CommentarySep 24th, 2013

Generation Y for Dummies


If you were born between 1980 and 1994, you might not like what you’re about to read. If you start to read it and your blood begins to boil, at least finish the article before you make any premature judgments. Not interested? Then maybe take a break to Tweet your friends while the rest of us take a minute to understand what really makes you tick. The truth of the matter is that Generation Y happens to be vitally important to the future of the car business. We need them — as customers and employees; ignoring this group is simply not a sensible option.

Recognizing that Millennials (also known as Generation Y and Echo Boomers) are the largest generation in American history, it goes without saying that it is extremely important to understand them. If you refuse to adapt, your competition will (if they haven’t already). Having them as employees is also essential if you want to keep up with an ever-changing, customer base. Whether you feel like you can identify with this generation or not, they are the lifeblood that is increasingly reinvigorating our nation’s economy.

This group of 80 million people has the potential to impact our businesses in so many ways. With that being said, we’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t formulate our marketing campaigns with Millennials in mind. Your marketing must address their needs, wants, and desires.

In this article, we’ll present to you our foolproof guide to understanding this tech-savvy generation of Americans inside and out. Consider this your first step toward making your company’s culture a magnet for younger generations.

So, what does make them tick?

Unlike Baby Boomers, most of who are motivated by values like stability, opportunity, and prosperity, Millennials tend to share a slightly different set of values. Members of Generation Y want to change the world, preserve what’s left of it and make a difference for mankind as a whole. If your company or products don’t echo these ideals, you had better get around to doing something about it.

We encourage our members to create a culture with a mission that’s about more than just selling cars. The crazy thing is, it’s not just Generation Y that responds positively to this type of approach. Making a difference and helping people in your community resonates with everyone. At our company, we not only “talk the talk”, but we “walk the walk.” We preach and believe that life and business should be ESP® — Enjoyable, Simple, and Prosperous.It is also no coincidence that our employees, and our clients, believe in what we do. We’ve got it plastered in giant letters on the wall in our office. Heck, our employees even walk around with ESP® written on their chests!

You need to take a hard look at what it is you really stand for and see if there is a way to make it about something more than just your bottom line. If you can do this effectively, you’re speaking a language Generation Y can hear and as a result, their effort and zeal will increase your bottom line in the process.

Lazy, entitled, self-centered, oh my!

Older generations often see Generation Y as a bit lazy, self-centered, and unjustifiably entitled. In stereotypical cases, this could be true. But most Millennials are just doing what they were taught to do by their Boomer parents. If you think about it, they really haven’t had as much “tough love” as those who came before them. Back in the day, when it was your time to leave the nest, you were expected not to come back, and sometimes you weren’t welcome to.

Nowadays, Millennials have come to expect a safety net at Mom and Dad’s after college, just in case that whole “job thing” doesn’t work out. Let’s face it — compared to Boomers, many Millennials have a seemingly posh lifestyle that includes gaming, liking, friending, and hanging on to their youth for longer than any generation before them. You, however, can take advantage of many of the more positive aspects of Generation Y. Currently they are entering the workforce in droves, and if you tap into that, it could be a virtual goldmine for your business.

Technological advancements in real-time media and communication during their lifetime have driven Generation Y’s insatiable appetite for immediacy. Why wouldn’t you want to hire someone with such expeditious standards? So, aside from everything you thought you knew about Millennials, they actually do have a slew of attributes that can be immensely beneficial for your business. Members of Generation Y crave change and the challenges that come along with it. They are surprisingly adaptive and resilient. They are constantly seeking continual learning opportunities — often in the form of training. If you don’t know what to do with someone who is A) eager to learn, B) highly adaptive, and C) eager to please, you’ve got wool over your eyes. Give them a chance to impress you!

Embrace that self-centered mentality that so many Millennials possess. Feed into their overconfidence. Like we said, Generation Y loves to be challenged. Without challenges, it is estimated that a Millennial will leave your business in only 1.5 years. It also doesn’t hurt to involve them in decision-making processes, even if they are at the lowest level. Encourage them to use social media for your benefit. We all know they’ve pretty much mastered the art of doing it for themselves. By embracing these ideas, you will end up with a happy and fulfilled employee who will stick around through thick and thin.

Working 9 to 5 — That’s no way to make a living.

Not too long ago, employees wanted simpler things — vacation time, regular office hours, and maybe even a corner office with a window. With Generation Y, not so much. The idea of being locked in an office, alone, for eight hours a day does nothing for them. They crave flexibility and collaboration. Millennials have been instructed their entire lives to embrace a team-based work ethic. Play into this! Consider making their workspace as open and inspiring as possible — dry erase walls are a great way to do this. Amazing things happen when a group of inspired people works together toward a common goal, especially in a nonrestrictive environment.

There is a common misconception that Millennials are allergic to a hard day’s work. This is simply not true; they just want to work smarter and in a different way than you might be accustomed to. Because they tend to do things a little differently, you have to make an effort to learn to trust them. They want you to trust their judgment. If all the bricks fall into place exactly as they should anyway, why worry? Don’t bombard them with rules either. Avoid stringent handbooks; they act as red tape and are counterintuitive to your shared goals. Instead, give them guidelines and reasonable goals. They can tackle any problem with innovation and enthusiasm. Plus, you’ll get much more than you expected out of them.

Caring is sharing.

As customers, members of Generation Y are surprisingly easy to appeal to. Like we’ve already joked about, technology is the name of their game. They want to share their every waking moment with friends via the internet. As a business owner this gives you the opportunity to encourage and reward your customers for sharing their positive experiences on social media platforms like Facebook. Offer to take a photo of them in their new car, or in front of your own customized backdrop. Foursquare is another great example of what we’re talking about. The Foursquare app has over 30 million users that use it to “check in at locations around the globe, discover and learn about great places nearby, search for what they’re craving, and get deals and tips along the way.” Best of all, Foursquare has what they call a Merchant Platform that lets you, the business owner, take control of your listing.

Just imagine — running a dealership for the customers of today and tomorrow. When you sell them a car, they can tweet about their experience or post a video online of themselves driving in their nicer, newer car. Eventually some of them will start posting their location (your dealership) online and leave reviews for their friends to see. But here’s the kicker — it’s up to you to make sure they had a positive experience while doing business with you, of course.

What's the bottom line?

Millennials have a great deal to offer your business — as both employees and customers.You must pay attention to Generation Y; when you do the rewards will be endless. After all, you don’t want to be sitting around in a room full of old men drinking coffee, wondering where all the young people are hiding.

So take action now. It’s time for a Generation Y revolution at your dealership.

Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there's potential business you're missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1309.

Authored by

Michael Bowen

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