There is no one-size-fits-all solution for developing lasting client relationships with Generation X (Gen X). People born between 1965 and 1979 fall into the window between their baby-boomer parents and Generation Y (the millennials), and they generally exhibit qualities from each. Therefore, it is critical to be flexible in your service offerings so you can meet Gen X clients where and how they want to be met.
But how do you go about connecting with Gen X? To help answer this question, let’s start with an exploration of how your current baby-boomer clients talk to their kids about money.
Willingness to Talk Money
When it comes to talking to their children about money, your client base likely fits into three groups: open, reluctant, and closed.
1) Open clients. These clients have educated their children about money and probably talk fairly openly with them about it. They may not need nudging but could use a checklist of age-appropriate topics to ensure that they’ve covered all the bases. With clients in this group, you could offer to have some “light” conversations with their children to help ensure that they are on the right track.
These clients have already laid the groundwork for you. Your job is to figure out what help your clients think their children need. What are they nervous about? What reservations have they expressed regarding their children? Finding ways of responding to those needs will help you add value to your client relationships.
2) Reluctant clients. These individuals know at some level that financial conversations with their children are necessary. But something is holding them back, be it a fear of letting their children know how much they may be passing along or of potential conflict or tension between them and their children. These clients will take a bit more hand-holding, but the rewards can be huge.
In addition to you forming relationships with their children—which essentially makes you the logical advisor to them in the event of an inheritance—providing this service makes you unique among your clients’ friend groups. Leveraging the situations properly can result in increased referrals to your ideal clients.
3) Closed clients. These clients are just not interested in talking with their children about money. They may be interested in you meeting directly with their children, however, as long as they don’t have to be involved. These clients will often transition to the “reluctant” group at some point in their lives, so be on the lookout for them to open doors; you can then provide the support they need to be successful in having these conversations.