Generational Strategies for Engagements

Generational Strategies for Engagements

In our recent webinar “Generational Strategies for Engagements,” Chuck Underwood discussed how generational differences do matter in the business world. The time periods during which business owners grew up helped to shape their ideas, who they have become, and how they run their businesses.

Underwood is considered a leading expert in the diversity of communication styles between generations. He the author of a major book on the subject as well as host of the long-running “America’s Generations with Chuck Underwood” on PBS. Underwood makes his living consulting with businesses, non-profits, and institutions national-wide.

Generational Sensitivity

Underwood’s perspective is that people of each generation were molded by their unique formative years. You must interact with buyers and sellers with this fact in mind. The decisions that buyers and sellers make, including their professional and personal behavior, will be impacted by their generation. Savvy business brokers and M&A Advisors will be well served by investing the time to understand what generation a given buyer or seller is in and thinking through their strategies.

Underwood details the three generations that business brokers with interact with the most including Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials. In thinking about generations, he notes, “Generational sensitivity helps you work better with fellow brokers and helps them get along better with you. This knowledge also helps you to more thoroughly identify your own generational biases, generational strengths and generational weaknesses…” In short, incorporating generational differences into your day-to-day approach with buyers, sellers and other business brokers will help you achieve greater overall success.

Working with Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are a major force in the business world. While they often possess a patriotic passion to improve the country, they were also witness to time of great change via many movements including the civil rights and women’s movement.

When you’re dealing with Baby Boomers, it is important to remember that they will want to build relationships and get to know you. Common courtesy is very important to Baby Boomers. That means they’ll expect you to show up on time and turn your phone off during meetings. Boomers have a tendency be perfectionists.  As a result, they will beat themselves up for any mistakes they might make. That perfectionism also translates into a desire to have the “fluff” deleted.

You’ll want to keep in mind that older Baby Boomers may be experiencing hearing and eyesight loss. As a result, you’ll want to help your type and font size larger, and make text easy to read. Other recommendations include having comfortable chairs for meetings, and scheduling frequent breaks. Finally, don’t refer to Baby Boomers as entering their “golden years” or the “prime of their lives,” as this can be seen as an insult.

When you’re working with your clients, it only makes sense to pay attention to the generation during which they were raised in and adapt your approach accordingly. Understanding generational differences will help you get a leg up on the competition while at the same time helping your clients achieve their goals.