For most Broker World readers, the generations dubbed Gen X, and Millennials, can represent an entirely new challenge as their way of looking at the world and living their lives has been shaped by different factors than those of post-World War II and earlier Baby Boomers. They are normally not prospects that have already accumulated a nest egg and, for the most part, they often feel they are invincible! In addition, many have children they need to feed, clothe, educate, and they are paying for dance lessons, athletic events, etc. while also striving to succeed professionally in their chosen career path. The list goes on and on…
Added to the myriad factors listed above, many Baby Boomers have parents requiring services. While this may expose them to the “why I should have” factor of products like long term care insurance, these prospective clients still often counter their own acknowledged need, knowing they would have to come up with additional revenue to pay for any insurance premiums. In addition, they often think they will be able to purchase their protection sometime in the future when they are more financially ready to do so.
Even when confronted with caring for or seeing the challenges of the senior generations in their family, it is difficult to project getting older ourselves.
Society has encouraged, both overtly and subliminally, most younger prospects to lock into many of life’s golden rings, such as having an expensive mortgage, large college tuition debt, potentially multiple car payments, mounting credit card debt, and an entire list of “needed” expenses. Placing yet another monthly payment on top of what already seems to be an insurmountable mountain of financial payment responsibilities often becomes the major limiting factor in marketing to this segment of our population.
Any insurance agent that has approached a prospect generationally younger than themselves understands the reluctance prospective clients may have in purchasing other much-needed insurance products to protect against catastrophic losses. Most of the time insurance is not a “requirement” as it is with auto no-fault liability or mortgage protection insurance. It is an informed decision purchase or choice; not an obligation. Therefore, the first step in marketing to younger prospects is getting information to them regarding why your product makes sense—first logically, and then emotionally, but most importantly in terms that “speak their language.”
Getting the Message Out
Hello technology! The buzzwords today include Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook, among others, with new ones every day. If you are not embracing these communication tools in educating a younger crowd, someone else is. If you feel you are too old to teach yourself new tricks, then you may have to simply bow out of this segment of the market, or at the very least engage someone to do the marketing for you.
What you communicate in the social media markets must be short, concise, and your content should be relevant and topical. It has to be something that younger generations engage with, as well as being tied into your overall brand or digital marketing story. For most seasoned insurance professionals, this means having to either learn another marketing method or bring aboard someone that is already savvy to what the younger generation is seeking in the way of messaging.
Ever watch a television commercial and at the conclusion wonder what they were marketing? That is the new normal—just to capture their attention, show a positive image when using the product or service, and then leave the audience grasping for more information. Crazy, in that we used to grab someone’s attention by offering them an incentive to take some action. Today this market prefers to explore on their own. The best way is to provide a link for more information. Websites are imperative, but a way to lead them to take this drink of water has grown to encompass displaying a QR Reader to access more data independently.
While social networking is not necessarily a favorite topic with most seasoned insurance professionals, and it certainly has not always been vital in the past, my friend, as they say, “The times they are a changin’.”
Here’s a twist on an accepted method of learning how to reach younger prospects. Offer an incentive for a random number of individuals to take part in a Focus Group. The panel would include several individuals in the age range you are attempting to sell. Give them an incentive like a prepaid credit card to participate (potentially using a conference room, or even a Zoom meeting approach). Then use this focus group input to develop the key elements of attractiveness of your insurance product and marketing for this cohort. Even more importantly to you, learn what it would take to get them to want to meet with you or someone at your agency to discuss why this product makes sense for them to have.
In the non-profit sector the saying goes “people are sold to help the cause, but they still nearly always give to the individual.” Insurance sales are no different. Your marketing effort needs to start with the logic behind the need, and then follow with the emotional elements in landing the sale.
Larger Market Segment
One-on-one selling requires genuine ability. It has been said that only seven percent of the working adults in this country have the explicit responsibility of selling a product or service, and less than 20 percent of those selling are truly accomplished at what they are doing. Sales leaderboards prove the latter, time and time again.
So, if you are rarely a frequent leader making one-on-one sales in your agency, consider another tactic of going after corporations or associations. A vast majority of the younger market holds a job or often belongs to a non-profit association. Therefore they are somewhat captive to benefits being offered by their corporate office, and often have ancillary benefits being offered by their association. If the company provides your insurance product as a potential benefit, then, when the employee elects to take your product, it often can be automatically included in a payroll deduction. Group sales is vastly different from individual one-on-one marketing. Yes, you first must sell the individual within the company as to why your product should be included in the cafeteria list of potential benefits. But once securely in place you will most likely have an ongoing method to sell your insurance.
Things do not always work out, even when you have done everything right (sound familiar?). A personal experience was convincing a large truck distributor on the value of offering long term care insurance as a benefit for their employees. The owner wanted the benefit, and the group rate was lower in premium expense, so he thought having a group rated premium would be to his advantage. However, the bookkeeper informed the owner that their payroll checks could only have a limited number of deductions. You would think that someone that was sold on the insurance product would have shaken the limbs and found a way to add long term care, but he chose to simply purchase an individual policy for the couple. The sale was not lost, but the opportunity to make multiple sales was no longer as viable as it would have been having a payroll deduction type of sale.
