When I say the word millennial what words come to your mind?
I recently spoke to a group of business owners and asked them the same question. As expected, the answers I received were varied.
I heard “entitled,” but I also heard the word “driven.” I heard “poor social skills,” but I also heard “connected.”
The term millennial is often overused and typically misunderstood. This is a huge and diverse group that’s well educated and even better connected.
Understanding this generation is no longer optional. For your insurance business to survive long-term, you must find ways to attract, sell, and wow millennials.
Before I provide specific ways to market and sell to millennials, let me provide some background.
Millennials are those born in the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s. That means, that as of 2015, most millennials fall into the 18-34 age demographic. Millennials have never known a world when they haven’t been connected through technology.
Let’s talk numbers on millennials.
There are an estimated 75,000,000 millennials! In fact, by 2025, they will account for 75% of the global market. These numbers can’t be overlooked.
A recent study found the following trends on millennial habits.
- 65% of millennial said losing their phone or computer would have a greater impact than losing their car
- 63% of millennials stay in touch with their favorite brands through social media
- 84% say that word of mouth is their primary influencer when making a buying decision
- 41% said they have made a recent purchase using their smartphones in the past month
- It is estimated that millennials will spend $2,450,000,000 this year and by 2018 they will spend $3,400,000,000 (those are trillions!)
- Each day more than 10,000 millennials turn 21.
Yes, these numbers are important because of the sheer volume of this generation (larger than the baby boomers), but they are equally important because of how millennials buy things.
Millennials simply don’t relate to most forms of traditional advertising like previous generations.
In general, Millennials don’t…..
- Read newspapers
- Watch television commercials
- Answer telemarketing calls
- Like any form of interruption
- Care about your sales pitch
However, millennials do like to share great experiences with others using technology.
So what does all of this mean to you the insurance agency owner?
You no longer control the message!
So the question is, how do you market and sell to the largest and most connected demographic in history?
First you must understand the trends and tendencies. Next, you must be open minded. Finally, you must realize that every generation brings a fresh set of ideas, skill set, and perspective. Although you may not understand or agree with everything, you must be adaptable.
Here are 5 ways you can better position your agency to market and sell to millennials.
1. Your Message Must be Trustworthy and Authentic.
The number one trait that millennials loathe is inauthenticity. Authenticity cannot be faked…..ever.
As I stated earlier, millennials are the most educated generation in history. They do not want to be pandered to, they want to be engaged.
If you try to manipulate them or bend the truth, you will likely lose their trust forever.
Moreover, inaccuracies can no longer be blown off. Instead, inaccuracies are blown up. Did I mentioned that millennials are extremely well connected? Instead of complaining to a friend over coffee, reports of foul play are now shared on social media and through mass text.
Trust has never been given and will always be earned. Millennials take this a step further as they can fact check and share complaints in seconds.
It’s vital that you and your team develop and maintain a message of authenticity.
Acknowledging you can’t do something and delivering a sincere apology will go much further than promising something you can’t deliver.
2. You Must be Able to Leverage Technology and Create a Digital Presence
First of all, I didn’t say “understand and implement technology,” I said “leverage technology.” There is a huge difference.
The point is that you don’t know how it all works, you just need to understand who it works for.
Millennials have never known a world without the internet. Yes, there have been enormous strides in internet speed, deliver, and social tools like Facebook in recent years, but this has always been a connected generation through technology.
More importantly, millennials (and for that matter all generations) are now connected wherever they go. You can update, text, tweet, or maybe even actually call from anywhere at anytime.
You must be visible and available 24/7. Your website, blog, and social media presence is your digital storefront. What does it say about your agency? What is the first impression a millennial will have when finding you online?
Fair or not, millennials will move on quickly if they can’t find what they are looking for or even if they are simply unimpressed with what they see about you online.
3. You Must Provide Value That’s Useful to Them
This is really true of any generation, but millennials are known as the “Me generation” for a reason.
Too often insurance agencies market themselves in terms of their perceived value. I hear messages online and offline such as, “We are an independent insurance agency,” “We have been in business since 1957,” “We provide great customer service.”
While all of that may be true, none of it says anything to a consumer, especially a millennial consumer.
To reach millennials you must find ways to share how you solve specific problems, present new ideas, and share new information.
You must be able to give away some of your “insurance secrets.” You no longer hold all the cards. Information is readily available and if you don’t provide it, someone else will.
Providing value in terms of them builds trust, credibility, and likability. Just because you “give away” some of your hard earned knowledge doesn’t mean they will use you and go somewhere else. Sure, some will, but most will lean on your for advice through the buying process.
4) You Must Build Personal Relationships
After all this talk of technology, developing personal relationships may seem counterintuitive.
Because millennials are connected by technology inundated with marketing messages constantly, you must find a way to reach them through all the noise.
To do this, you must create a message or messages with specific focus. Who are you trying to reach? What do they want? How can you help them? What problems can you solve?
I have always maintained the adage that “If you market to everyone, you market to no one.” This is especially true of millennials.
The only way to cut through the noise and distractions millennials face, is to address them at a personal and emotional level.
Becoming a masterful storyteller is one of the most important skills you can develop.
Not everyone will like or resonate with your story, but remember, you can’t reach everyone. The key is to connect with those that relate and you serve best.
Facts and figures are forgotten, but a great story is retold forever. Millennials can share your story over and over. What’s your story?
5) You Must Stand for Something Other Than Just Profit
As Simon Sinek wrote in his book, “Start with Why,” “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Millennials want to know why you are passionate about your industry, your community, and those you serve.
What are your core values?
What is your business providing your community, your region, your state, your country, the world?
Millennials long to be part of something, not just buy something.
If your value proposition only discusses competitive pricing and quality coverages, millennials will not buy in.
Describe outcomes, not features.
If you can successfully demonstrate how your business serves its prospects, customers, and business community, the profit will take care of itself.
The Bottom Line
No generation should be stereotyped with a broad brush. However, every generation grew up in a unique economic, social, and technological era.
Whether you are a millennial, gen Xer like me, or baby boomer who is unsure of how to adapt to this new generation, one thing is certain. The size and power of the millennials can’t be overlooked.
Millennials will be the driving force in our economy over the next 50 years.
You must find ways to understand the tendencies of millennials to not only grow your business, but to survive.