As we learned at the recent ISBN Conference, millennials are changing the way businesses both market their products and services and also how they manage their employees. An abundance of ideas around teamwork, “story-living” and brand engagement were shared, noted and applauded. As a B2C industry, it often is forgotten that we have many B2B functions, but the larger the business the more employees that get designated in B2B roles. So how does the millennial mindset affect how you negotiate?
#1 – Collaborative Partnerships
In much of millennial-speak, it’s all about team work, involvement and engagement. You can expect that to apply around the negotiating table, as well. Millennials look to create partnerships and build mutually beneficial relationships, which can seem fairly strange to more mature negotiators who are used to hard-nosed angling.
#2 – Build Your Case Around the Clock
This concept is fairly old-school, but its importance is significantly higher with millennials. That can be attributed to the majority of their careers to date playing out during a recession during which competition was stronger and differentiation was narrow. That means how the phone gets answered, salutations in emails, availability of samples or education can make the difference between getting or keeping the business and getting over looked. As with marketing to consumers, every aspect of your company is examined, and emotional sentiment can play a part in who gets the purchase order.
#3 – Win-Win Outcomes
Perhaps a relief for anyone who has experienced the horror stories from Walmart negotiation farms, discussions with a millennial buyer (or seller) will often be focused on a win-win outcome. Traditionally, a good negotiator focuses on the pressures to sign for the other party (quotas, deadlines, demand), but millennials appreciate a candid agreement that acknowledges a joint benefit. Pointing this out during the later stages of negotiations can bring you closer to signing on the dotted line.
Say what you will about the millennials walking around with technology strapped to every appendage, but when you consider doing business with them, it’s quickly apparent why they earned the title “Generation Nice.” How do you change up your style when working through generational differences?