August 28, 2013

Here are some ways you can use that fact to your advantage

Show me a teenager, and I’ll show you a person with a mobile phone permanently attached to her arm. Show me a 4 year old, and I’ll show you a little guy who can use an iPad without much help. This is nothing new - we all know that kids and young adults can use computers to socialize and find almost everything they need online. But what about your older clients? Do your 65+ clients get online? You better believe it!

As of April 2012, over half of people over age 65 use the internet - and that number is rising. Comparatively, over 75% of people ages 50-65 are online. Furthermore, once a person gets online, it becomes a regular part of their life - can you imagine "quitting" the internet? One interesting thing to note: internet usage drops off sharply at age 75. That doesn’t mean people stop using it at that age, but rather that a large part of the "G.I. Generation" never started using the internet in the first place. Younger generations will certainly change this statistic as they age.

Senior Internet Use

When you call your clients, do they answer on a rotary-dial phone?

Seniors use cell phones

Of course not - they use their cell phone! In fact, approximately 70% of seniors over age 65 use cell phones. Just about half use a desktop computer, while over 30% use a laptop. So what is it they do on their phones and PCs? Well before you get ahead of me, let’s clarify that most seniors do not have “smartphones” at this point. So they are in fact simply using their phones for phone calls. But on to desktops and laptops - they are using their computers for browsing websites, email, and (believe it or not) even social networking.

What does this mean for an agent like you?

While we don't know exactly what seniors are viewing on their computers, we do know there is an excellent chance they are researching health insurance, and anything that impacts their retirement. Are you prepared to provide answers to them at their fingertips?  Agents with websites that can assist them with solutions to their concerns will make an impact.

Now, about email - if one of your carriers announces a 20% rate increase, do you:

A) Wait for your client to get their bill, get upset, and call you to ask why you didn’t warn them

B) Call each of them one-by-one, explain the situation, and schedule appointments

C) Send a letter to each of them, explaining the situation, and ask them to call and schedule appointments

D) Email them all at once, explaining the situation, and ask them to call or email to schedule appointments

There’s no perfect answer, but I’d personally start by emailing everyone that I could in one fell swoop, then reach out to those without emails using one of the other options. Phone calls are great, but time consuming - if you have 500 clients, is that the most efficient use of your time?

There are simple, cost-effective ways of emailing your entire client base, and being able to know if and when they opened your message. That’s efficient!

As I mentioned above, seniors are even getting into social networking. Specifically, they’re getting on Facebook as a way to stay in touch with their families and friends. For the most part, they aren’t using LinkedIn, since it’s aimed at the workforce as opposed to retirees (if you don’t have an account as an agent - get one). There are many other social network sites out there, but Facebook is the one to pay attention to regarding your clients. You can even advertise your services based on age and location - a nice way to target prospects in your area.

Do This, Starting Today

Every time you speak to a client, explain that you are updating all your client records, and ask for their email address. You can reassure them that you won’t bombard them with messages and that you won’t sell their info - people are understandably hesitant to give out their email. Explain that you just want a better way to keep in touch with them and let them know of rate increases and other topics that may affect them. (In a future article I’ll show you how to store and use your clients’ info, but if you just can’t wait, give me a call)

During your conversation, ask your clients if they use Facebook. If you have an account, consider connecting with them - this obviously depends on how private a person you are, but it’s yet another way to build your relationships.

Oh, and most important of all - once you start making these calls, you’re going to find that clients want to talk about their various situations, and this is going to turn into salesEmail me and let me know how it goes.

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