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Are You Prepared to Sell in Generation Y’s World?

Article Highlights:

  • Gen Y doesn't purchase anything without doing the research first.
  • "I'd done my research and knew what similar vehicles were priced..."

Editors Note: This article was written by guest author Nugeen Aftab, who was a summer intern in the Reynolds Marketing Communications department.


Generation Y, also known as the digital generation, has only known a world filled with instant information. This has resulted in a new age of shoppers who do extensive research on products, services, and companies before deciding to purchase.

What does this mean for your business? It means your sales techniques may need to change to keep up with your changing customers.

I sat down with Amberly, a Generation Y shopper, to talk about her new car buying experience. The four dealerships she visited were not prepared for her buying strategy and her service experience was less than desirable.

Find out what mistakes this dealership made so you don’t make them.

N. How do you think Gen Y’s experience is different than past generations?

A. Oh, it’s so different! People used to stroll into a dealership on a Saturday with no research. They’d spend the entire day there. Millennials come a lot more prepared, which means car dealerships need to be a lot more prepared too.

N. I take it you were prepared. What kind of research did you do beforehand?

A. Well, I had been doing research in my off-time, finding cars I liked. I would hear about a car with a good safety rating or a car that got a new award and put it in the back of my mind for later. I had an idea of what I wanted.

I Googled the two models I had in mind. I knew one had good fuel efficiency and was the right size, but I wanted to read some reviews and compare the two. So, I just looked at whatever popped up in the search rankings.

I also checked out different dealership websites in the surrounding cities. Once I found the dealerships with the vehicles I was interested in, I made a list and went to visit them. I ended four dealerships.

N. Why didn’t you purchase from the first three dealerships you went to?

A. I really liked the dealerships and the sales guys were really nice, but they couldn’t get as low as I wanted on the price. I’d done my research and knew what similar vehicles were priced at other dealerships. So we kept looking until I could find one in my price range.

N. Can you walk me through your experience at the dealership you bought from?

A. Well, this was my fourth dealership visit so I knew what I wanted. I actually had the exact car picked out before I walked into the store. I didn’t even need to test drive the vehicle; I’d done that already. When I got to the final dealership, I was really just banking they could meet my price.

I could tell the salesperson was beating around the bush, still trying to make the sale, but I had already made the decision to buy. He didn’t need to sell me on it; he just needed to match my price and send me on to the finance office. This was my fourth dealership; I’d done all my research and I was already sold on the car.

N. Do you think that mentality is all part of the new Generation Y buying experience?

A. Yes, I think that’s true for a lot of car buyers now. We know the car we want; we’ve done all the research online. If it’s new, we may not even need to test drive it. We’ve researched prices and payments and already have a figure in mind. All the sales person really needs to do is help us drive away with our car.

N. Back to your experience, how was it after you purchased the car and the selling was over?

A. I was comfortable during the selling process and the finance office, but since then, it’s been a little frustrating.

They spelled my name wrong. I had to go all the way back down to the dealership to get it changed. I signed so much paperwork with my name on it and it was still wrong on my title. I was so frustrated!

Once all that was done, there were a couple issues with my remote start being installed. What sold me on the car was the warranty covering the remote start installation. When I went to get it installed, they told me it wasn’t covered. I had it installed anyway because I really wanted it.

After the installation, my traction-control light was permanently on. I had to go back to the dealership. They figured out an aftermarket remote start couldn’t be installed on that particular vehicle. I was unbelievably mad! They ended up finding a remote start that would work, but it still didn’t fix the initial mistake or the warranty oversight.

N. Do you think you’ll go back to that dealership for service or another purchase?

A. I definitely wouldn’t go back to that dealership! Not even just because of the remote start. The title issue rubbed me the wrong way. It was my first new car purchase so it was really frustrating. It kind of put a bad taste in my mouth.


With the number of Generation Y buyers increasing, it’s becoming more and more important to provide a great experience initially online and then in both sales and service.

Is your dealership meeting this need? Your customers are evolving and so should your customer experience.

This article is part of a new series featuring Generation Y customers and their experience when buying cars. Generation Y is the newest customer coming through your dealership’s doors, and we want to help you understand them better!

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is a Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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