Millennials Cannot Negotiate

Given our focus on business change, my recent fascination with millennials should come as no surprise. Millennials are the future. Millennials are business change, because one day millennials are going to be older and running everything.

But Millennials don’t know how to buy cars. Because millennials cannot negotiate.

I came across this article about millennials and car shopping the other day. It makes great points about how little millennials want to own and the clear trend among younger people to rent things instead. These aren’t new ideas; they’ve been bandied about everywhere for a few years.

But then something really important came up. Millennials don’t know how to buy cars because as inveterate renters the only issue they concentrate on is the monthly payment.

This isn’t by nature a problem; to renters, budgeted periodic cost is often all that matters. But car ownership (and even rentals/leasing, with the many blurred lines about responsibility) is special. You aren’t simply looking at the monthly price when you lease a car. Depreciation rates are built into the price formula and complicated by things like excess mileage costs. Even maintenance costs are a factor. So is financing and what you pay for it.

Home ownership is similarly complicated, albeit at a higher price tag. It’s nice to know that you won’t ever have to move due to other peoples’ choices, but unless you account for expenses like upkeep and taxes the monthly cost of your home can end up looking a lot different than you might have thought.

Why Millennials Cannot Negotiate

So why is it that millennials cannot negotiate? It’s tied to that rent-rather-than-buy thing. Renting is simple. Renting encourages simple thinking.

But older folks are … aging. As millennials grow into positions of greater business responsibility they’re going to need to understand more complex models.

Business change is largely about negotiation of one sort or another. Managing business changes well involves using every tool you have—and knowing what they are. Want proof? Just ask Barack Obama.

Millennials may have problems with their job interviewing skills, but they’re coming to your business—if they haven’t already. It’s on you to teach them negotiating skills, because “millennials cannot negotiate” isn’t an acceptable long-term situation.

Or if you need a hand, we’ll do it for you.

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