Selling to senior clients takes time, empathy, and listening to the advice of these top producers.
Selling to Seniors By Stephen Mathieu, CLU, ChFC, RHU, Jean Mathieu, CLU, and Philip Harriman, CLU, ChFC
From Stephen Mathieu, CLU, ChFC, RHU, and Jean Mathieu, CLU:
In our practice, we have the following objectives: Bring simplicity where there is complexity, clarity where there is confusion, and confidence where there is fear or doubt. Whether we do business with someone or not, we attempt to leave everyone who walks out of our door better off than they were before they walked in.
Here are a few steps to take as you work with senior prospects and clients:
Establish trust and credibility through referrals. Successful, long-lasting partnerships with seniors hinge on trust, just like any other client relationship. It’s ideal to establish credibility from the outset and leverage recommendations from a trusted source if possible. Strong referrals, like endorsed speaking engagements or introductions from other professionals and friends, provide added trust and help validate your message. The common touchpoint between you and the prospect will help them feel at ease and expedite the relationship building process.
Integrate multigenerational planning model. A multigenerational model, where a trusted family member is involved in the financial planning process, can streamline the financial planning process for both senior clients and their adult children. Encourage loyal clients to invite a relative to join a planning meeting or consultation to establish peace of mind and ensure they are cared for.
Seniors often elect their children or other close relatives to help take care of their account and act as a custodian in the event of health concerns or confusion, particularly as mental capabilities decline with age.
It’s especially common for seniors to misunderstand complex financial matters, or question who to trust or what to look for in a new financial professional. They are inundated with information and desire a simple and understandable breakdown with clear, actionable steps to secure their financial futures. A familiar, responsible and trusted family member as an advisor will help alleviate concern and deepen their relationship as a client.
Streamline services for clients. Position your practice as a comprehensive planning service that acts as a one-stop-shop and enables seniors to accomplish all their goals and answer questions in one visit. Address the most common financial concerns seniors face in-house in order to streamline efforts for them and simplify their lives.
Money management, tax planning, risk management (life & LTC insurance planning) and legal documentation (including wills, trusts and powers of attorney for financial affairs and healthcare) will cover all aspects of their plan. Unfamiliar disciplines can be outsourced or contracted to local professionals, if needed.
From Philip Harriman, CLU, ChFC:
Successful and lasting relationships with senior clients are built on a foundation of trust and patience. Financial dignity is top of mind for many clients as they approach retirement age and make new key financial decisions. Although they lack decades of wisdom to support their portfolio recommendations, seniors can count on younger advisors to still be in business at the time of their retirement.
Align seniors’ head, heart and stomach. Present any recommendations, plans or products for client consideration in a way that helps seniors feel comfortable on several levels. It’s best to create an environment focused on client service and counsel rather than on sales.
Conversations with prospective senior clients should focus on their top-of-mind concerns, including what keeps them awake at night, and what makes them excited or motivated. Ensure that the presentations you have with them are aligned and support the main decision-making areas: the head, the heart and the stomach.
Appeal to the head with logic, make sure the financial tools are affordable and support a personal priority. Put a client’s heart in concert with their desire for loved ones who will be affected by their financial decisions or unexpected life events.
Finally, a client’s stomach will fall in alignment when you demonstrate that the advice is in their best personal interest. If clients feel that their needs have been heard and that your ideas support their motivations, they will usually be interested in exploring in more detail the financial tools you are offering.
Focus on key strategy products. Seniors are typically more interested in sustaining good cash flow than in growing their net worth during retirement. Help them understand how low-risk, maintenance-minded products like annuities, long-term-care and life insurance policies can be tailored to fit their financial strategies and help preserve their assets during their lives and beyond. These defensive tools protect their wealth and are just as important as investments–they bolster a plan with guaranteed income independent of stock market performance.
Seniors tend to be deeply loyal clients when they feel heard and understood. Advisors who can help lead them through the decision-making process and focus on a relationship rather than on a sales plan will thrive with this age group and earn their business throughout their retirement years.
Stephen Mathieu, CLU, ChFC, RHU, and Jean Mathieu, CLU, are a husband and wife team who run their own practice. They are both Life nine year Qualifying MDRT members.
Philip Harriman, CLU, ChFC, is a Qualifying and Life member and Past President 0f MDRT. He is the co-founder of his Valmark affiliated insurance and investment brokerage firm, Lebel & Harriman, LLP.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.