Certainly, the concept of marketing to younger individuals through payroll deduction can be a viable alternative to pounding the social media pathways to see if individuals might take a bite of the apple.
Selling Viable Products
Find a way to capture a younger client on a needed service, and then use that client as a springboard for referrals or to add products in the future. An example might be to demonstrate why having a check in the mail could save a family’s finances when the client is injured and off work. Aflac comes to mind in how they demonstrate filling the financial gaps when a health issue arises which is not covered fully by health insurance. Or, why disability income can continue to provide much-needed income when you are no longer able to work. If you have captured your prospect’s attention with the reality of not having certain types of insurance coverage, then you pivot to the emotional side of the consequences if not properly covered.
Many insurance agents focus on annuity type sales. They are excellent products for planning for the future. However, a large segment of the Gen X and many in the Millennial population do not already have a large amount of funds set aside to invest. One potential way to work with the prospective client to win them over for the long run is to demonstrate the power of compound interest.
Gen X Example: At age 25 invest $300 (assumes tax-deferred fund), and limit household spending so the client can budget a way to invest another $300 per month in the same investment through a planned retirement at age 65. If the fund earns an average of eight percent compound interest, your client will have accumulated over $1 million by the time they reach age 65. To demonstrate the need to move forward now, rather than waiting, show the client the result of the same amounts being invested only 10 years later. Starting at age 35, the retirement fund is less than $500,000; and at age 45 less than $200,000 will be accumulated. This demonstrates the importance of investing early and continuing to invest.
(Note: you can verify this at www.Investor.gov using their compound interest calculator.)
Once you have demonstrated how you can be instrumental in helping your client achieve a long term financial goal (and who wouldn’t want to be a millionaire?), then you have captured their attention on how you can be a valued part of their future. As the client grows their employment earnings, then you are there to suggest ways for them to best invest a portion of any new payroll check growth. A friendly way of saying that you can help your client achieve financial freedom by putting that Christmas bonus in a long term growth investment! This is a lot like getting a base hit, rather than a home run. However, the client will always look to you on how to get to the next base.
Other Ways to View Products being Marketed
Most individuals cannot envision more than 15 years in the future. Try doing it yourself and you will have a very hard time thinking of yourself being that age or older. For that reason, products like long term care insurance have limitations on saleability to younger prospects. However, you will still want to market insurance products which mimic long term care in the youthful household. In addition, if your client ever cashes in on this product, you will immediately get a prospective client for a full-blown long term care sale if the client can then still qualify.
The insurance product is commonly known as short term care. You don’t market it as a way to pay for “nursing home” expenses, as younger prospects will never see themselves needing care in an “old folk’s home” as that stigma remains today. You address the value the product has in providing care for the client in the comfort of their own home, giving their partner the freedom to continue earning an income for the family during the health recovery. This type of insurance is rarely an emotional sale to the individual that may need care; it is for the spouse or partner knowing things will not turn totally “South of the Border” in the household while figuring out what options may be available depending on the extent and length of care needed.
A similar scenario occurs when marketing life insurance. Nobody that dies ever personally gets the money to spend. Therefore, the emotional marketing target is the spouse or the beneficiary. The primary wage earner (or potentially both income earners) has a moral commitment to provide for those family members that remain when they are no longer living. The insurance industry has provided a simple way to provide the remaining family members long term financial protection using term life insurance. For only a few dollars per month in premium expense, hundreds of thousands of dollars can be made available to the remaining loved ones in the event of the client’s death. The emotional impact of presenting this product in front of both partners will generally seal the deal. So, the important aspect in marketing this insurance product is finding ways to get in front of the target audience. Remember that younger prospects cling to social networking. Use that source to line up your appointments, or possibly consider paying for leads where the prospect has already expressed an interest. Have you explored the thought of having a YouTube presentation on how valuable term insurance can be to a family, and offer this as a click-through at your website? How about asking a true beneficiary to also express his or her gratitude in receiving the check from an insurance company and why it made a difference?
Younger prospects need facts as to why they should set aside earnings to purchase your insurance products. You must demonstrate why you can best supply their needed products in the present and over the long run. After all, they know they can purchase insurance from many sources, so what sets you apart is your perceived value to them. And, you need ways to stir their emotions to make the sale.
Getting the attention of Gen X, Millennials, and increasingly the Baby Boomers, takes a new marketing strategy to first get the opportunity to visit with them, then demonstrating why your products are so valuable, potentially critical, as well as affordable, and why you should be their partner in providing needed solutions as they age.
The reality is that the vast majority of people likely relate best to someone within their age range when making these types of decisions and purchases, so as you and your agency grow, consider having a range of providers on your staff equipped to provide services to all age groups.