Whether marketing to men or women, seniors or boomers, the industry must tailor its solutions to each individual.
The torch is being passed
As they have ever since they arrived on the scene en masse, baby boomers are making their presence felt in the retirement advisory business. Thus they are forcing advisors and the industry as a whole accustomed to dealing with the Silent Generation or even the Greatest Generation to change their marketing and selling techniques as well as product mix.
That was just one of the themes that emerged from Senior Market Advisor’s second annual Industry Survey, taken by over 250 advisors, carrier executives and marketing organization managers.
Perhaps thats why, as the retirement market shifts to baby boomers, services and products like 401(k) rollovers, life insurance, long-term care insurance and Medicare Supplements take on more importance.
Boomer top-of-mind concerns — how to accumulate and preserve a nest egg in the absence of pensions, the future of Social Security — are unlike those of seniors and must be addressed in distinctive services and products. Let’s not forget the difference when that boomer is a man or a woman. Yep, men and women are different and advisors must adjust their message accordingly. Truly, no one product or service fits every individual (see page 38).
Sick over health care
Forget what’s in their wallet. A medical bill in the mailbox is now what worries clients the most, or so say front-line industry pros.
With the economic seas calmed a bit and their personal financial status conceivably on firmer ground, clients now fret about health care and how it will impact their retirement. By a slim margin, health care overtook the economy as the top worry of consumers who seek financial and insurance advice.
But they have other worries too, like outliving their savings accounts and being tied to their office chair longer than they envisioned. All this implies that advisors must deal with an increasingly anxious clientele that require a fair bit of patience and hand-holding.
“Clients or prospects are generally more skeptical about making any changes to their financial picture, whether it’s in relation to asset allocation or an insurance product recommendation. There is certainly more skepticism among potential clients.”
~Ron L. Stahl
“Gone are the days of ‘I’ve got three plans...’ You really must do more in order to not simply get the sale, but keep it.”
~Eustace L. Greaves, Jr.
Here are highlights from SMA’s 2012 Industry Survey. We thank all those who participated. Check back next year to see how much — or little — has changed.
Business is booming…
Are the older baby boomers having an impact on your business?
“They (older boomers) are worried about the real possibility of how increased inflation and taxes and the high cost of medical and long-term care will impact their retirement. They are concerned about what I call ‘long on life and short on cash.’ ”
~David L. Spinner
“Many of them have to understand that retirement has become more their responsibility. They need to save and contribute more than they did in the past if they want to live comfortably in retirement.”
~James R. Veal
“I’m writing more annuity business as people are retiring and rolling over their 401(k) plans.”
“They are continuing to work longer to not outlive their income.”
“Some of these folks are retiring early and potentially looking for insurance needs outside of what their employer had previously offered. In some cases, there may be no or limited insurance benefits upon retirement. This seems to also be a time when income is changing and perhaps it is time to finally review life insurance again after putting it off for so many months or years. A lot of prospects who are healthy may be looking to get an individual health insurance policy until they get to Medicare age because their plan is not affordable or their employer is not helping to pay their premiums. Long-term care needs and investment concerns seem to also be addressed more actively at this point.”
~Ron L. Stahl
Do you market and sell differently to boomers than seniors?
“Senior and boomer clients are not the same. I do a lot of business with senior clients either in person or via direct mail, whereas business with my boomer clients is done more often over the Internet via email and in person.”
~Ron L. Stahl
“Seniors are concerned about leaving a legacy and having a say in how care is provided. Boomers have no time to make up losses and are concerned about not outliving their money. A return of their money could be as important as a return on their money.”
“I have not made any distinctions between the two.”
“I approach every client as an individual regardless of age.”
Mars vs. Venus
Do you change how you sell and market when dealing with a man or a woman?
“No, not really. Most of my clients (85 percent) are women so I concentrate on women issues and challenges.”
~James R. Veal
“Men tend to be more impatient and have the ‘why should I do business with you?’ mentality. If a concept sounds good to a male prospect, then he usually acts quickly on it. With women prospects, there usually needs to be a more educational, trust-building approach. Females generally do not agree to do business immediately.”
~Ron L. Stahl
“Women—emotional purchase, how they feel about the topic. Men—logical purchase, their role in providing and longevity issues for them and their spouse.”
“Both men and women are concerned about their money issues.”
“Conversations with men are more brief and driven around performance benefits. With women, the conversation entails more education and the answer to why is this going to solve their issue.”
Place your bets…
From the 2011 SMA Industry Survey:
Annuities were the darlings of the industry last year: 41% reported such products as their top seller, with life insurance coming in second at 31%. Long-term care inched up from 9%. Yet this year’s results verify last year’s prediction: 67% of the survey takers anticipated an upturn in life insurance sales.
2012 was a good year for…
Where do you see your business expanding next year?
Tailor your approach to the individual.
By Daniel D. Williams
When out in the field talking with advisors and other industry experts, it’s clear that the old notion of “one size fits all” no longer flies, not when you want to maximize your business growth.
When advisors are prospecting they need to realize that we no longer live in a world where a cookie-cutter approach will get it done. Not all clients are made alike. It’s obvious we have strong diversity in this country and it requires advisors to no longer subscribe to the one-size-fits-all theory.
In the past we’ve written about the differences between seniors and boomers and men and women. We’ve also written pieces on reaching the African-American and Hispanic-American markets. Now, we’re finding that there are significant differences within these submarkets.
For the sake of space, let’s take women as a submarket to better define. I had the good fortune recently of serving on a diversity marketing webinar with Rebecca True of Orlando, Fla.-based True Capital Advisors. True said something during the webinar that resonated — that women are not a niche market.
Wow, that’s news to me. That’s definitely not something I’d heard before. We’d approached things from the aspect of marketing to men versus women. But, after thinking about, what True said made sense. So, what is the market segment or niche with women?
True said that there are a few niches to consider:
• Women business owners
• Corporate executive women in a specific industry
• Women in transition – divorcees, widows, sudden inheritors
As you can see from the three groups there are fairly broad distinctions. For instance, women business owners might respond to products where you talk in terms of tax savings. Also, they’ll be interested to hear about the products that impact employees and employee benefits.
For corporate executive women, there’s a level of sophistication there. They don’t want to be talked down to. They move in exclusive circles, serve on boards of other companies, often spearhead nonprofit fundraising projects. They understand the complexities of various financial instruments and might respond better to complex products and how they are impacted by domestic and global financial markets.
The third group is perhaps the most interesting — women in transition. The interesting dynamic here is that their spouse, in most cases, made the financial, investment and retirement decisions. Now, they are the financial decision maker in the family. Frequently, these women have been homemakers and now have come into significant assets. With this scenario in mind, it’s imperative that advisors approach these prospects as a true coaching experience.