What do you suppose prospective clients are looking for in an advisor? In my research and thought process for this column, it became evident to me that in order to be relevant to our prospects we must become what they want.
Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, the author of “Great People Decisions,” is a Harvard Business Review contributor. In his research, Claudio discovered that young executives have higher potential for success than the average worker in a global database. Senior executives have lower than average competence. The difference is obviously not experience. The difference is in the ability of younger executives to continue to adapt to a changing marketplace. Fernandez-Araoz says, “There’s nothing wrong with a perfectly linear career if you are proactively growing and learning and successfully performing at ever higher levels of complexity.”
How does this new realization translate to the insurance industry? We must be consistently considering what our prospects want, first of all. Then we must research the best available products to fulfill what they want. Then we need to prospect with those concepts that fill those wants. For example, if you work in the retiree market, as I do, is there a difference in today’s retirees (baby boomers) and the previous generation? Well, of course there is.
The previous generation was all about a nuclear family, staying together for a lifetime. As a group, they are very loyal and believe honor and integrity should guide their decisions. On the other hand, baby boomers are more independent thinkers. They are not as loyal to other people if there are better choices available. They will also take their time researching possibilities because of the availability of information online. They also have a tendency to look out for No. 1. Because of these tendencies, they appear to want products, concepts and services that serve them personally rather than someone else. I believe we will see a shift toward long-term care sales and life insurance that has cash accumulation. Also, performance of earnings will continue to be of great importance.
How about younger prospects — how do they think? Social connections are extremely important to today’s young adults. They also realize that rescue is not on the way. They believe their fate is in their hands. They also know how to find what they want or need. They let their thumbs do the walking. Communication is brief and to the point. Socializing is in person or online, not on the phone. Recently I sold two young adults, ages 34 and 28 respectively, return of premium life policies. Both had new babies under 2 years old and realized their responsibilities. They wanted enough coverage but also liked getting their money back. Very practical.
Researching for results on Google will give you some greater insight on how each generation thinks and responds to marketing and financial products in general. If you do your homework on prospect types, you increase your prospecting results.
Editor’s note: For more insight on how each generation thinks about life insurance products, see this month’s main theme section, “Selling by Generation,” starting on page 28.