Marketing to Seniors

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making friendsObserve Senior Psychology and Explode Your Senior Sales

In a previous article on marketing to seniors, I discussed aspects of how seniors react and how you can better understand their psychology.  This article adds to the picture so that you will be more effective in every senior sales presentation.

“I Don’t Want to Make More (Just Help Me Protect What I’ve Got)”

The financial professional aged thirty to fifty is probably interested in building an estate, and it’s only natural to project that goal on our senior prospects. However natural it may be, it is highly inaccurate and counterproductive. Unfortunately, the assumption that other people necessarily share our aspirations has wasted millions of dollars in direct-mail campaigns, advertisements, and lost sales opportunities.

Most seniors are less interested in making more than in protecting what they have. And the richer the prospect, the truer this statement. Tim Shoecraft has firsthand experience.

Tim is chairman of Professional Financial Services, LLC and one of the nation’s leading authorities on using life insurance for discounted capital transfers. He personally sells insurance to some of the wealthiest people in the country. His biggest problem? Getting insurance carriers to sell big enough policies. Often, his clients are happy to take a fifty- to one-hundred-million-dollar policy. Tim’s problem is that the insurers don’t want that much exposure on one person. Compare this to most producers’ problem: closing the one-million-dollar policy and convincing clients they “need that much” insurance. The point—the richer they are, the more motivated they are to protect what they have.

Imagine you no longer have a paycheck. Your income comes largely from sources you cannot control (social security, pensions, interest). Would you be concerned about making more or protecting your financial lifeline?

What Senior Prospects Need to See

1.    Show them the mutual fund that is less volatile (not the one that earns more).
2.    Show them the safer annuity company.
3.    Show them how to reduce income taxes and keep more.
4.    Show them how long-term care insurance will protect their assets and retain their independence.
5.    Show them the stocks with the lower beta.

If you want to win when marketing to seniors, make sure the foundation of your communication is about asset protection, reducing risk, diversification, safety, protecting the nest egg, leaving something to the grandkids, and living a financially comfortable life today. Summed up into two word: financial security.

Here’s an example comparing two approaches. I purchased an annuity marketing system that suggested running ads with wording such as “Earn Seven Percent Tax Deferred!” and “CD Rolling Over? Get More Interest.” These ads were ineffective. Why? Because they appealed to the desire to earn more rather than the desire to protect principal. I developed a marketing system with ads that appealed to the desire to protect principal and established myself as an annuity expert. The result: More than a thousand other financial professionals and I are now using these ads and selling a lot more annuities.

The appeal to asset protection and avoiding irreversible financial mistakes is the prime motivator among seniors, regardless of net worth level.

Conformity is Critical when Marketing to Seniors

Seniors do not want to be trendsetters. They like the comfort of doing what everyone else does. Have you noticed that seniors like to travel in groups and join clubs? They have a high need to do as others do.

Have you ever given estate-planning advice and noticed that your prospects were reluctant to implement this great advice? Since most people do their serious estate planning once, the ideas you explain are new to them. They go home reluctant to take action. But if, next week at the bridge club, they hear that two of their friends have drawn living trusts and bought survivorship policies to offset estate taxes, they’ll be right back in your office in a heartbeat to proceed. Once they see others doing what you’ve proposed, the hesitancy drops away. The need to conform is strong.

How do you put this to use in your own business?
When meeting with prospects, tell them, “You’re not alone. I have helped three other retired couples take this exact same action this month.”

Let them know that others are doing what you are advising. Or share a statistic about how many people have taken such an action: “Mrs. Jones, I understand that you don’t have any friends who have a long term care policy. But look at this chart. Over five million people have purchased this protection because they see how important it is. Do you think five million people would have made an investment that wasn’t a sound one?”

When marketing to senior or selling to senior, never make recommendations of new products or services if you want success (unless you are dealing with a prospect from the small fraction of seniors who want to be trendsetters). Show your prospects that their actions will be consistent with the actions of others who have gone before them.  Show them how others have profited by taking the same steps.

To summarize, the Rocking the Ages report stated:
“Matures developed this unity by conforming to a larger system of values that emphasized hard work as its own reward, financial security through savings, the good of the group before that of the individual, and a belief that the good life had to be earned. Though Matures have always had to sacrifice to meet the demands of this conformity, they have always succeeded. For them, therefore, conformity and fitting in have been linked to success.”

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