Baby Boomers should be renamed Economic Boomers.
As a statistical demographic, they control more than half of the discretionary spending, they hold more than 70 percent of the country's wealth and a behavioral trend that indicates that they are still spending that money, even during the recession.
That's why, according to Steve Howard, they hold the key to America's economic recovery and why the best thing American business could do right now is market to them.
"When the American economy recovers, it will be on the backs of Baby Boomers," Howard says. He is the author of "Boomer Selling," from ACTion Press. "Consumer spending is the backbone of our economy, and Boomers are still spending — they are simply being more selective than before the recession."
When selling to them, you can't 'quick close,' he says. You also can't corner them or trick them into buying something they can't afford.
Boomers carry with them not only the hopes of companies that offer consumer products and services, but also the economy itself.
Howard described the characteristics of Boomers, and how they decide to buy:
•They are smart, insecure, caring, direct, confident and suspicious.
•They've seen every sales trick in the book and hate most of them.
•They are the vanguard of the consumer culture, so marketers and sales people have been trying to sell to them since they saw their first cereal commercial on a 12 inch black and white TV (before cable).
•Sales tricks and pressure tactics do nothing but insult them.
•They not only know the value of a dollar, but they also know the value of a penny. They'll buy a $1,000 suit at Nordstrom's, then stop at Wal-Mart for socks.
•They sometimes don't make sense — they'll remodel their kitchen with a giant six-burner stainless steel range, and then use it for heating water for tea.
•They'll bargain and haggle at the drop of a hat, squeezing concessions from salespeople. They’re favorite question is "is that the best you can do?"
•They know they are special, and they believe they should be recognized for being unique.