Selling to Gen X

A handshake closes the saleA lot has been written about managing Gen X – those born between the mid 1960’s and the early 1980’s. But less has been written about selling to Gen X. This blog addresses that gap.

Who are Gen X?

Gen X are now in their mid 30’s to early 50’s and so are likely to be found in positions of authority when it comes to making purchasing decisions for the organisations they work for. So for new sales people (who are themselves Gen Y or the Millennial Generation) and for more mature sales people ( who are from the “baby boomers” generation) it is important to know how to sell to Gen X if they are to maximise their sales success.

What influenced Gen X?

When Gen X was young there were many significant global political events and these certainly shaped Gen X’s outlook on life. Events such as the war in Vietnam (which has strongly influenced the American Gen X’s), the collapse of the Berlin Wall (which has strongly influenced European Gen X’s), and (in the UK) Thatcherism, have all played their part.

Gen X grew up with reality TV and saw the start of IT.

In terms of work ethics, the economic realities of the 1980’s led to Gen X believing that they could not rely on other people for their success.

Compared to their parents, Gen X is more open to diversity. They tend to embrace differences such as religion, sexual orientation, class, race and ethnicity.

How to sell to Gen X

Gen X customers need a direct sales approach. They want you to be honest and direct and to ask for the business. They will have done their homework and so are likely to make quick decisions.

Their primary concern is to understand how your product or service will do things faster, better and cheaper. They will probably ask you some direct and probing questions and they will expect you to know the answers!

They can be positively influenced by your ability to relate how the product or service you are selling meets their actual needs. They can also be influenced by how quickly and easy you make the buying process for them. Gen X is, therefore, happy to use technology to make their purchases.

Finally, Gen X has high expectations for after sales service and delivery so ensure that their experience after the sale is a positive one and they are highly likely to buy from you again.