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How do you sell to Gen Z?

Young people holding mobile phones in a circle
Article Highlights:

  • Generation Z is starting to purchase vehicles.
  • Keep Gen Z customers engaged, and be honest with them.

Millennials are almost 40 and the buying habits they brought about are now the norm. Now the next generation – Generation Z – is starting to purchase vehicles, and dealerships need to know how to sell to them.

When it comes to technology, most Gen Z consumers haven’t even known a world without social media or Wi-Fi. They’ve always been plugged in, which affects their actions and buying behaviors.

While the exact range of years is disputed, Social Marketing categorizes Generation Z as those who were born after 1995. This puts the oldest Gen Z member around 24 years old – they’re already purchasing cars. That begs the question, how do you sell to them, or more accurately, how do they buy?

Show Them You Care

It’s important to show your customers you care about them, and it seems each new generation cares more about social issues than their elders. Gen Z’s are no exception, so it’s important to appeal to ‘the greater good’ in order to earn their business.

If your dealership carries electric cars or hybrids, make sure they know about those eco-friendly options. Furthermore, if you participate in local charity work or support the community, publicize those efforts. This will make it easier to differentiate yourself to get Gen Z’s attention.

Keep Them Engaged in the Process

Once you have a Gen Z customer in your showroom and ready to purchase a car, you need to keep them involved. The typical Gen Z member will jump on their phone as soon as they become un-interested. Keep them engaged and they’ll give you their full attention.

Interactive digital presentations focused on the customer keeps them interested and appeals to their tech-loving side. It can also lead to more money spent. Entice them with tech-centric, in-car features such as Bluetooth and interactive touchscreens.

Keep employees mobile and connected so your salespeople never have to leave their side. This ensures they won’t feel left out or forgotten. When your employees access info such as vehicle inventory and customer information at the touch of a button, it cuts down on wait times and keeps the whole vehicle sale process smooth.

Be Honest

Gen Z has the least amount of trust for traditional ads and marketing campaigns. In other words – they’re skeptical. They have also never had a question Google couldn’t answer, so they’re going to be educated when they walk onto your lot. If they know more than your salespeople, be transparent but helpful. Find out which criteria is actually important to them and try to focus on those strengths.

When selling in the F&I office, it’s crucial for your managers to be transparent. Gen Z members don’t have patience to sit through a sales pitch, so it’s likely they’ll rush to say no. Using a system that presents each finance and insurance option all at once keeps the customer engaged and in control.

Above all, such a system demonstrates that you’re not trying to hide any options from the customer, something Gen Z can appreciate. You’ll earn their trust this way which will keep them coming back for more.


Gen Z wants to change the world for the better – and wants to interact with brands and dealers who do the same. They value interactivity and honesty more than past generations. At the same time, they’re still young and have to manage their college debt. (Hint: leasing is a very attractive option! Less hit on a monthly budget, and less expensive maintenance).

Soon Gen Z will make up the majority of the consumer base, and you’ll need to be able to sell to them. Start implementing these tips now, and you won’t be left behind.

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Director, Reynolds Consulting Services

Carl Bennett is the vice president of customer success services. This team, under Bennet’s leadership, teaches automotive retailers in the U.S. and Canada how to achieve higher levels of success and better results throughout their dealership. Bennet has spent over 15 years with Reynolds, helping dealerships through training, consulting, and installation roles. Prior to joining Reynolds, Bennett worked in dealerships for 15 years as a general manager, finance director, and sales manager.

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