The listening game

“Our grandson is playing little league and hit a home run just the other day.”

“Did you know the price of a stamp has gone up to 39 cents? I remember when we only had to pay 3 cents.”

In the senior market, you may hear about many topics from your clients that have nothing to do with the services you offer. From the weather in Florida to the final puzzle on “Wheel of Fortune,” you need to be ready to listen to it all. By actively listening to your clients, you will learn about their interests and may begin to understand how they think. This information will help you to relate to them and provide financial solutions that meet their specific needs.

Family ties

Each family has two CEOs – the chief executive officer and the chief emotional officer. In most cases, the chief executive officer handles the finances and future planning, while the chief emotional officer is responsible for helping the family meet its emotional needs.

Family roles often change during the senior years. Sometimes the chief executive officer can no longer complete his family job due to illness or death. It is in these situations that the chief emotional officer often has to wear both CEO hats. As a financial advisor, it is important to invest in both family CEOs to prepare for this possibility. If you invest in the family officers equally, they both become familiar with you, and when unforeseen circumstances occur, you are able to help with the transition from emotional to executive officer.

Additionally, seniors often turn to each other for advice, so it is imperative that you not only listen to but also meet the needs of both CEOs. By taking the time to do this, you become highly referable, and the time and energy you invest in one family can turn into many more clients.

The small things

When marketing to seniors, you also need to look for small ways to deliver added and unsolicited value. Providing information about your clients’ previous career, current interests and hobbies shows you are willing to make time for them. By taking a few moments to find this information, you show that you want to build relationships with them and help them meet their financial needs.

It takes time and experience to learn how to reach across generations and market to senior clientele. As we enter 2007, make it your New Year’s resolution to slow down and take the time to build relationships with your senior clients. You’ll find the reward will be well worth the investment.