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Doing Business with the Baby Boomer Generation

by Hal Levenson on Apr 18, 2012 6:44:02 AM

Baby Boomers are many things—they are independent thinkers, pioneers of cultural change and a demographic unmatched in mass buying power and disposable income. Paying close attention to this group and the particular ways they communicate will enable you to successfully transact business with this unique generation.

Unlike Generation X and Y who rely largely on the convenience of technology in their buying decisions, the Baby Boomer generation is looking for a true connection based on their individualistic attitudes. With that in mind, here are three ways to win over a Baby Boomer:

1) Build rapport face-to-face.

Baby Boomers, while increasingly tech-savvy, did not grow up with computers all their lives like Gen X or Y. They respond best to a face-to-face pitch, one that hones in on their individual characteristics and requests. Make an effort by smiling, making eye contact and shaking their hand.

2) Emphasize the experience of the product or service, not features

Studies have shown that this demographic responds better to “show and tell” rather than showing pictures of a product that may suffice for a member of Gen X or Y. For example, a recent article in a marketing trade magazine portrayed the difficulty a Baby Boomer had with buying a printer. The Boomer was put off by the sales person’s unwillingness to open up the box containing the printer—instead the sales person just showed them photos of the printer. The Boomer wanted to get the full experience of the product. Focus on high-touch, not high-tech.

3) Avoid multi-tasking and give them your full attention.

Today’s Millennial (Gen Y) generation is increasingly being tagged as multi-taskers and proud of it with their ability to keep up increased interconnectivity through email, social media and texting—not so with the Baby Boomer crowd. In the same article mentioned before, the Boomer became fed up with the sales person, who continued to interrupt the conversation to help other customers. Do not allow Boomers to lose their train of thought, and ultimately, lose their confidence in you as an expert on the product or service you are selling.

All three of these tips illustrate the need to simply show a little extra effort when it comes to Baby Boomers. The steps reassure the client about the product or service you offer, and will help you ultimately gain their trust.

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