Every month, 250,000 baby boomers turn 65, a trend that will continue for the next 15 years. Before you rush out and market to this group, you need to understand how they differ from seniors and how to effectively communicate with them.
One of the biggest misconceptions agents must avoid is to assume both groups think alike and have the same concerns. They don’t. Seniors were born during the Great Depression and came of age during World War II. These are the parents of the famously rebellious boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. Boomers have been called the “Me-Generation” because, unlike their parents, they chose to explore life during their 20s before settling down to raise a family. When it comes to finances, the differences between seniors and boomers deepen even more.
Seniors are the biggest savers in the world. Growing up during the Great Depression taught them to pinch pennies and save money for a rainy day. During their lifetime, most seniors have owned only one to two homes. Their main goal was to own their property free and clear. Many of them worked for the same company all of their lives, and they continued to save money after age 65 because their company pension and Social Security benefits were not enough to keep them financially secure in their old age. Once fully retired, seniors are content to continue living frugally.
Boomers couldn’t be more different than their parents. They tend to be big spenders who put little personal savings aside. During their lifetime, they’ve held as many as seven different positions in their quest to climb the career ladder and earn more. When it comes to home ownership, they’ve bought and sold as many as five to six homes to constantly upgrade their lifestyle. And when it comes to retirement, most choose to invest tax-deferred financial products.
With all this in mind, here are some tips to help you better communicate with boomer prospects and leads.
1. Don’t use language which implies they’re “old” in any way.
Studies show boomers see themselves as a decade younger than their chronological age. Most are tech savvy and make an effort to stay up to date on virtually everything. And they take pride in being “hip” to it all.
2. Avoid using words like Senior and Retirement in your marketing.
It’s likely boomers will tune out your message because these are terms they associate with their parents. This is likely the reasons why boomers put off retirement planning as long as they do. Trying using “nest egg” and related terms instead.
3. Boomers don’t respond to “free spin.”
If you’re not getting as many boomers at your dinner seminars, this may be why. Suze Orman, the internationally-renowned personal financial advisor, regularly tells her TV audience, “Don’t get your money advice from a dinner seminar.” Being a boomer herself illustrates the skepticism of her generation.
4. Boomers respond to facts more than advertising.
As the generation famous for questioning authority, boomers like to review facts for themselves. Before you pitch a product, provide them with information they can use to research before they speak with you again. And be prepared for a number of informed questions.
5. Use Internet marketing to target boomer leads.
According to a Google study, over 70 percent of boomers spend more time surfing the Internet than they do watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines. Keep this in mind when you develop your marketing plan.
6. Boomers know they need information about managing their Social Security benefits.
Though they put off thinking about it, they know they’ll have to make a decision, soon. Yet, many assume not much has changed since their parents filed for Social Security. When marketing, offer to “educate” them on the latest changes. Even if you’re not an expert on the topic, you can find enough information online to provide a basic overview. It can help open the door to talking to them about the products in your wheelhouse.
When you apply these tips when working with baby boomers, they begin to see you as a trusted advisor who understands their needs. Consider this: AARP predicts boomers age 50 and over will represent 45 percent of the U.S. population by the end of 2015.It’s well worth the effort to better communicate with them now. Your future success depends on it.
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