Perhaps Baby Boomers should be renamed “Economic Boomers.” As a statistical demographic, Boomers (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those born between 1946 and 1964) control more than half of U.S. discretionary spending and hold more than 70% of the country’s wealth. Plus, a behavioral trend indicates that they are still spending that money, even during the recession.
That’s why one expert, Steve Howard, author of the new book Boomer Selling, (ACTion Press, www.boomerselling.com), says that Boomers hold the key to America’s economic recovery and that the best thing American business could do right now is market to boomers.
“When the American economy recovers, it will be on the backs of Baby Boomers,” says Howard. “Consumer spending is the backbone of our economy, and Boomers are still spending–they are simply being more selective than before the recession. They are conspicuous consumers, but they are also smart consumers, and their buying patterns help the cream of American business rise to the top. When selling to them, you can’t ‘quick close’ them, you can’t corner them into buying something they don’t want, and you can’t trick them into buying something they can’t afford. So, the best thing any business in America could do right now is to learn how to sell to Boomers. It’s not just good for business—it’s good for the economy.”
The key, says Howard, is understanding the psyche of the Boomers and how they make buying decisions:
- They are smart, insecure, caring, direct, confident, and suspicious.
- They’ve seen every sales trick in the book and hate most of them.
- They are the vanguard of the consumer culture, so marketers and sales people have been trying to sell to them since they saw their first cereal commercial on a 12 inch black and white TV.
- The find sales tricks and pressure tactics insulting.
- They not only know the value of a dollar, but they also know the value of a penny. They’ll buy a $1,000 suit at Nordstrom, then stop at Wal-Mart for socks.
- They are expert hagglers. Their favorite question to a salesperson is, “Is that the best you can do?”
- They think they are special, and they believe they should be recognized as such.
So, if they are so difficult, why bother with them? “The short answer,” says Howard, is “because that’s where the money is.” They may be savvy and egotistical, but they are also loyal and offer referrals to people who go out of their way to take care of them. They are a lot of work for salespeople, but if you can earn their trust and confidence, they will be the best customers you ever had.”
For more information about Boomer Selling, visit www.boomerselling.com