How Agents Succeed In The Hispanic Market
Agents whose clients are Hispanic, or who plan to enter the Hispanic market, should not assume that whats true for one is true for all.
While immigrants to the United States from Latin American nations have a certain background in common with arrivals from the same country, and even to an extent with immigrants from other Latin American countries, they are very likely different in terms of education, wealth and assimilation into the U.S. culture.
In fact, where a Hispanic client lives in the U.S. is likely a better indicator of his financial priorities than is his nationality, says Luis Barrionuevo of MetLife Financial Services in South Florida.
“In South Texas, New York, South Florida the marketing for the Hispanic is very similar to the mainstream, the biggest difference is the language,” he says.
In fact, the only difference between the Hispanic and mainstream client is that the former is trying to assimilate into the mainstream, “which is behind (the Hispanic clients) interest in financial planning and insurance, which is not as predominant in their countries,” he says.
Barrionuevo says that as with the mainstream, a higher-end Hispanic client will be more interested in estate planning than will a lower-income Hispanic client, and the differences continue from there. So, the best way to assess specific financial services needs is through face-to-face interviews, “rather than mass-marketing to a group.”
He suggests that agents do a disservice to their Hispanic clients when they attempt to homogenize the Hispanic market, particularly because many have non-Hispanic spouses.
Treating each client as an individual is essential when targeting the Hispanic market, but agents need to go beyond that to be successful, says Marco Rodriguez, who works in The Principals Sacramento office. Agents need to make their job a part of their life, he says.
Rodriguez feels that although members of the Hispanic market should not be painted with the same brush, certain characteristics are applicable to many in the U.S. Hispanic population, and being aware of them can be useful to agents in the field.
For example, because the concepts of insurance and financial services are foreign to many Hispanics, it behooves agents to take a role in their clients financial services education. In order to do that, the agent must first earn their trust.
“A lot of Hispanics have not participated in insurance, mutual funds, investments–theyre new in the market,” Rodriguez says. “So it takes education about financial instruments, and trust.
“When I first started it was hard because (my Hispanic clients) didnt know how the products worked or the companies,” Rodriguez says. “But Hispanics are very loyal, so once they got to know me they started doing business with me.”
Indeed, an easily achieved relationship is not likely with this market, Rodriguez says. “It took me a long time to build the relationships. Thats what Hispanics want, they want to do business with people they trust.”