Is it time to change the way you’re prospecting?
I’m not a millennial—not even close—but I love the way they think, act, and react … mostly.
I don’t love seeing a table of millennials glued to their phones. Gathering for meals used to mean we talked to each other. How are they ever going to build a referral network or connect with clients if they’d rather type than talk?
But they certainly have one thing going for them in sales: They question everything.
In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, lead generation is tougher than it’s ever been. Prospecting strategies that once worked don’t work anymore, and cold calling—which never worked so great in the first place—is now a complete waste of time.
In this environment, sales leaders would be wise to take a cue from millennials and start asking, “Why are we working this way?” If there’s not a good answer, it might be time for a change.
Why Millennials Ask “Why”
There are many positive stereotypes about millennials, but there’s also plenty of talk about how they’re entitled, impatient, and unwilling to pay their dues in the workplace. (If “paying dues” means cold calling, I wouldn’t do it either.)
Why are millennials hellbent on shaking up the workforce? Perhaps because it needs a good shaking up sometimes.
Nicolas Cole puts it perfectly in his Inc. article, “The 1 Question That Gets Every Single Millennial in Trouble.”
The question “Why?” is, when asked by young people in the workforce, what tends to be met with opposition.
“Do this spreadsheet report this way.”—“Why?”
“Follow these rules.”—“Why?”
“You can’t execute that idea, it won’t work.”—“Why?”
And Millennials who ask the question “Why?” don’t ask it to be rebellious. Or to be a pain. Or to skip all the hard work because we’re impatient … Millennials ask “Why?” because we grew up in an age in which we could. Why would we just put our heads down and grind forward when we see, every single day, on every single media channel, the value of asking “Why?” We scroll through our Instagram feeds and see 20-year-old millionaires who preach asking the question “Why?” and not being afraid to go your own way and find your own answers. We go to YouTube and hear even the older generations of successful entrepreneurs talk about how, back when they were our age, everybody said they were wrong when they asked the question “Why?” But they stuck to their guns and trusted their instincts.
Millennials don’t ask this question out of impatience. We ask “Why?” because we genuinely want to help. We want to provide value. We want to do things better. We want to improve. We see the tools at our fingertips and cannot fathom why anyone wouldn’t be interested in finding better, faster, smarter ways to do things.
(Read the rest of Cole’s article for more.)
Why YOU Should Be Asking “Why”
Like millennials, I ask “why” all the time. We tend to get stuck in our ways—in our personal lives, in our businesses, and yes, in lead generation. We do things a certain way because that’s how we’ve always done them, or because that’s how our predecessors always did them. And we often fail to question whether there might be a better way.
I recall a story about a young girl whose mother always cut off the ends of a ham before putting it in the roasting pan. One day, the little girl asked her mother why she did that. The mother thought for a moment and said, “I don’t know. My mother always did it that way. Why don’t you call your grandmother?” The little girl asked her grandmother, who said, “That’s simple. The pan wasn’t big enough.”
Think about how often you ask “why”—how often you challenge conventional ways of thinking and working. Perhaps you’re more like millennials than you thought. If not, maybe you should be.