This article was first published on PropertyCasualty360.com and is republished here with permission. All rights reserved.
The way millennials purchase insurance is worlds apart from the approach taken by baby boomers.
A Gallup Panel Study revealed that millennials are more than twice as likely to buy insurance online, and are the least likely to be engaged with insurers.
So what happens when millennials, the largest generation in the U.S., are the ones now selling insurance? How do you sell to baby boomers who don't buy and think the same way you do?
It's a whole new ball game.
If you're a millennial selling insurance to the boomer generation, first you have to realize they buy differently than you. It's unlikely they're going to go online to engage with agents. Boomer customers want a relationship with their agent and it's up to you to build it if you want to succeed in insurance sales.
Here are five tips to keep in mind:
5 Secrets for Millennial Insurance Agents Selling to the Boomer Generation
Don't assume anything.
Some agents believe that when they talk to baby boomers, they have to use very plain English with easy-to-understand metaphors.
Other agents say that boomers love to pore over their financial details, know the lingo, and don't want to be talked down to.
Both assumptions are wrong.
Every conversation is going to be different. To uncover just how much each individual knows about insurance, there's only one way to find out: you need to ask.
This doesn't mean that you come right out of the gate drilling customers with questions. The last thing you want to do is make them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by their lack of knowledge. Start the conversation by getting to know them and ask questions that reveal how much they know (or don't know).
You can start by asking about their past insurance experience: What did they like? What did they dislike? Did they feel all their insurance needs were met?
Whatever you do, don't go into conversations with assumptions. If you do, and the assumptions are wrong, it could cost you the account.
Spend time building trust.
If millennial producers think that selling to boomers is going to be a walk in the park, they're in for a rude awakening. To get through to boomers, you need to spend time with them. This is your time to shine. Be knowledgeable. Be an expert. Share your ideas.
Unlike how millennials prefer to buy insurance (online), boomers want to talk to agents and building trust in these conversations is imperative. Don't be too salesy or you won't even get close to developing any sort of trust.
If you feel like it's time to ask for the sale, don't try a tricky technique. Be straightforward and ask if it's something they're interested in or not. By not beating around the bush, you're saving yourself time and can move on to other customers if it's not going to work out.
We once conducted a poll and found that when people were asked, "What percent of people are trustworthy?" the average response was 30%. When we asked, "What percent of people who you know are trustworthy?" the average response increased to 70%.
Trust is crucial when selling. If you develop and form a connection, it should have a positive impact on trust. They may even start to like you, which certainly won't hurt your cause.
Don't waste their time.
Boomers may be retired, but they may also be (or feel) extremely busy. Don't assume they have an open schedule with unlimited time to talk with you.
While it's important to spend time with boomers, there's a fine line between sharing your knowledge, expertise, and ideas, and talking ad nauseam about all your products and services.
Be respectful of their time and don't drag things on.
Establish a peer dynamic.
These potential clients may be older than you, but that's okay. Don't hide your age. You'll never be their contemporary, but you can be their peer. Start by establishing a peer dynamic early in the conversation.
For instance, you could say, "I've been at this for 10 years, but I'm a millennial. Does that worry you at all?" They'll be impressed.
Working closely with senior, highly knowledgeable customers can be intimidating. That's why it's especially important to put in the effort and time to increase your expertise and craft a peer dynamic.
You're not going anywhere.
Insurance and financial services are best with long-term relationships. If customers buy from other boomers or someone closer to their age, the seller will soon retire and the account will transfer to someone else. With you, you'll be at this for at least another 20 years. That's a huge advantage for them.
By working with boomers, you're also tapping into their family as potential customers. Many insurers offer family incentives to add children and relatives to their policies.
Remember that this isn't a one-and-done type of sale. This also works in your favor for when other products become available. Because you've already established a relationship and trust, they'll be ready for your additional insights.
Acquiring new business is challenging enough, but when you add different generations of agents and customers to the mix, it can get even trickier.
Millennials can achieve remarkable success when selling to boomers. You need to be able to discard assumptions, develop trust, respect customers' time, establish a peer dynamic, and assure boomers that you're in this for the long haul. Do this and your success will allow you to do what matters most to you: explore new experiences.