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So the question begs, as advisors get older and the emphasis continues to be a focus on working with the millennials and Gen Z, how do you connect with these younger clients and prospects short of seeming like a dinosaur?
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Millennials, in particular, value this notion. Your gray hair and experience convey expertise, which just might find them more likely to listen to you than you think.
As a matter of fact, millennials cite experience as the number one quality they value the most in a financial advisor, according to a study conducted by Broadridge and The Center for Generational Kinetics.
However, financial advisors that are successful with younger clients truly succeed with them because they make a concerted effort to meaningfully connect with younger clients and prospects in order to build trust. In other words, relying on your experience alone may not be enough to connect with the younger generations.
Younger clients and prospects may be more drawn to your advisory practice if they are able to engage directly with team members on your staff who are their cohorts and automatically speak their language with ease.
As with most clients, there are topics that can open up both landmines and goldmines.
It is best to avoid conversations that start with “when I was your age.” These conversations can be a turn-off and easily open up a landmine with your younger clients, even if the comment is meant to be innocent.
Due to the age divide between you and your younger clients, pop culture topics may be an area you want to steer clear of as well unless you pride yourself with keeping up on the latest music, movies, and Netflix content.
While pop culture is certainly not an offensive topic to talk about, if you don’t know the references your clients are making, it may open you up to embarrassment and feeling more like that proverbial prehistoric dinosaur.
Instead, common-ground topics that are safe zones might be most appropriate. Topics like where they went to school, where they are originally from and their hobbies and interests are a great place to start.
College and professional sports, travel and restaurants are also good subjects that you are more likely to share commonalities about and will make you much more relatable.
When you dive deeper, you will quickly discover that millennials’ values are of utmost importance to them. Work-life balance is critical. They want to feel engaged at work and they also crave a true sense of purpose. They have an entrepreneurial spirit. Socially responsible investing is also extremely important to them. Ask them which of their core values rank the highest and why?
Generation Z, on the other hand, has a strong desire to make a difference in the world they live in. They place high importance on volunteering and philanthropy. The large majority are concerned about humanity’s impact on the world and they want their professional job to impact the world. Find out more about where they volunteer and why. What philanthropies are near and dear to their hearts?
These subject matters are truly a treasure trove for you to discover. How can you help them to invest to match their personal values?
Although age does divide you, you’ll likely discover you have much more in common than you both originally thought.
The younger generations want your advice. Age is just a number. But, being sincere in your efforts to connect with them is what will separate you from the rest.
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