Posts Tagged ‘business’
August 06th, 2014
With $1.5 billion in annual spending power, and being a generation 85 million strong, it’s easy to see why companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations care about attracting Millennials (aka: Gen Y) as customers. The eldest Millennials are now around 30 years-old…so they’re not just “clueless kids” anymore.
So for businesses to more successfully engage, attract, and develop new customer relationships, it’s important to be aware of this interesting fact shared by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D. and Ann Clurman, Co-Authors of the book, Rocking the Ages: “Generationally determined lifestyles & social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do – maybe even more.”
How Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Generation X, and Baby Boomers each prefer to be engaged with is different. And it’s critical that Sellers educate themselves on these preferences as it can greatly improve the results of their sales and marketing efforts.
However, for this post, my focus is on Millennials. Not only are they the newest generation of young, adult consumers, they are the most unique. Thus, they’re worth learning about. Why? For starters, they are the largest generation the U.S. history. Plus, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce is going to be comprised of Millennials.
As a result, not only will Sellers and Employers be working with them more as colleagues, but they’re going to be heavily competing for them as customers.
There are many ways to attract, engage and build brand-loyalty with this unique generation. Here’s an example of three to be aware of:
- They Respect Giving Back: The Millennials are the first generation required to volunteer in their communities as a High School graduation requirement. Therefore, they are wired to “support causes”, and countless studies show they are attracted and loyal to brands who share that same philosophy.
- Peer Recommendations Mean Everything: They are an extremely close-knit generation and value peer recommendations more than flashy marketing campaigns. As a matter of fact, research reveals they rank “peers” as their most valued source of information. The key take away? Make sure to have Millennial testimonials and imagery in marketing materials, as well as include Millennial-created content in social media efforts, to attract them.
- They Require (and Demand) Guidance: Although they are confident and perceive themselves as “individuals”, Millennials tend to struggle with decision-making. Remember, this is the generation raised by Helicopter Parents, and those parents tend to continue “hovering” over their Millennial kids well into adulthood. So if Sellers focus on being “Trusted Advisors” versus “salespeople” (solely focused on closing the deal), they will fare much better with Millennial customers.
Smart companies are investing a lot of time, effort, and money into learning everything they can about the Millennial mindset; both as employees AND consumers. Furthermore, Sales Teams all over the globe are learning how to better engage with them as our next generation of key decision-makers in the workforce.
June 26th, 2011
Nowadays, most people seem to be solely focused on social networking online. And, yes, while I am a firm believer that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are AMAZING tools for making professional connections, I find that many Millennials (aka: Gen Y), and even members of older generations at work, such as Gen X, Generation Jones and Boomers, forget about “the other” type of networking…attending industry mixers and professional association gatherings!
Quite honestly, I find that attending in-person networking events can typically yield me positive business results faster than relying on social media networking. Therefore, I make an effort to include in-person networking to my personal brand-building mix.
But, I also find that many people are not that great at using their valuable networking time wisely. As a result, I make sure to include tips on “effective networking at events” in the Personal Leadership Branding seminars and Millennial Business Boot Camp workshops that I conduct for corporations and college students. It is key to your career success!
So whether you’re a job-seeker or simply wanting to expand your professional network outside of your office to “increase awareness for your personal brand”, keep reading!
Here are Ten Tips I suggest to make your off-line networking efforts successful:
- Show-up with your business cards! People often forget their cards, or only bring a few, and that’s embarrassing. Bring a substantial stack so you don’t run out. And, if you’re a job-seeker who is unemployed, make your own cards and consider making them 2-sided so that you can list your qualifications on the back. Plus, bring copies of your resume “just in-case”!
- Don’t be shy. Remember, everyone is there to meet new people, so you are all in the same boat. Find someone standing alone or a small group of people, walk up, extend your hand (for a FIRM shake), smile and introduce yourself. It may feel odd at first but people who network a lot are used to strangers approaching them. And if you say it’s your first time attending the mixer, they’ll normally want to help you meet other people.
- Practice your 15-second “personal infomercial” (aka: elevator pitch) before you arrive. When someone asks what you do or why you are there, be able to explain yourself in 15-seconds or less. DO NOT bore people with a long personal pitch or a bumbling explanation about who you are and/or what you’re seeking.
- You should take an interest in the people you meet first. It’s common to ramble on about yourself when you’re nervous, so make a serious effort to ask people questions and LISTEN to what they share closely.
- Depending on the length of the mixer, try not to spend more than 5-10 minutes with each person. You’re there to meet a lot of people! Now if you’re really enjoying yourself with someone, maybe spend a bit more time. BUT, KEEP IN MIND, they may want to be moving on to meet more people, too, so don’t monopolize their time. They might be too shy to excuse themselves, so be mindful of time, and watch their eyes and body language!
- If alcohol is being served, don’t overdo it. I’ve seen quite a few people early-on at an event making a great impression and then, after a few drinks, it goes downhill. Remember: If you’re an employee, everything you say and do at the event will not only impact your personal brand but will also reflect on your employer’s brand!
- Make a lot of eye contact with people and smile! It’s all about human contact, and smiling will draw people to you. However when most people get nervous they tend to stand on the sidelines and hope people will come to them. A genuine, sincere smile will relax people and will make connecting with you more inviting…exuding confidence it key!
- Practice being a good conversationalist. Rather than JUST talk about you, your job and your purpose for being there (or theirs), have a few interesting questions memorized, and ask about kids, travel, previous jobs, pets, sports, current events, etc. This can help you quickly bond with people beyond “business”. Also, by really listening to people (which many people are NOT great at!) questions will come up naturally that you can ask to keep the conversation going. And, personally, I avoid topics around religion and politics…there’s no need to get yourself into a potentially controversial conversation!
