31 Aug Working with Millennial Clients
Millennials were born between 1981 and 1996. As Chuck Underwood pointed out during one of our last webinars, they are a very optimistic and tech savvy generation. They are also the most classroom education generation in history. Their background causes a variety of generational differences that you will want to be aware of when working with this group.
Chuck Underwood is considered a leading expert in the diversity of communication styles between generations. He is 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. He is also a popular national speaker.
In regards to Millennials, Underwood noted, “They want to make a big, positive different in life on earth. And that makes many of their core values similar to the Baby Boomers. Unlike the Boomers, they got off to the rockiest start in the history of the American workplace because of two factors that are beyond their control.” The two factors Underwood is referencing is the COVID pandemic and governmental dysfunction.
It is also very important to note that Millennials are the most adult supervised generation in history. So-called “helicopter parents” who work to protect their children from setbacks are the norm. Or as Underwood stated, “My darling Millennial child you are the center of the entire universe.” Employers find that Millennials are entering adulthood, but are still relying upon their parents to help them make decisions and even career choices.
As Underwood points out, where Gen Xers are distrustful of the “wisdom of their elders,” Millennials actively seek out such advice. Likewise, Millennials tend to volunteer a good deal and look for ways to solve the world’s largest problems.
The formative years of Millennials were not without scary and defining moments, ranging from the terror attacks of 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina and waves of school shootings beginning with Columbine.
As Underwood states, “Millennials have become our boots on the ground in our nation’s war against terrorism. These unique times in their formative years, when coupled with the teachings from their elders, give them their core values.”
Yet, Underwood recommends that business brokers understand that Millennials have suffered from the over-parenting they have experienced as well as their intense exposure to and use of technology.
Influence of Technology
The technological revolution means that Millennials have essentially never known a time where information wasn’t instantly available. As Underwood puts it, information has been learned “in tiny mini blasts instead of deep learning.” The de facto tech addiction, or at the very least acute overreliance on technology, has led to issues with Millennial’s soft skills. They can often lack the ability to read another person’s body language and adjust accordingly.
Brokering Deals with Millennials
If you are a business brokers or M&A Advisor working with Millennial clients, you will find that they will enjoy building a relationship with you. Keep in mind these individuals tend to be quite socially conscious and they may very well expect you to agree with their views. Additionally, there is a chance that they will have their parents involved.
Whereas Gen Xers are very independent minded, the opposite is true for Millennials. They may expect you to be accessible whenever they need you.
In the end, regardless of what generation you are working with, it is important that you continually adapt. True professionals always adapt to their client’s needs. A key part of this adaptation process is to factor in which generation your client belongs to and adjust accordingly.