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Millennials with Kelly Shelton, The Shop VA

Millennials could be considered one of the most popular buzzwords of the decade, with numerous articles being published almost daily about the generation. Many of these articles claim that this generation (noticeably the largest and most diverse of ages) is different from those before it, some even claiming that millennials are harder to work with and harder to market. While the data on these claims seems to go back and forth, it’s true that any generation will be different from the previous and therefore different methods may be needed for marketing and hiring.

To help us make sense of working with and marketing to millennials, we talked with Kelly Shelton. Kelly is the shop owner of The Shop VA and on top of working with many millennials in his shop, is a millennial himself. Take a look at what he had to say about working with and marketing to millennials:

How does working with millennials differ compared to other generations?

“I think the biggest difference I have noticed is that some generations will tolerate or put up with a toxic work environment or mistreatment because they have a perception that it’s just part of the job. Millennials are hard workers, but they want to be treated fairly and work in an atmosphere where they are appreciated.”

What do you think the biggest pros are to having millennial staff? Are there any cons?

“Millennials are hungry, self-starters, and eager to progress. I’ve noticed more of a mentality to accomplish goals and reach objectives because they don’t enjoy feeling stagnant. There isn’t the entitlement that if you just work the job then you will be promoted. They have more of a mindset that it has to be earned. In addition, millennials are tech-savvy, so operating a shop on 21st century technology is easier when you have a team full of people with high technical aptitude. That also applies to the complexities of cars and technological systems that cars are built and designed with today.”

What tips do you have for shop owners looking to hire and work with millennials?

“You must be progressive. Your shop and culture need to be at the top of their game and have a solid direction going forward. Millennials aren’t looking for a dead-end job, but instead looking to be a part of something that will grow. Make sure you have a good-looking shop, offer exceptional benefits and pay, and have a team that they want to be a part of.”

Does your marketing cater to millennials? If not, why and if so, what changes have you made to do so?

“Yes and no. Some of our marketing does, but some of our marketing caters to non-millennials. But I would say that our marketing is all “Millennial-Conscious,” which means we’re active on social platforms, have an attractive website, do cool stuff that drives engagement, and maintain a high rating on review sites. Those are things millennials look for and pay attention to.”

What characteristics do millennial customers have?

“In general, I would say they are less price-focused and more value-focused. They care more about receiving a good product for their money and not just a cheap product. Millennials want the latest and greatest.”

As a shop owner, do you find servicing millennial customers to be harder or easier?

“I think it’s easy, but I am a millennial, so I kind of speak the language. Because millennials are value-focused buyers, I just try to provide the type of service that I would like to have myself.”

If you could only give on piece of advice to shop owners looking to work with and market to millennials, what would it be?

“Don’t think of millennials differently than anybody else. At the end of the day, everybody wants a good job, wants a good product, wants good value, to be treated fairly, and enjoy the people they are working with. If you’re not the best option for those things, then millennials aren’t afraid to go somewhere else.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. While there are different characteristics to millennials as customers and employees, they want what we all want in the end: a meaningful job, to be treated kindly, and to give and receive value. Do you have anything to add to Kelly’s advice on working with and marketing to millennials? Send us a message or contact us on social media to share!

Photo by Armstrong Ran, from The Shop VA's Gallery

And, if you’re looking for a great shop that services BMW, MINI, and Mercedes-Benz in the Richmond area, give The Shop VA a look. Kelly has a great team that is focused on building long-term relationships and providing the best service. Thanks again for sharing your wisdom Kelly!

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