What millennials want, millennials get

The millennials make up a large group of car buyers. Automologist LILY shares her ideas on how to sell cars to this generation with their...


The millennials make up a large group of car buyers. Automologist LILY shares her ideas on how to sell cars to this generation with their unique quirks and triggers.

When we talk about millennials (aka Gen Y or Baby Boom Echo), there are no definite ages in its definition; some researchers define them as the generation born between 1997 to 1994 while other researchers say it is between 1980 to 2000. Regardless, they are the technology generation who have always been able to access information at their fingertips, or rather by digging into their pockets or bags for their smartphones.

Forecast shows that in the next five years, 64 million millennials in the United States will be purchasing cars. If you want a piece of the pie, you'd better check out what they look for when purchasing cars. Deloitte released its 2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study which contains vital information for all automotive dealers. If I were to sum it up, it would be that millennials are into the car-buying experience and not the car itself.

The study showed that not many of the millennials are ‘car people’; they have limited brand consciousness or product knowledge as compared to the earlier generations. The anticipation of purchasing a car and the process of getting it is much more a priority than the car itself. They have been pampered with convenient access to facts, reviews and comparisons, with just a few taps on the phone; going from dealer to dealer to listen to sales pitch and collect information is an outdated method (ah, those good ol' days). The same study showed that only 27% described their recent purchasing experience at the dealership as positive, and half of these said that they will never go back to the same dealer or manufacturer again.

How do you reach the millennial’s heart, and not just the mind?

You will need to speak their language, and that means dispensing with the traditional salesman talk; millennials want evidence and facts.

A car salesperson has to be an expert in his product - to not only know it inside out, but to also keep abreast with the online ‘talk’ revolving around it. Remember that at any time, customers can reach for their smartphones to prove your statement wrong; you will need to be able to defend, not argue, your point by providing facts. 65% of the millennials prefer to buy without negotiating as they can gauge what is a fair term of purchase after all the tapping exercise that they have done.

One secret to capturing their hearts is after presenting the facts, pull out your own smartphone and pull out the information on the screen: “See, these are facts that everyone knows”. It makes them think that “you understand me, we are on the same page”; the generation gap will be eliminated.

The good news for dealers is that millennials have yet to wish you away so that they can get cheaper cars. But if I were a car dealer, I'd make my contribution to the purchasing experience so indispensable that they never would.

image: nerdwallet.com

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