Earlier this year, I had changed job positions within the organization that I work for to a different department with the same job functions but with a lot nicer customers.
So as any new person entering into a new role with existing customers, I wanted to introduce myself to them all and (ofcourse) create a great first impression. So as the Gen Y that I am, the medium that I had used to mass communicate my awesomeness was to email. Now, the do’s and don’ts of mass email is a post dedicated on its own so I just wanted to share with you the email that I had sent through to my new customers and discuss the sort of response I got from it –
I hope you’re well and have had a well-rested and well-earned weekend?
I am writing to let you know that due to [Predecessor’s] move into a new and exciting venture, I have resumed her role and responsibilities as your Key Account Manager.
I look forward to meeting you all, and will be in contact in the not too distant future to organize a meet and greet. Of course, in the meantime, should you have any questions or enquiries, please feel free to direct them to me via email or mobile (deets below in signature).
A little bit of background on me – I started off as a lighting tech with the (infamous) AV Company A, then moved into sales for an entertainment lighting supplier to then becoming a Key Account Manager for Company B three years ago for the Wholesale/Trade Channel.
You’re more than welcome to connect (or stalk) with me on LinkedIn -> Elly’s LinkedIn
Till we meet (or speak) – enjoy the rest of your day
Key Account Manager
What I thought to be a well constructed mass email to my new customers was perhaps not perceived that way. So in my email, I had introduced as to why I was emailing them, I had showcased my enthusiasm in creating further business with them and had provided a mini spruiking background on myself to give myself some credibility – how could you go wrong with that?
But what was brought to my attention was the type of language I had used in my email.
Apparently the use of the word ‘deets’, remarks of my previous employer as ‘infamous’ and my invitation to ‘stalk’ my LinkedIn profile had been interpreted by a customer as immature, unprofessional and disrespectful.
Now to my shock horror – this certainly was not my intention and it had me wondering – are my Gen Y characteristics deterring me from understanding my customers and what IS IT about being a Gen Y that seems to create the splinters of communication between the different generational segments?
So we’ve all been schooled on the different types of generational segments there are that are currently in the work force today – you have the Gen Y’s, the Gen X’s and the Baby Boomers – below is a snippet of the traits each segment has in a workplace environment:
So as a Gen Y, what makes me tick in the big bad world of sales? I think the question we need to be really asking is – what really makes me, or any Gen Y tick in the first place?
1. Strong Loyalty between own peer group: Contrary to what many believe about us Gen Y’s; we can be loyal – very fiercely loyal. Just because most Gen Y’s will not proclaim to be a ‘one company woman/man’ on the first day of employment does not necessarily mean we do not want to be loyal – we just need you to earn our loyalty. But WHY? Because most Gen Y’s believe their skill sets can easily provide them with employment elsewhere if they’re dissatisfied. Does this make us cocky and disloyal? No – it just means that we prefer transparency from word dot and this is how personally I, as a Gen Y, like to conduct sales. Transparency. My belief is to obtain the loyalty of my prospects and customers by conducting my work and establishing my relationship with them as transparently as possible. I mean – what’s the point of spinning lies if it’s all going to come out in the wash anyways? I’m confident that I don’t make the mistakes where I would need to be non-transparent; and unfortunately mistakes or obstacles that do arise for my customers is usually not due to anything within my control. There’s a simple formula for me to be transparent with my customers (and in turn create loyalty from them) and that is –
Transparency from the company I work for + Transparency from my direct manager = Transparency from me to my customer
2. Reach decisions with Consensus and the need for assurance: Within a company or even in a job function, nothing can be achieved if we were all stuck in our own little bubble of expertise. This sort of attitude within a company only creates internal competition, internal disjointedness and essentially – encourages everybody to disrespect each other’s expertise and skill-set. Hence the reason why I strongly believe in reaching decisions with consensus. Imperative key decisions that impact me or my job function should be conducted involving me and anyone else essentially affected by the decision. As a Gen Y, we are hungry for the respect to provide input on important decisions. Specifically in my line of work, decisions involved in creating sales strategies for our customers is an avenue that I rate as a high priority of my job. I hate, and let me emphasise hate, being dictated on what sales strategy I need to implement. If that were ever to happen, my natural response is to pull on the brakes, refuse to comply and therefore result in a disjointed strategy, all because I was not involved in the process. The very act of making key decisions, whether internally or externally with customers are weighed by the value both parties involved would gain. If a customer needs an important decision to be executed – involving a Gen Y in that decision, will only encourage forward thinking and allow them to grow in their career towards leadership which in turn provides the Gen Y an affirmation of their expertise and skills. Being a Gen Y means we love to be rewarded and recognized for our efforts – and it doesn’t have to come in the form of free movie tickets after each quarter of successful sales – instead, positive reinforcement is usually enough. As many of you know, the Gen Y’s love having a say – just look at their Facebook or Twitter accounts – a lot of content they provide is just their two cents worth (sometimes un-invitingly) – it’s just ingrained in our nature to have a say.
