Need-to-knows when selling to millennials

Millennials, the segment of the population born between 1981 to 1996, are a huge market that financial professionals must engage. But how do you proceed?

Much of what we know about millennials is anecdotal or comes from behavior we’ve observed firsthand. Previous generations were alive during the Great Depression or are children of parents who had the experience. They tend to not throw anything away that might still be useful. Conversely, millennials don’t have this tendency. If they no longer want or use something, they either throw it away or give it away.

Millennials generally don’t have a lot of savings because of the one-two punch of lower incomes and higher housing costs. To make life better, they buy affordable luxuries. They shop at organic grocery stores. They frequent Starbucks.

Getting started

  • Millennials do research. Today, almost everyone researches companies, products and people online before making a purchase. How can a local person find you? What will they see when they do an internet search? If they’ve already met you and then check you out online, what will they learn?
  • Social media. Millennials spend about 85% of their time connected. As a financial professional, you need a social media presence. It needs to be better than competitors who are just going through the motions. Your approach also must be in compliance with firm rules.
  • Referrals. Sites like TripAdvisor and HomeAdvisor provide feedback from users who are previous customers. For financial services, it’s likely millennials will ask their friends: “Who do you know …” Can your friends and clients spot an opportunity?
  • Connect on their terms. Industry veterans remember when the two primary channels were letters and phone calls. Many millennials have ditched phone calls in favor of texting. Others prefer email. You must engage with your prospects through their preferred channel, consistent with firm rules.

See more tips in the Round the Table story “Selling to millennials.”

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