Working in the Hispanic market presents an opportunity for agents and advisors to serve individuals, families and business owners. However, this requires an understanding of the nuances that exist inside this fast-growing market. The Hispanic market is multifaceted and can present a challenge for advisors who take a one-size-fits-all approach.
The Hispanic Market
With a population of more than 50 million, and with $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, it is important to understand that the Hispanic market’s population growth is no longer limited to the “gateway states.” In her article “Hispanic Member Growth Not Just For Gateway States Anymore,” Miriam De Dios, CEO of Coopera, stated that the largest Hispanic population growth from 2007 to 2014 occurred in North Dakota, Kentucky, Louisiana, Delaware and Maryland.
There are more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries and each country has its own set of pronunciations, vocabularies and accents. Although individuals from different countries have no difficulty understanding each other in a conversation, the words used alone are not sufficient to build a strong relationship.
Identifying the prospect’s country of origin can provide important insights into their attitudes and experiences toward financial firms and financial advisors; their views on money, investing and savings; and their beliefs about protecting their loved ones.
Family And Core Values
Hispanics place a strong emphasis on family, and women are central to family life. They are major influencers in the family and often hold the key to family decisions. Hispanics also show reverence for tradition and ancestry, and they place a high value on relationships, trust and advice.
Engaging the entire family in making decisions is common. Parents, especially those not born in the U.S., believe that their children are more knowledgeable on the financial system in the U.S. So parents depend on their children to help make decisions. Thus children are often invited to financial meetings.
In working with this market, advisors are likely to be working with multiple generations within a family. The younger generation is more adept digitally. As a result, it is critical to leverage technology when working with them while utilizing traditional relationship-building skills with the older generation.
One-third of the Hispanic population is third-generation (or higher) in the U.S. and speaks English fluently. They think, speak and behave differently from their parents, but still identify with the family’s country of origin. In fact, research has indicated that bilingual audiences use English online, and a large percentage are loyal to companies whose marketing collateral and advertising incorporate Spanish and Hispanic cultural elements.
Engaging The Hispanic Market
So where should an advisor start to engage in this market? Here are four things to consider if you want to gain traction in this growing market:
1. Accelerate your learning curve. Consider joint work with an advisor who has a track record of success in this market, not just with someone who is bilingual. Being bilingual is only one element of the equation. Matching a joint work partner based on experience and commonality with your prospect eliminates roadblocks and provides you with a lift in credibility.
2. Invest time and resources to understanding the needs of the local community. To become the trusted advisor in your local Hispanic community, identify and connect with community leaders, speak with community members and become a partner at local events. Your goal should be to get a clear understanding of the unique needs of the local market and identify how you can be a resource.
3. Does your process resonate with women clients? The fastest-growing sector of Hispanic-owned businesses are women-owned and women-operated businesses. This provides agents and advisors with an opportunity to address the business and personal needs of women in this market.
4. Refine your referral process. Six in 10 Hispanics consider companies recommended by relatives, compared with only four in 10 of the general population, according to LIMRA research. Building relationships in this market can lead to introductions to other family members, friends and business acquaintances. If your goal is to build a referral-based practice, working in the Hispanic market will help you get there.
Evelyn Gellar, LUTCF, is head of strategic partnerships for myWorth LLC, a Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. Gellar is Immediate Past President of Women in Insurance and Financial Services, serves on NAIFA’s Diversity Task Force, and has received NAIFA’s Diversity Champion Award. Evelyn may be contacted at [email protected].