I was recently in a conversation with a dealer principle in a motor dealership. He recounted how many of his sales people have a two stage process to the purchase of a car by a Baby Boomer.
The Boomer comes into the showroom and is taken through all of the sales processes associated with their vehicle of choice. Experienced sales people can gauge that the client is “sold” on the product. Historically, the sales person would be able to get the person to move through to the financing and purchasing process with relatively little effort, but this has recently begun to change.
Buyers who are personally happy with the vehicle choice will put the brakes on the sale and tell the sales person that they need to go home and check with the family. On the return visit the buyer is more often accompanied by their children than their spouse. If the child is excited by the vehicle the deal is done. If, however, the child doesn’t like the car the deal begins to die and the sales person needs to work extra hard to revive it, if that is even more possible.
If the child likes the car the choice of specific options selected is more often driven by the child than the parent, especially where this relates to tech options like Bluetooth, passive safety systems, and multimedia.
The lesson? If you want to get Baby Boomers to purchase your product you cannot loose sight of the fact that they are the final purchaser of the product, and that you still need to get them in the door to consider your product. At the same time, however, there needs to be a parallel connection with their Gen Y children because if the kids think the product is cool the deal is done, or undone if they don’t. Put another way – Baby Boomers want to impress their kids with their coolness when buying a product, and you need to connect with their kids if you want to ride that wave.