I am not a millennial or a baby boomer. Having joined the insurance industry more than 11 years ago, I know that the majority of people in the industry are either older members of Generation X or younger baby boomers.
The million-dollar question is: How do we relate to the largest population bubble, the millennials? How do we sell to them? How do we build lasting symbiotic relationships that benefit our clients and make our careers more meaningful?
First, understand that millennials grew up with the internet, which gave them the ability to fact-check and research almost anything with a few clicks of a mouse. Then keep in mind the following as you try to relate and sell to them:
They want to do research and will fact-check you. As advisors, we often think we know it all and believe we know what’s best. However, thanks to the internet, everyone else in the world now has almost as much information as we do. Instead of worrying about competing with the internet, though, tell your prospects where they can research what you are saying. If you want to build trust, tell millenials where they can do research about your products, including their pros and cons.
Explain and communicate options. Because millennials are accustomed to looking everything up, you must be ready to explain the full spectrum of the products you offer. Have something simple and visible to show them, and illustrate your options to your younger prospects. Be sure to explain how the products work, how they are used to address specific problems and how they differ.
They do not place much importance on trophies or plaques. With this generation, everyone received a trophy just for being on the team. So your award or plaque doesn’t resonate with them. They put more stock in referrals from friends who have done business with you. They want to know you have done right by their friends, they can trust you and you can accommodate their schedules.
Skip the tie and grab a cup of joe. Most millennials have been employed only in casual work environments. What we consider nontraditional offices are the norm to them. As a result, they are open to meeting with you while you are getting a cup of coffee and don’t minding receiving calls on the weekend or in the evening. The other side of the coin is that many of them may want to meet with you during nontraditional office hours and not necessarily in your office.
It used to be that prospects wanted to see your office to get a feel for how successful you are. Now, with so much business conducted over the internet or the telephone, most of them are just as happy meeting at a coffee shop or participating in conference calls.
Create a unique experience. You don’t have to rent a hot air balloon, but as a marketing piece, have something small, or useful to them, such as cellphone battery bricks. Do something small to stay in front of them and to thank them for their business. Let them feel that you can create solutions as unique as they are. Millennials are also more interested in learning that you are doing something positive for the world, so be sure to show what you are doing to support your community and the world around you.
Be available. I hear from older successful advisors how they work only a couple of weeks a month or a few months a year. While millennials might want to meet during nontraditional hours, that doesn’t mean you have to work yourself ragged. If you want to get into the millennial market, give yourself time during the day to do the things you want to do, and be available for a call or a cup of coffee during the hours they want to meet with you.
Be social. Use social media to share useful, relevant information with your clients. Celebrate your team and show your personal as well as your professional side. People don’t want to go to Facebook and read about how they are underinsured. Instead, share stories about how your products have changed lives in a positive way.
There is no secret to having success in the millennial market. For many of us, millennials have been a mystery, but the key is in understanding how they differ from us as well as how to relate to and do business with them in the way they like.