3. Not influenced by power or authority: Especially in sales – there is one thing for sure that us Gen Y’s are known for – and that is we are ‘hands-on learners’, kinaesthetic and need to ‘practically’ practice what we know or have learnt. I’m impatient and my expectations are high, and I want to see the results of what I am doing instantaneously – it’s all I’ve ever known. So in saying this, doing the same monotonous thing can bore me and in turn, leave me desiring for something more. A good authority figure recognizes, with correct guidance, when a Gen Y needs to be mentally stimulated and will encourage their Gen Y subordinate to continuously challenge themself to keep them interested and motivated. But, when an authority dictates and micromanages a Gen Y on how to perform their duties in their job function or their decisions concerning their customers, it can turn a bit ugly. Why? Because Gen Y’s don’t care about what authorities think. I certainly have a stainless steel attitude that it is my skills and input that determines the successes I achieve and I certainly don’t need a big patriarch in the ‘big scary head office’ telling me what to do. As mentioned above in regards to loyalty – we can be loyal and respect authority if authority gives us the opportunity to respect our decisions and inputs by motivating, challenging us, inspiring us, mentoring us and bringing us in as a team for key decisions.
4. What’s in it for me? Authorities need to understand the Gen Y’s ‘whats in it for me?’ attitude.
This is gonna sound harsh – but I look at every potential sales call as a ‘what’s in it for me?’. This seems superficial and dispassionate but I’m being brutally honest. Think about it like this – when I focus on each customer as a ‘What’s in it for me?’ I then start to apply that question to them. “What’s in it for them?”.
What’s in it for me is sales, which in turn equals to commissions – monetary gain. But how do we get there to achieve the subsets to those sales such as customer loyalty, return business and increase of personal brand? Why – it’s understanding what’s in it for the customer isn’t it?
Using my current customers as examples, the imperative factors that determine whether they are getting what they want out of me – is good service, correct technical information, real value propositions, business partnership alignment and ofcourse – the right sort of pricing. Pin pointing these factors and building sales strategies around them is going to be the sure win avenue in gaining essentially what I want, and that is to establish ‘what’s in it for me’.
Even though being a Gen Y may brand me as immature, spoilt, disloyal and unprofessional – there’s one thing for certain. Being a Gen Y means I am adapting to the current pace of business in today’s society. What do I mean? Well think about it, our customers expects answers within the hour of the question asked – this is instantaneous gratification (precisely how Gen Y’s operate), customers expect us to involve them in an open forum in regards to important decisions regarding the business relationship (precisely how Gen Y’s operate), customers need to be involved and work alongside their suppliers for their own success (precisely how Gen Y’s operate) and customers are constantly questioning how a business relationship is beneficial to them which is exactly how Gen Y’s tend to operate. Maybe it’s just my Gen Y arrogance – but I don’t necessarily think being a Gen Y is such a bad thing – especially since we’re going to be the new leaders in the workforce.