There’s no shortage of resources on how to sell to Generation Z.
Hundreds if not thousands of marketing experts will tell you exactly:
And we certainly encourage you to do your due diligence on this burgeoning customer base. Forbes wrote a helpful piece on it. Hootsuite put together a comprehensive guide. CampaignMonitor also has compelling research on Generation Z.
But we wanted to take a different approach to Generation Z.
Since they are the driving force behind the future of work, rather than telling you how to sell to them, we’re going to show you how to sell like them.
Because in their eyes, the way most companies are selling anything is antiquated. The businesspeople in their early twenties are using more efficient ways to have real conversations with their leads that turn into closed deals. Their results are impressive, and it’s important that we learn from them.
Just beware! The following strategies and tactics are cutting edge, tech forward, and in many cases, counterintuitive to what you may currently be selling.
But from the mouths of babes comes wisdom. Not just emojis. Let’s “z” what we can learn from the next generation of salespeople!
Generation Z, as you’ve no doubt heard, is the first generation to be raised entirely in the internet age. As digital natives, they had childhoods where smartphones were ubiquitous. Technology like the rolodex, fax machine, landline, answering machine, and other ancient information and communication devices may as well be in a museum.
They’re using smartphones for every aspect of their daily work, particularly text messaging to connect with leads.
Patrick Buckley, a Franchise Sales Associate at Oakscale, has spent his career selling a variety of products. He’s driven growth for brands like Johnstone Supply, Xpresso Delight, and Lash Loft, to name a few. Despite only being in the workforce a few years out of college, Patrick’s mobile-first sales approach has boosted his efficiency and given him a leg up over veteran counterparts who might still be using outdated tactics like direct mail.
“In college, all my friends had smartphones, but I was still in the dark ages. And since my university was so small, everyone knew me as the one person on campus who still had a flip phone. It was a point of pride for me. But once I went abroad for a semester, it was clearly time for me to upgrade my tech. Once I got my iPhone, I never looked back. Now my smartphone, and more specifically, my text messaging app, is my number one sales tool.”
Buckley shared that every single one of his franchise leads gets a text message from him. If they’re serious about the opportunity, that’s the primary form of communication. And when a more important conversation via phone or in person meeting is required, they make the transition. But it all starts with text.
What percentage of your leads receive a text from you within sixty second of filling out a form on your website? If that number is anything lower than one hundred percent, you are missing out on sales. You’re already behind the curve.
Here are two pieces of research we're always stressing to our customers. First, ninety percent of leads prefer texting to phone or email. Second, seventy percent of leads are generated outside of business hours. With those two numbers in mind, it’s clear that part of selling like Generation Z is integrating all of the tools in your sales stack to boost your contact rate. You need to leverage every tool in the house, even if it’s in the middle of the night.
It starts with your CRM. Whether you’re using SalesForce, Hubspot, InfusionSoft, FranConnect, or something else, it’s imperative that you can write emails, make notes on accounts, set reminders or any other feature that helps with the sales process. No brainer.
But just using CRM isn’t enough. We actually get that question a lot from new customers: I already have a CRM, why do I need FranFunnel too?
The short answer is, yes, having a robust technological backbone to your business gives you a powerful baseline. But if you want to get prospects to schedule discovery calls with you, you have to diversify your toolkit. Otherwise there’s going to be a lot of dead air in your sales process.
“The worst thing for a sales person is not getting an answer,” replied our Generation Z ambassador Patrick Buckley, whose sales stack includes a CRM, Linkedin, Email and FranFunnel. “I’d rather get 'no' than nothing. Because if you get ghosted, you can’t cross that prospect off the list. That’s why texting is a necessary part of the process. Average response rate is so high, that you’ll know quickly if a candidate isn’t interested. Whereas solely relying on email for outreach is such a grey area. There could be many reasons why people might not be responding to your messages.”
Are you combining every sales tool available to ensure the highest possible contact rate? If not, take a page from the Generation Z playbook. Only using email is so last decade. Yes, be sure you’re using it for verification purposes, but make sure to pair email with more modern, efficient and accessible technology like text automation.
Ask someone in their early twenties about the last time they received a relevant piece of physical mail. Outside of the occasional birthday card with a check for $18 from their distant aunt, most of Generation Z is paperless at this point. Anything brands used to send them via snail mail is now easily summarized or linked to in an email. If not, it’s a waste of paper, money and time at best.
The challenge is, older generations are rejecting digital technologies. For a variety of reasons, too. Perhaps it’s the fear of making mistakes, resistance to change, concerns about data privacy, worry about tech being arduous and time consuming, and so on. Whatever the motivation, there’s clearly a gap between younger and older workers.
But veteran salespeople, despite their understandable distrust with the seemingly annoying aspects of technology, must adapt. Generation Z salespeople in the franchise industry have seen tremendous efficiencies with the automation tools. If the old dogs don’t learn new tricks soon, they’re going to be barking up the wrong tree.
Heck, if you believe in the value you're offering, sales is all about relentless (and, yes, often annoying) follow up anyway. May as well have all the best tools at your disposal to be persistent in the most efficient and profitable way possible.
How much money did your company spend on paper based marketing last year? What if you reinvested those funds in automation technology that’s proven to garner a higher return?
Ultimately, in a world smothering you with tips on how to sell to Generation Z, give yourself a leg up by learning how to sell like them.
If you want to have real conversations with your leads that become closed deals, make sure your franchise is not still using antiquated tactics. Be cutting edge, be tech forward, and most important, meet your prospects where they are.
On their phones.
Scott Ginsberg is Head of Content at FranFunnel and a proud Gen X'er who still writes physical checks.