In the blink of an eye: That’s how quickly the new generation the car industry worried so much about—the millennials—has grown up and bought houses and cars like we were told they never would.
If you do business with millennials and they felt you didn’t listen, they will post and share that negative experience, then their peers will read and “like” it on a social network your customers listen to.
Data varies on how big the millennial market is—the estimates range from 62 million to 80 million—but the pioneers of the generation are up to 37 years old, with the trailing edge being 17 years old.
Various studies brand them as loyal consumers seeking quality, a good experience, and social engagement from the brands they prefer. Also, 53% own homes and 80% own cars, notes CNBC.
So, if the millennial-era buyer is still worthy of news story, the headline should read, to borrow from a Forbes piece, “Always Be Collaborating, Not Closing.”
One way to lose a millennial F&I customer’s trust is to engage using yesterday’s practices. No more bully tactics, smooth words, or fast talk.
Not only must the sales pitch go out the window, but so too should old-school objection-handling talk tracks and the paper-based tools for putting any deal together.
Millennial customers are bored because they have already read about it before they reached you. (Can you hear their eyes roll?) At worst, they’ll feel you’re demonstrating that you’re not interested in meaningful engagement or meeting their individual needs, only your own.
Fortunately, because 47% of dealership new hires are millennials, according to NADA’s Workforce Study, the odds are good that the F&I manager the customer meets will also be a millennial. This should work well for creating that collaborative atmosphere millennials want when engaging with a business.
The goal is to balance empathy for customer needs with the necessity for F&I to sell products. Here are five F&I basics that will help cater to and connect with the millennial marketplace:
However you approach your millenial customers, don’t fudge on honesty. Listen, process, and speak in sound bites that ring true for their stage in life.
Make the connection with their concerns and your own experiences. Share stories, which almost everyone prefers over facts and stats.
Also, remember that it is critical to embrace the social component at play in every transaction you have with a millennial.
Authentic personal engagement with millennial customers, informed by compelling data and guided seamlessly through a flexible, all-in-one digital F&I stage, will result in good news for your dealership—news that will travel fast.