Picture a market with close to $1 trillion in annual spending power, a growing demographic of more than 42 million people, increasing education levels and salaries, and 9 million baby boomers that are expected to retire within the next 20 years. Who are they? If you guessed the African-American market, you’re right.
This is a target market to be reckoned with. The fact that many of them are ill prepared for retirement means that there is a huge opportunity for advisors. I receive many letters, emails, and phone calls from financial advisors and insurance professionals across the country, and the first question that they usually ask is, “How do you find clients in the African-American market?” My mission here is to give you some information and tools to see if this is a niche market worth pursuing for your practice. But first, a brief snapshot of the African-American consumer.
There has always been an estrangement of sorts between the financial services industry and minority communities. It isn’t that nobody cares, but in many cases financial institutions have neglected to define the Black consumer as someone with a unique set of needs and concerns. As the number of minorities in this country continues to increase, industry leaders have started to project the impact this could produce for their bottom lines. Recently, I have noticed an increasing number of articles and news reports on the benefits of marketing to the minority markets.
Each year, a slew of studies and surveys report on the financial behavior of African-Americans. The results consistently conclude that respondents are highly interested, and that they need and want the services of financial advisors. Even though some Blacks are earning more money and pursuing advanced degrees, too few are creating strategies to help build wealth, savings, businesses, and generational wealth.
In part, this is because of the severe shortage of professional financial advisors working with this market. As a financial advisor who happens to be an African-American, there is not much competition in my locality, which is a problem. In fact, it’s an epidemic. There are just not enough available advisors to help African-Americans with their finances. This could be an opportunity for you.
Your secret weapon: visibility
I would like to share some marketing efforts that have helped me continue to build a growing and thriving financial services business. But first, I must say that reading, attending financial forums and conventions, developing a solid marketing plan, acquiring designations, hiring a coach, and all the other activities that will help us become better advisors are extremely necessary and important. They do help. That said, the one SECRET I have found that works best in this market — and in the financial services industry in general — is that you simply have to be seen. The more people you see and the more people that see you, the more prospects you have the opportunity to convince to become lifetime clients.