Friday, January 17, 2020

Business with a Boomer - 7 Keys

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Accompanied by my bride - I forayed to the Apple store in the Irvine Spectrum last week. After all, Apple accoutrements are the jewelry of the 2020s. Wow! The modern monolith is maxed with more mobile devices and red shirted millennials than a Kylie Jenner Instagram.

Shopping was proceeding quite swimmingly until we selected our items and method of receipt - email or - wait for the eye roll - paper. With the sizable sale secured - our red shirt directed us to a table which required a 1950’s birth date. Akin to craft time at Leisure World - our “helper” adopted a condescending tone reserved for all need help “restoring from iCloud.” But I digress.

Today, with this experience as a backdrop - I decided to provide a bit of a primer for doing biz with an old timer. So here goes - how to successfully do business with a baby boomer.

We didn't get your email. Don't ask us this question. Instead, use this framework. If something is mission critical, call us, then send a confirming email, then if you haven't received a response, call us again and ask this question - do you have any questions that I can answer on the email I sent you? If you truly want to know if we received your email, set the "received and read" receipt feature to alert you.

When we say we will be there, only a cranial lobotomy will stop us. And when you tell us you will be someplace, you better be hemorrhaging body parts if you stiff us. My favorite is what I call the California RSVP - sure, I'll be there - unless something better comes up. Generally, if you flake, we're done with you, as this is a huge sign of disrespect.

CALL US, we won't be offended. We will actually be impressed that you took the time to dial us up to chat. Remember, we grew up in a time when the ONLY way to communicate, other than face-to face, was by telephone. We are comfortable with the phone and enjoy the interaction.

TIME matters to us. My grandmother used to say - “if you're ten minutes early, you're on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re fired!” The only possible exception would be a party where you are one of a number of guests - then it is a bit clunky to be early. But, in a business setting, we believe it is extraordinarily rude to be late. 

We probably know your boss - or someone who knows your boss. Don't underestimate our networks and the way in which we use them. Chances are we've checked you out, through a common acquaintance, prior to our meeting - and if our dealings aren't the smoothest, we don't hesitate to call your boss and let him/her know.

We respect authority. We therefore have a deep respect for our elders - whether or not they deserve it. Show us the same respect, even if you have to fake it. Like Richard Pryor once opined, "they ain't many old fools. You don't get old bein' no fool. There are lots of young fools and they end up dead.”

A hand written note will win us forever. We were taught gratitude by the greatest generation. Don't forget to thank us, for our time, our advice, our willingness to help, the lesson in how to tie a bow tie, etc. If you really want to WOW us, send us a note - by hand - in an envelope - with a stamp on it! 

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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