My generation grew up with name brand recognition – if you wore Levi's over any other brand of jean, you were cool. We still live in a society that looks differently at people driving a Mercedes Benz, BMW, or Cadillac than the people driving a Hyundai, Kia, or Chrysler.
When I started in this business, I called on a couple that lived in a very small, 2-bedroom home, with fans running, and no air conditioning. Their home was very dated but well kept. Edith always looked like she cut her own hair – which was not true – actually she let her husband Quentin cut her hair. They were saving money, and he did a pretty good job (maybe that was debatable). They taught me a valuable lesson – that the senior consumer isn't always concerned with name brand stuff. They had lived through the Great Depression and had a great sense of the value of a dollar.
The senior consumer isn't always concerned with name brand stuff...
Mr. and Mrs. Hawkee are gone now, but the lesson they taught me was that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. These humble, awesome folks had over 2 million dollars, and lived like Social Security checks were all they had. The truth is they were living off Social Security because they were that frugal. They invested their money with me, and it still blows my mind that they had so much of it. No one would have ever suspected it by the way they lived.
I have learned that the person who has 3 cars, a boat, a camper, and a second home in Florida may not be as attractive a prospect for an annuity, compared with the couple who lives a conservative, non-flashy lifestyle. Regardless of outward appearances, treating everyone as you would expect to be treated is the best policy, and remember – you never know which client relationships might turn into the best ones of your career.