Young professionals starting off careers as financial advisors often times have difficulty prospecting and selling to older clients. A lucky few have a natural charm with the older crowd, but most are intimidated and feel as though they have more to prove to older clients to gain their trust‒ and that’s a fair concern! Age-bias is a hard reality that young financial advisors have to deal with. On the bright side, most clients will judge your age less than your maturity and professionalism, so it is possible to overcome that bias in most cases. That’s why it’s important to take extra considerations when dealing with older prospects and clients to make them comfortable and gain their confidence. Here are some tips for young advisors on how to have successful interactions with older clients:
Tips For Young Financial Advisors With Older Clients
- Put Attention Into Your Pre-Meeting Interactions: Whether you are making cold-calls or emailing your prospects, make sure to be respectful, professional, and prepared. Make sure any written communication is clean and free of mistakes, with classic, professional formatting. When you speak over the phone, be prepared and and speak with confidence. If you demonstrate a high level of professionalism and knowledge, you may surprise your older prospects when you meet in person and they see how young you are.
- Look The Part: You may be able to get away with casual dress when seeing younger clients, but the older generation expects professional attire. Don’t go overboard, but a tie and sport jacket could go a long way in making your older clients feel confident in you handling their money. On top of looking the part, put some extra thought into acting professional as well; that means cleaning up your office before a meeting, giving a firm handshake, making eye contact, addressing older clients as sir/ma’am, and practicing good business etiquette.
- Be Confident: You must be confident in yourself if you want others to be confident in you. This is the biggest issue for most young financial advisors just beginning their careers; when you lack experience, it can be difficult to come off as an expert, even if you are very knowledgeable. You should practice public speaking however you can and try to engage with older people in your everyday life to get comfortable with it. The real key to confidence is preparation. If you do your homework and demonstrate that you care about the issues that are most important to your older clients, and you will be able to confidently showcase your value despite your age.
- Educate Yourself: You may find that pursuing further education and certifications is the best way to prove yourself to older clients. Study up on the financial issues that baby-boomers care about the most and stay up-to-date on the solutions. For many young advisors, the best educational experience is to have a mentor. If your firm offers training or mentorship opportunities, don’t miss out. Not only will you learn a lot from watching a more experienced advisor, but your older clients will have more confidence in you when you are backed by an older advisor.
- See From Their Perspective: One of the biggest things that stands in the way of young advisors having successful meetings with older clients/prospects is their outlook on the situation. Don’t just think about how you can convince older people to pay for your services; picture yourself forty years down the road and consider how you would feel walking into a young advisor’s office. What will be important to you? What will be your wants/needs? How about fears? What type of person would you trust with your money? What concerns would you have about working with a young financial advisor? If you can’t put yourself into their shoes, you’ll never be able to sell to them. Older people are really just people‒ you may have difficulty relating to them at face-value but if you practice empathy and good listening skills you’ll realize that you share common emotions. Some clients may have the attitude that only an older advisor could understand and truly care about their problems, but if you make them feel heard, you can surely overcome the age-bias.
In summary, dealing with older clients doesn’t have to be a nightmare for young advisors. If you are prepared, educated, confident, professional, and genuine, their trust will come and you’ll secure their business.