A generational approach to selling insurance
By Frank N. Darras
As clients gradually begin to crawl back into investing and financial planning, insurance agents have quite a challenge in convincing potential clients to trust them. Eighty-five percent of all consumers across generations believe that it is more difficult to trust any type of financial adviser these days. Fueled primarily by consumer lack of confidence in the economy, most of these people feel more confident by having a financial plan in place; however, even faith in their own financial plans has fractured to some degree. The best way agents build a trusting relationship is to give straightforward, honest advice. Potential insureds are looking for an agent to really help them make the right decisions regarding their insurance needs.
Remember, not all consumers think alike, and agents should prepare themselves to deal with clients across generations, and with very different points of view and insurance needs. Older boomers need to hear something different from the younger groups of Xers and Yers.
The younger segments need a confidence booster and reassurance that they are savvy about financial planning in general. Agents should find out if they have a plan in place and, regardless of the answer, find ways to bolster their confidence with products to support their goals for insurance planning. Place them in the “big picture” by creating sample plans tailored for their specific needs. Talk to them in terms of “retirement plans” as most of them see this as the path they are traveling down at this point in their lives. It is highly likely that most of them haven’t yet accumulated enough money to feel the need for a full-blown financial plan. They want your help to build a fund that they can use later in life.
Boomers, on the other hand, are more likely to feel comfortable talking about investing in insurance in terms of their overall “financial plan.” It is a much wider term. Their needs are goal-based, but with a shorter timeframe in mind. They may also be thinking about how their financial plan will encompass their heirs or various organizations that will benefit after they are gone. They like it when you use words like “manage finances” instead of “making money.” They want your “assistance” rather than your “help.”
This may seem like a lot of mincing of words, but it will enable you to build that much-needed trust factor and form a long-term bond with your client. The last piece of this puzzle is to match your particular line of insurance products to the needs of your clients. While a long-term relationship might be what you, as the agent, would like to see, it is not at the top of your client’s priority list. They want to know what you can do for them today. They want you to advise them in a way that will meet the ultimate goals they have for insurance.
Example and individual sample plans can help them to see their future. However, both generational segments want something more specific to their own needs. A generic example plan will not interest them. They want something that fits like a glove and is more comforting to them.
So, your first step should be to realize that different generations need different things and have different verbal terminology. Speaking and framing your message on a channel they are tuned into will gain their trust. Second, deliver straightforward, tailored advice that is both honest and comprehensive. There is plenty of help to assist you in gaining a competitive edge. Google “generational insurance adviser” and see what comes up. With a little research and your own basic knowledge, you will be selling stronger and with more success in no time.