5 Easy Ways to Increase Success with Boomers

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The 78 million Boomers in their mid-40s to mid-60s are the most important sales target for annuity products. This generation is huge and successful producers have learned it’s very different from other generations. Here are five ways to increase your sales success with this generation:

1. Segment your book by age group.
Keep it simple, separate your clients in their 40s, from those in their 50s, from those in their mid-60s, and older. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • How did they come to be clients? You’ll find lots of common elements within each segment. In order to get more of these types of people, perform the things you did for similar clients in their age category.
  • What do they have in common? For example, are the Boomers mainly current or former employees of a few big companies? Are the 60-year-old Boomers still working? By focusing on what they have in common, you can begin thinking about how you can get more business from the whole segment.
  • What does each segment need that you can provide? Do you need to be talking about retirement income? Do the Boomers need information about IRA Rollovers? Do they need estate planning? Is legacy planning for the grandchildren important to them?
  • What can you do for each segment? Get creative. Think of all the ways you can influence their perception of you, as well as their own investment and insurance needs. Hold a Boomer client appreciation event using heavy doses of nostalgia? Send out mailings with information targeted to the needs of a specific segment?

2. Give your 50-plus clients help when asking for referrals.
They are likely to be at a loss if all you do is ask for people who could use your services. Instead, you should:

Focus on a problem you’ve successfully solved for them. Have you increased their current income? Reduced their taxes? Provided insurance coverage? Diversified their portfolio and made it safer? Whatever the problem is that you have solved, it is familiar territory to them. You clearly are not starting from scratch, so use whatever information you’ve gotten.

Now, ask “I wonder if you have friends with the same kind of problem?” Give them some time to think about it. Say, “Could I call you next week to get any names that might come to you?”

Or, if you know the client’s social connections, you can be very specific asking for referrals for problems you helped solve: The more direction you give the boomer, the more likely he is to come up with names. “Are any members of your bridge club concerned about taxes?” “Are your brothers interested in increasing their current income?”

3. Tap the Boomer grandparents’ market.
There are 80 million grandparents, with another 10 million (mainly Boomers) due by 2020. More than 82% of everyone 60 and older are grandparents. Knowing this, all you have to do is ask these questions:

“Do you have grandchildren?” Most clients in their 50s and older will say yes.

“What are their ages?” You need to know the answer, because it provides necessary information for your conversation. It also gives your client an opportunity to talk about his or her grandchildren. Encourage them; it makes the next question a slam dunk.

“Have you made any plans to help them grow up successful and happy?” Most clients will respond with a question of their own, something like, “How can I do that?”

This is your cue to talk about investing or finding an insurance that might be used to pay for the grandchildren’s college education, contribute to the cost of their home after college, or be used to provide for them when they are older. Whatever you talk about, you will have a very interested and responsive listener.

4. Use Boomer children to reach their older parents.
If you have a client age 50, there is an 80% chance he has at least one living parent. The odds are even higher with clients in their 40s. Their parents are going to be 20, 30, or more years older than the adult child, putting them in their mid-60s, 70s, or even 80s. While it is not always true, the odds are that affluent children are likely to have affluent parents.

The parents, especially from their late 60s on, may need your professional help to lead a better life in their old age. Finances often get disorganized and misdirected as people get older.

Your client in his mid-40s or 60s has extra motivation to help his parent, by introducing you. First, he has feelings of love and responsibility; second, he is concerned about preserving as large an inheritance as possible, and third, he does not want his parent to run out of money, possibly forcing him to pay for care.

Usually, all you have to do is ask for the introduction. Simply tell your client that many older adults need advice in order to increase their current income, pay for healthcare or personal assistance or simply to arrange their finances so that they can both lead a good life and leave something behind for their children. Make it clear you are willing to help with his parent’s financial situation, recognizing that there might be nothing in it for you. Most of the time, following your request, you’ll get an introduction.

5. Give Boomers options when you are making recommendations.
Boomers are notorious for wanting their lives simplified. But they also are notorious for not wanting to give up control.

  • They want to make their own decisions.
  • They want choices, not direction from you.

So, to increase your effectiveness with Boomers, instead of making a single recommendation, partner with them. Provide alternatives – give them choices. Give them lots of information about the alternatives. Then, let them make the decision. Ask, “Which one do you prefer?” Let them feel in control and you’ll close a lot more sales.

Michael P. Sullivan is a Sales Consultant/Trainer for 50-Plus Communications Consulting Charlotte. He can be reached at Mps50-plus@aol.com or viewed on LinkedIn. For a free copy of his “10 Tips for Selling to Boomers,” email him at Mps50plus@aol.com.

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