The Art of Selling to the Age
A lot has been changing lately with the innovations of technology and evolving generations. These days the age groups with insurance purchasing power are: the Silent Generation (70+), Baby Boomers (54-70), Generation X (30-54), and the Millennials (18-30). In fact, one-quarter of today’s population in the United States is made up of the Millennial group. Each group is unique in how they’ve adopted technology and how they buy, but one thing is clear across the board: you need a website. No matter the age, all generations will have a significant percentage of people that will look you up online. The overwhelming majority own a digital device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer), so a digital presence is no longer a “should”, but a “must”.
However, a website isn’t the only way you can reach these groups. In order to be successful, you need to know where you can find each generation and how to talk to them. This post will discuss some of the techniques you can use to approach each of the four groups.
The Silent Generation:
The Silent Generation are those that are 70+, usually distinguished as those born between 1920 and 1945. The smallest group measuring in at 28 million, they were born too late for World War I and were too young to participate in World War II. As such, this generation is concerned with the value they are getting for their money. Here are some things to keep in mind when marketing to the traditionalists:
- Traditional Marketing. They like traditional marketing approaches such as door-to-door and direct mailers.
- Have a website. A good portion of this generation does their buying research online, so make sure you have a digital presence that they can reference. Although this generation doesn’t use technology as often as the younger generations, they still are technologically-abled, so don’t be afraid of using technology with them.
- Simple, direct, and to the point. They aren’t about the fluff and don’t care to hear about it either.
- Keep your language in mind. They will be more receptive to you if you use traditional professional language instead of the more recently accepted casual communication.
- Take your time and get to know them. For them to trust you means they feel a connection to you, so give them time to warm up to you before try to close.
The Baby Boomers are one of the largest groups measuring in at 75 million. This is the generation that came after World War II. They range in age from 54 to 70, and the majority are at or nearing retirement. Being raised by the Silent Generation, they too are concerned with the value they are receiving for the money they pay. This generation has a lot of variables, but here are some tips you can use to approach them:
- Flexibility. Boomers will surprise you; they aren’t all interested in traditional sales. Just because they are the grandparents’ age, doesn’t mean you should treat them as such. The vast majority (69%) use digital devices, so be open to showing them “cutting-edge products and services.”
- Communication. 95% of Boomers use email on a regular basis. Most of their professional lives was spent using email, so email marketing is one easy way to stay connected with this generation.
- Build trust. Before they’ll buy from you, they want to know who you are and what you stand for. This is an integral part of the buyer journey for them and something you should keep in mind when you’re working with them.
Generation X is an in-between generation. They were born as technology was forming, but just out of the internet age. This is a considerably smaller group, 66 million, and incorporates the largest variety of ages (30-54). You’ll find that it will take more time and effort on your part to convince them, too. They are often called the “Forgotten Generation,” but here are some tactics you can use so you don’t forget them:
- Multiple approaches. This generation is digitally-enabled, but they didn’t grow up with technology in their hands. Consider approaching them with a handful of tactics like social media, email marketing, direct mailers, phone calls, and door-to-door. That way you can reach them in multiple comfort zones.
- They are providers. They have a strong desire to provide for themselves and their loved ones, so make sure your pitch includes the lasting value provided to them and their loved ones.
- Play it safe. This generation is more concerned with becoming independent and decreasing their debt, so you need to be conservative in your approach and think twice about pitching them anything extravagant.
The Millennials are the largest group in the list. Numbering at almost 76 million 18-30-year-olds, they are quickly taking over. They were born using technology and don’t know life without it. They are also the “instant gratification generation,” so you need to act fast when working with them. If you’re unsure how to approach the everyday Millennial, here are some tricks that you should remember:
- Social Media. 71% of Millennials check and use social media sites on a regular basis. If you want to connect with this generation, then you need to be on one (or more) social media sites.
- Keep up. Millennials are adaptive to the changing technologies, so for you to stay relevant to them, you need to as well. That means making a presence on new apps and new platforms—everything digital.
- Blog. You may think you don’t have time for it, but blogging is a great way to connect with the Millennial. It will help build trust with them and can grow a stronger connection as well. Millennials put a lot of stock in a strong digital presence, and they are currently infatuated with blog and vlogs.
- Testimonials. Today’s Millennials put peer recommendations on a high pedestal. They’ll trust you more and be more likely to buy if they see others trust and value you.
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By Allison Babberl on October 18, 2016 in Selling
Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Kuzmeski More articles