A young prospect, in his mid- 20s, was walking through the door. Now, I’ve done many client seminars throughout the years and had strong success with them. I mean, where else can you get 25 clients/prospects in one place and commit to a meeting with you at the same time?
Experience has taught us when we advertise our events, to be very specific as far as the age demographic we're targeting — pre-retirees. But here was a millennial walking in and sitting down. I wondered if he’d be a distraction. I quickly discovered that, yes, he was a distraction.
But it was because he was responding to the questions the speaker was asking and I was impressed with his answers. Come to find out, he was a teacher in the local school district and was interested in life insurance. And not just term insurance, but in an Indexed Universal Life policy.
Understand How to Sell Across Generational Divides
What this tells me is it’s not just one or two generations that are interested in what we sell. After having this one person from a younger generation at my seminar, I now think I could have had more. But I know we can’t market and sell to them in the same way.
Recognizing generational differences in the way we market and sell is more important now than at any other time in our history. Here’s why:
There are more generations alive now than ever before due to modern medicine and affluence lending itself to longevity. Amongst the many demographics — Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials — values and preferences are different so if you can meet a prospect or client where they’re at, you are more likely to provide a more relevant, valuable experience to them. Meeting them where they’re at simply means you are connecting with them in a way that’s effective for them.
Of course, generational biases are not ironclad, and birth date does not dictate personality. But it's still a good idea, when applying generational tactics in marketing and selling, to learn about the generations and become familiar with each one’s characteristics, likes, and dislikes.
Once we do that, we can begin to understand how to sell across generational divides rather than allowing those differences to short circuit a crucial connection and prevent us from providing the best service to our clients -- regardless of their age.
Ask the right questions
One way we can attempt to understand how a prospective client’s background can affect their buying preferences is to start by asking the right questions. As an example, during my fact finder with a prospect, I begin with questions such as:
- Where are you from, and what was it like growing up?
- What did you learn about money growing up?
- What was the hardest lesson you’ve had regarding money?
I do this because the information they will share with me during the first half of the meeting allows me to better understand their buying preferences and what’s important to them while at the same time, building rapport.
Proper Fact Finding Creates Better Results
Fact finding is like an MRI health scan. It helps you dive deep into your client's perceptions and financial make-up to better understand them and identify their financial goals so you can find ways to appeal to them. Using a well-designed fact-finder to understand your prospects, regardless of which generation they belong to, is an important first step in a successful sales process.
Determine the best approach
Each generation likes to be approached in the sales process in a different way. Not everyone will completely fit with the norms of their generation, but just knowing that there are commonalities amongst various generations and differences across generations, can set you up for greater success.
Baby Boomer Communication Style:
- Like one-on-one conversations and in-person meetings
- Still appreciate printed sales materials like brochures
- But are also comfortable with accessing information online
- They appreciate you working to earn their business
- Remember to build a relationship and have ongoing dialogue with them
Gen X-er Communication Style:
- Intent on doing their own research, making sure they aren't being taken advantage of and that they're getting a good deal or the best product
- Likely to come to you by way of referral because they seek out and value the advice and recommendations of their peers
- They do like personal space when doing business, so conduct conversations via phone or email so they can weigh their options on their own more easily
- Tend to want to get right to the point, unlike a Baby Boomer might, so cut the small talk
Millennial Communication Style:
- For Millenials, you definitely want to have your online presence in place and all the necessary information about your business and what you do included there
- They are confident in their decisions, but they may seek advice from friends or family -- honor and acknowledge this
- Appreciate you giving all the information they need upfront -- they may not want to have to go find it and fill in the details themselves so walk them through things
- They are also very civic-minded so draw that connection for them between your business and a greater cause
- You should have a strong brand and one that is socially conscious because this is important to them as well.
- Aren't opposed to walking away at a moment's notice for someone who they better align with.
- And of course, since they grew up in the digital age, they want to correspond via text or social
Right now, we have the opportunity to appeal to multiple generations with the services we provide, including younger generations. But we have to go about it in a way that resonates with each unique demographic group for maximum impact.
Need help collecting important info about your clients? Get your fact-finder by clicking below.