Building Solid Relationships Is Key To African-American Sales
I have found that selling insurance and other financial products and services to African-American consumers is not significantly different from the approach to other groups. However, there are nuances of differentiation that should be kept in mind.
It is important, I have found, to build a solid relationship with any clientAfrican-, Asian-, European-, Hispanic-American, or any other group. I think it is also necessary to bring a level of education to any client depending on the clients economic status, education level and previous familiarity with the world of finance.
In my experience, the key to African-American sales is building the relationship. I have found that if you build a relationship with black clients, they will trust you. I believe that if you meet black people where their needs are and develop from there and if you are willing to spend time educating and building trust, they will be loyal clients.
I have carved out a specialized marketing niche in which I focus on the faith-based community, serving the financial needs of religious leaders in 39 states. Often, the church and other faith-based organizations are the keys to revitalizing cities and breaking the cycle of poverty.
My affluent African-American clients, especially the Generation-X or late baby boomer generation, are more likely to have more than a basic understanding of the need for long-range planning for financial security. For them, insurance products are part of an overall plan and not just a transactional purchase. This group also is more concerned about making sure their investment and savings dollars will efficiently meet their financial objectives. They tend to look for assistance from a financial professional as a necessary step in helping to provide security, transfer wealth, accumulate assets and ultimately minimize tax burdensonce again very similar to other affluent groups.
I also have found that my African-American clients who are in less affluent financial situations are motivated by an embedded knowledge that insurance is a basic need so that they are not a burden on their families when they die. But they do not have a sophisticated knowledge of the different types of insurance products available or a foreknowledge of the need to create a financial strategy that will serve them in retirement and help them save for their childrens higher education.
My approach has been to listen to them tell me about their expectations for themselves, their families and future generations. I ask them more in-depth questions than I would people who are familiar with financial products and services.
Regardless of economic class, the African-American baby boomer generation, particularly the first wave, tends to be more concerned about fixed investments and security. They feel more comfortable with putting their savings in a guaranteed product, even though the interest rate may be lower, because they have the security of knowing the money is there and not likely to be lost in an unfriendly economic cycle.