A couple (Photo: Thinkstock) (Photo: Thinkstock)

Any organization — regardless of the type of business you’re running or even the industry you’re operating in — ultimately exists to fulfill a single purpose: to make the lives better of the people who make up your target audience.

Everything else is merely window dressing. Your company made a promise to consumers and every step you take, decision you make or action you execute is one with this simple-yet-noble goal in mind.

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But without a rock-solid foundation of communication, this is a goal that becomes worse than awkward. It becomes impossible.

Success in every aspect of your organization ultimately lives and dies by your ability to communicate. Marketing, for example, is all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time — how are you supposed to do that if you aren’t an efficient communicator? But more than that, people don’t just need to know what your product or service does — they need to understand why you’re doing it and why that matters in the first place. Because at the end of the day, you’re not simply trying to sell to people.

The Challenges

You’re trying to empower them. This, of course, requires you to keep a few key things in mind.

1. The Baby Boom generation is big.

At my firm, LifeGuide Partners, LLC, we have a unique challenge concerning communication because we have a large, specific audience. Namely, seniors who might be interested in selling their life insurance policies. At our core, our goal is simple: we want to help seniors, and Baby Boomers who are not yet seniors, make the best possible decisions about their life insurance coverage, no exceptions.

Baby Boomers are members of the largest generation to ever venture into senior citizenship in the history of the United States. Their population peaked in 1999, when 78.8 million people made up this new Greatest Generation. Though many have already started retiring, we’re about to get hit by a massive wave, and people on both sides of this equation need to be ready.

2. Life insurance is inherently complicated.

Most life insurance policies must be converted into a universal policy before the holder reaches their 70th birthday. Only then can the policy be carried forward as a sellable asset in a life settlement. You cannot just sell a term policy to a settlement company, since the term has an end date — but most seniors don’t qualify for this process just yet. For most, 75 is the target age, though this will obviously vary depending on health and other issues.

3. Technology can help.

Technology is a huge asset for seniors in the modern era, particularly to help bring housebound clients and their families the information they need directly into their home. Likewise, there are a great deal of remotely monitored devices and services available to keep a senior safe in their home even if they live alone.

4. Good health can sometimes be an obstacle.

The healthier someone is, the less likely it is that they can sell a life insurance policy for cash — something that itself is an inherently complicated process, riddled with essential decisions that need to be made on the foundation of accurate, actionable information.

This is where a firm like mine can help.

5. Each client is unique.

The fact of the matter is that no two clients are created equally. Everyone is a little bit different. Clients come from different places, have different experiences, see different visions of what the rest of their lives look like. Without taking the time to learn what makes each person special and unique and developing our communication plan around that, we would have nothing.

How to Address the Challenges

Whether you’re talking about Baby Boomers or members of some other target audience doesn’t matter: Communication is and will always be king. Every person who works for my company must be a great communicator, because seniors may not understand a lot of what you are talking about. But that’s okay, because part of your job is to act as an educator as well.

We’ve worked hard to identify the following core tenets that strengthen and empower your communications efforts, regardless of what you’re talking about or even who you’re talking to.

1. You must always be authentic.

There is no room for cynicism in communication, particularly when you’re talking about something as important as life insurance. You need to be as true to both yourself and your customer as possible or you’re already starting from a place that puts you farther away from your goal, not closer to it.

2. You must also understand that communication is a two-way street.

It isn’t just about your client listening to what you should say: You need to listen to them, too. Because, again, everyone is a little bit different and the only way you’re going to truly can make their lives better is if you listen to what they’re already trying to tell you as closely as possible.

3. You must show respect.

Never, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. We find that this is especially true among seniors, who are ready and willing to recommend your business to their friends — if they have a good experience with you and they know you respect them, that is.

While these are the tips that we’ve picked up as we continue to work with seniors and baby boomers, they are easy to apply to literally any audience that you’re talking about.

Why Making the Effort to Communicate Well Is Worth It

At my company, our goal is not to make decisions for our seniors. Far from it.

Since we originally opened our doors, my team and I have worked hard to create, communicate and implement the vision, mission and overall direction of the company to empower our seniors with financial information and guidance to make the best possible decisions for themselves. We aim to prepare them for a settlement, whether it happens today, tomorrow or five years from now doesn’t matter.

And without the ability to communicate, we would simply not be able to do this. And neither will you.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Stephen E. Terrell is president of LifeGuide Partners, LLC, a company that generates current market values for life insurance policies for agents and their senior life insurance clientele. He can be reached at (888) 484-3350 and on Twitter at @Tweet_Stephen.