If you’ve been in business over the past 10 years, you’ve no doubt seen lots of changes. And while many of these changes have been significant, perhaps none will more directly impact your business than the changes in buying habits of today’s consumers.
When I started in the business in 2001, I focused heavily on serving the senior market. However, today more and more advisors focus on baby boomers. It’s not hard to see why when you consider 10,000 of them will be retiring every day for the next 19 years. It’s a huge market!
However, if you plan to capitalize on this opportunity, you’d better first make sure you understand the differences in how they approach planning as compared to their parents. In decades past, business was done differently than it is today. The individuals who make up the senior market, also known as the “Greatest Generation,” and the World War II generation, did things differently than we do today.
In the senior market, business was done on trust and a handshake. In the past, the value advisors brought to the table was information. It used to be that when consumers had a need, they sought out the “experts” for advice and education. Information was scarcer than it is today, and therefore, they had little other choice than to trust our advice and hope for positive results.
A new skill set
That is why so many of us have sat through countless training sessions on how to quickly build rapport, trust and relationships. These were essential skills for earning business. However, if you approach the boomer market the same way you approached the senior market, you’re likely to be disappointed with the results. Maybe you’ve already begun to notice that earning business seems more difficult today than it’s ever been. Perhaps the challenge is not that earning business is difficult, but rather that it requires a new skillset. The strategies we use to acquire new clients must adapt to the next generation’s buying habits.
You see, today’s consumer has an overabundance of information. In fact, with the Internet, there is so much information available today that boomers have the opposite problem of their parents – instead of not enough information, there’s too much! Trying to make sense of the vast amounts of conflicting opinions and information available today is a real challenge. And in my opinion, that’s where clients need you more than ever. They need you to help them make sense of it all. However, if you don’t change the way you approach this target audience you’ll never have the chance to work with them. Those advisors who are now positioning themselves as experts are setting themselves up for a huge windfall.