. We don’t shy away from hard work or long hours. So if I’m the business owner, I’m one of the first ones in and the last to leave the office. If you want to reach me, try calling outside regular office hours.
  • We grew up in an era of expansion, growth and new prosperity. The world was our oyster. We believed if we worked hard, we could do anything. Obstacles were temporary inconveniences. We have high expectations for service and quality. We desire custom solutions for our problems.
  • We didn’t grow up with smart phones. We are accustomed to meaningful conversations with real people…in person. We like to look salespeople in the eye to judge whether or not we can trust them. So, make eye contact and don’t multi-task by talking to us while looking at your phone or laptop.
  • Because we are frugal and dislike debt, we have money. We know that quality and value are more important than price, but we still want a good deal and need you to explain why your product is the best.  So sell us on the benefits of your quality, service and peace of mind; and, then give us a small discount to make us feel like we got a deal.
  • We expect clear communications. Eliminate slang from your verbal discussions. (“This is likethe most totally, like awesome product!) Write emails in complete sentences with proper spelling and grammar.
  • Treat us with dignity and respect. If I’m old enough to be your father or grandfather, call me Mr. Vanwyck until I ask you to use my first name. Assume that we’re smarter than we look.
  • Always do what you say you’re going to do and manage our expectations. That builds trust.

Finally, don’t pigeonhole us or make assumptions because we’re baby boomers. In spite of what I’ve said, we are all different. So test your assumptions. Ask lots of questions. Get to know and understand each individual before you make recommendations. Baby boomers are great prospects if you treat us right.