For most, finding qualified prospects for your business may be your most difficult task. What if there was a unique strategy to generate new opportunities from your existing clients? Multi-generational marketing is one way to address client concerns and establish a long-lasting relationship that endures the test of time.  There are many differences between Baby Boomers, Gen X & Y and Millennials. 

These differences may range from communication styles, values, attitudes toward retirement, and perception of money (spending and saving). In a recent article I read titled Wealthy Voice Reservations about Inheritance Succession, the author mentions a study conducted by Barclays Wealth which points out a clear concern and difference in generations: “More than a third of high-net-worth individuals (with more than $1.5 million in investable assets) don’t have confidence in their beneficiaries to handle their inheritance responsibly” (Financial Planning, Nov. 16, 2011).

I assume that this is not just a concern for the wealthy, but anyone who worked hard to build a retirement nest egg. Providing education and resources to both your clients and their children, such as strategies for making good financial decisions (specifically spending and saving habits), college planning or tax reduction strategies may help reduce the risk of the children squandering the money after their parents have passed. Here are some examples of how to address this concern as well as several others and bridge the gap between generations. 

Client Education Workshops & Beneficiary Events:  Conducting educational events focused on addressing the needs of your clients and their families are a great way to bring the family together and present opportunities for you to build a relationship with multiple generations. For example, you may help education their children on college debt planning, expense management, and savings strategies they can employ not just in college, but throughout their life. By establishing a relationship with multiple generations within a family, you increase the potential for a successful transfer of wealth from one generation to the next and continue the relationship with the heir after the client has passed. This also a low-cost method of generating activity and new opportunities for your business

Beneficiary Reviews:  Often overlooked or forgotten, the beneficiary section of any insurance policy or retirement account is extremely important as it designates who will receive the asset upon the death of the policy/account owner.  Proper attention should be given to this section as your client would want to ensure the asset goes to their rightful heir (or in some cases charitable organization). In a previous article I wrote, I mentioned that Client Reviews serve as a great opportunity to bring up this topic while reviewing the progress of the client’s financial plan and ensuring their accounts/policies are up-to-date.  If the client lacks confidence in their beneficiaries to handle the inheritance wisely, they may want to set up a trust or look into other options for more control over the legacy they wish to leave behind.

Upgrade Your Online Presence & Technology:  Simply having a website may have worked for your existing clients (whether they are Boomers or seniors), however that won’t suffice anymore. For today’s advisor, having a substantial presence online is the new standard to attract the younger Boomers as well as Gen X & Y clients. These demographics will most likely research advisors online, check Yelp, and ask friends before starting a conversation with another advisor. Having a stronger presence will give them access to multiple touch-points where they can find information about your firm and you in general. Social media channels, a company blog and a vibrant and resourceful website add value and credibility to your brand. Younger prospects may also favor other tech tools such as online statements for advisors with aggregation systems (i.e. eMoney) or timely email newsletters addressing their needs throughout the years (i.e. tax planning, cost saving methods during holidays, etc.). Registered reps should check with their broker-dealer before diving into social media or purchasing new technology, to ensure that they are compliant. 

Change can be a good thing for your business if handled properly.  As you build a plan for the future of your business, acknowledge the differences between the generations and customize your strategy to address their individual needs.  Seize the opportunity to help solidify the future of your client’s retirement, educate and help their children plan for a better tomorrow, while at the same time growing your business.