In March 2014, more than 200 seniors responded to a survey by LifeHealthPro, one of our sister sites, about their likes, needs, financial concerns, career outlook and asset base. What followed was a detailed picture of this market, growing larger every day with the rapid aging of the baby boomers. Here’s a peek inside the collective mind of the senior market, complete with their thoughts on selling, marketing and long-term financial goal setting.
1. The Language You Use Is Important
Older person. Aging adult. Senior citizen. The debate over what to label the 65+ population has never been fiercer. Being 70 in 2014 is not what it was thirty years ago, or even at the start of the 21st century. Many of today’s seniors are still working; most are still intensely active. The baby boomers that are transitioning into this market are a diverse group, with varied needs and opinions, but they are united on one thing: They don’t ever want to be viewed as old.
Marketers of all stripes are struggling to solve this rhetorical riddle; if it’s estate planning or long-term care services you’re selling, it’s a trickier proposition still. Our survey respondents preferred the term “senior” by a fairly wide margin: 49 percent, compared to 38 percent that preferred “mature adult” and — wait for it — 0 percent that preferred “elderly.” An additional 13 percent of respondents wrote in their own preferred language, with selections ranging from “near-retiree” to “middle-aged” to those that would rather no single term was identified at all.
2. The No. 1 Thing They Want From an Advisor Is Trust
In a post-recession world, trust is an increasingly elusive asset, and senior clients value it highly. A whopping 64 percent named trust as the thing they most looked for in an advisor relationship, beating out other desirable qualities like experience (22%) and variety of products offered (4%). Write-in responses included “recommendations, advice, reassurance,” “safe money,” and the ambitious “all the above and more.”
So how do you earn trust? Steven McCarty, chairman of the National Ethics Association, suggests that complete transparency is necessary in today’s business world. To set yourself apart in a dramatic way and put prospects at ease, he suggests commissioning a thorough background check and communicating the results on all sales and marketing tools and online profiles, as well as during client meetings.
3. The No. 1 Thing They Don’t Want Is an Overly Aggressive Salesperson