Turning Boomer Life Events into Immediate Sales

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Almost three-quarters of consumers who seek financial advice do so because of a major life event, according to industry studies by Tiburon Research, San Francisco.

There’s more to it than this! According to AARP research, on average we have at least one important life event per household at any time. This number doubles for those in their 50’s and 60’s – right in the financial soft spot for Boomer-chasers.

Most Boomers interviewed experienced ten major life-changing events within a span of five years while in their fifties. Those life events included retirement, major changes in health, loss of a parent, an adult child moving back to home, weddings, college graduation, parent care giving, empty-nest households and grandparenthood.

What puts large amounts of Baby Boomer money into motion? It’s because something happens in Boomers’ lives as they move through time. This becomes a tremendous opportunity for you to capture money in motion, add assets and gain some new Boomer clients.

Consider the numbers this year alone! Your book of business will average one important life event per client but double for Boomer households. With 150 Boomers among your clients, you have 300 life events occurring. At a capture rate of 25 percent, this is 75 new investment sales!

Life events trigger financial needs but often your clients don’t even think about you — because many times, in their minds, you and that life event don’t go together. You need to work at helping them understand.

Let’s look at a few Boomer life events and financial implications:

The chronic illness of a parent 

Someone needs to help manage the person’s assets. They’ll have to be reorganized so that it’s easier for the adult children to help. They’ll need to be reorganized to generate additional income to pay for care giving assistance or for moving to an assisted living facility.

A new grandchild 

Funding college tuition for the child. Today, grandparents pay for over one-third of all pre-paid college tuition plans, according to an AARP study. Grandparents want to help their grandchildren succeed. A new grandchild is a cue to suggest you can help your client fund college tuition.

The client’s last child graduates form college

Additional cash flow available for investing. With the parent no longer paying tuition and contributing financial support for the child, there’s likely to be additional cash not otherwise committed. Some of it can go to investing for the client’s own retirement.

Someone in their 50s or older puts their house up for sale.

They may just be buying another house. They may also be buying a smaller or less expensive house. This will probably leave them with a large lump sum that they could invest for their own retirement.

“What’s Going on in Your Life?”

Whether you are dealing with Boomers or older adults, here’s a sales process you can use that will help uncover life events that motivate investment behavior. The process consists of five steps: identify the cue; clarify the cue; follow-up on the life event; open-up the financial implication; and set up the sale.

How does it work? Let’s look at examples:

1. The Cue: “My mother is coming to live with us.” What exactly does this mean? Clarify it with a question: “Is she going to live with you permanently?”

The client says, ‘Yes.” Follow-up the life event: “What is she doing with her house?”

The client says, “She’s selling it.’ Now you can raise the financial implication: “Has she thought about what she’s going to do with the money?”

Whatever the client’s answer, you can now offer a solution to the financial issue and set up a sale: “We have some ideas that might make sense in her situation.”

2. The Cue: “I’m taking a new job.”

Clarify the cue: “Is this a promotion?”

The client says, “Yes.” Now follow-up the event some more: “Are you going to be making more money?”

If you get a ‘Yes,” you can now raise the financial implication. ”Have you thought about what you are going to do with the extra money?”

Now, you can offer a solution to set up the sale: “We have some ideas you might want to consider. It’s always a good idea to save at least some portion of increased income or use some of it to add protection for your family.”

3. Cue: “My wife is stopping work next month.” What exactly does this mean? You need to clarify it: “Is she stopping permanently or is this temporary?”

The client says it’s going to be “permanent.” You need to follow-up to see what the implication is: “Sounds like the two of you are planning to retire soon.”

The client agrees. Now you can raise the financial implication: “If she has a retirement plan at work, she is going to have to make some decisions right away.”

Now you can offer a solution and set-up the sale: “Have you started thinking about retirement planning? With her retiring, now is the best time to do this even if you aren’t going to retire for a few years.”

It’s All in the Cards

Think about the last time you shopped in the greeting card section of your local drugstore or supermarket. What an amazing assortment of categories!

You can buy a card for virtually any event. There are cards for joyous events like births, weddings, birth of a grandchild, graduations, remarriage, new job, relocation and retirement. There are also cards for not-so-joyous events like condolences, get-well cards, family illness, and loss of job, failure of a business or divorce.

These greeting card categories are “real life” reminders of the many, significant events in your client’s life. By focusing on them, they offer a great opportunity for you to find Boomer money in motion and the resulting need to make financial decisions.

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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