- If someone approaches a group you’re talking to, immediately extend your hand, smile, and make them feel welcome. Remember, they are probably nervous, too!
- Send a hand written follow-up note to all the people you meet (mail them within 1-2 days). The immediate thought, especially by Gen Y, is to send an e-mail or text message, but a good ‘ol fashioned “Nice meeting you” greeting card, sent via snail mail, makes a BIG impression on people, from ANY generation…because people rarely send them nowadays!
Okay, now find some good association mixers and industry events in your area, and try to attend at least 1-2 per month, consistently. There is a very good chance you’ll reap the benefits of your off-line networking efforts fast, such as: See your professional contacts database grow quickly; find career-building opportunities otherwise missed; and, for those of you job searching, potentially get leads on good job opportunities!
Here’s a great quote I read a while ago (but I can remember who said it): “Take your online connections off-line, and take your off-line connections online”. Great advice!
Bye for now!
April 23rd, 2011
We all know the current job market is tough, regardless of what generation you’re from. But for many Millennials (aka: Gen Y), who are inexperienced when it comes to searching for a job, it can be an even tougher time. So this article provides all you newbie job seekers, and recent college grads, with (7) tips that will give you an edge over your job-seeker competition.
- Start a Blog: Not “just” a blog – a blog that covers the news and information about specific companies, or industries, where you’d like to work. You can then contact the company(s) and let them know you have a blog that is “about them and their industry”. This can attract their attention and give you an edge over just submitting a resume. Even micro-blogging on Twitter using this strategy is smart. It helps you promote your Personal Brand!
- Make Yourself Known: Many newbie job seekers send their resume and then do nothing. Making 1-2 follow-up calls is not enough. Until someone tells you “the position is filled”, keep calling, emailing, and inquiring. Sure, it may seem like you’re annoying, but you are making yourself memorable, and that’s key.
- Know Your Target: Make sure you include the terminology used within that industry, and/or by that company, when submitting your info to them. This can range from the job titles they use to the industry/company jargon they use. The point here is to make your resume and cover letter “customized” to them, not generic to ANY industry and/or company.
- Don’t Rely on Your Computer: Yes, the Internet is a powerful networking tool. And, of course, network on social networks like FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But face-to-face contact can be more powerful. Attend local professional networking events in industries you’re interested in. Interested in a Marketing career? Attend your local AMA chapter mixer. Each month, attend as many “live” networking events as possible. Not only will you make a lot of contacts but you’ll become better at “selling yourself” which can help when you interview.
- Make Business Cards: Don’t arrive to networking events or job interviews without business cards. You can even make your title “Job Seeker in Finance” (or whatever you’re looking for). And on the back print a few bullets about you: Education, Degree, strengths, etc. These can be like mini-resumes and they give you something interesting to hand to people (versus writing your contact info on a napkin at an event). Make your own cards and get them printed inexpensively through online services like LogoMaker.com.
- Thank You Cards: Whenever your return home from an interview or networking event, or even from a casual encounter with someone you met at a party where you discussed your employment, send a hand written thank you note to everyone you met. People tend to send thank yous via email, but a hand written note makes a big impression nowadays because very few people send them!
- Be “Employed” Through Volunteering: If you’re unemployed, use some of your free time to volunteer at a local non-profit. That reflects well on you when interviewing. You can say that you volunteer 15-20 hours per week for XYZ organization and your tasks include…employers want to know you’re “doing something” other than looking for a job full time. It also shows them you’re hard working and not just sitting around your home waiting for a job.
And, don’t be afraid to get creative! There was a great story last year about an unemployed father of 3 from the financial industry who wore a nice suit and a sandwich board on the streets of New York, advertising he was looking for a job. And you know what? Within a short time he landed a job with a top company in his industry! Why? Because people from that company saw him daily and started to talk to him…may sound a bit nuts, but this economy is a bit nuts, so think outside the box in your job seeking efforts!
Bye for now,
January 31st, 2011
I conduct various seminars and workshops on Leadership and Personal Leadership Branding for Millennials (Gen Y) employees and college students, and one of the things I tell them is to “feed your brain”. That is a key trait of effective leaders regardless of how high up the ladder they are in their careers…they never stop learning to be better.
Along with that advice, I’m also asked,”What books on leadership should I read?” Obviously, I can’t resist recommending mine, “Millennials into Leadership”. I would be crazy not to!!
But here are some of the other (wink) top books on leadership that I think Millennials, and all other generations at work, should read to learn and nurture their leadership and management skills. Quick side note: Just because you’ve been given a leadership role, doesn’t mean you’re good at it! Some people are born leaders, but MOST everyone else needs training. That’s why organizations hire me to conduct leadership seminars for their Millennial employees!
Okay, back to the list…this article was in WashingtonPost.com and written by Andrea Useem, and the list was created by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten, who run the business book publisher and website 800 CEO Read. And based on their research, this is what they chose as the 10 best leadership books.
…and how did they choose them? “We had three litmus tests,” Sattersten told me in a phone interview. “Was the book accessible and well written? Are its lessons applicable today? And, third, would we apply the insights in our own business?”
1. On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis
2. The Leadership Moment, by Michael Useem
3. The Leadership Challenge, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (NOTE: Recommended by one panelist as the FIRST book on leadership you should read)
4. Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will, by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman
The other books on their list are:
Leadership is an Art, by Max De Pree
The Radical Leap, by Steve Farber
Leading Change, by John Kotter
Questions of Character, by Joe Badaracco
The Story Factor, by Annette Simmons, and
Never Give In! Speeches by Winston Churchill
So there you have it! Choose a few, or all, and get reading! Your employees and employers will thank you!
Bye for now,