These days, businesses are all about the Millennials. People talk about who they are, what they do, and most importantly, how they choose what to buy. Why look at this particular subset? Well, according to the most recent statistics, the Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1997) number about 75 million, making them the United States' largest living generation, surpassing the numbers of the Baby Boomers. So, if you're not selling insurance to Millennials, then you're missing out on a lot of business. As potential clients, think of the "lifetime value" of this super important demographic. As potential team members, think in terms of how your agency can attract more of this very talented, and coveted, work group.
However, the insurance shopping patterns of Millennials are a mystery to many agents. Indeed, with so many of them, it's hard to pin down exactly how they make their decisions when trying to buy insurance, or just about anything. With technology changing at lightning speed, they have so many options - how do you pin down the insurance shopping patterns of Millennials? Well, just take a look at these insights into how the Millennial mind works when it comes to making purchases.
1. Millenials Want Things Now
There's one reason why this new generation simply can't wait - they grew up with the Internet and smartphones, and so they can get what they want at lightning speed. Whether it's the newest TV show, the latest sneakers, or even their next meal, they can whip out their smartphones, tablets and computers and order anything off the Internet in just moments. Have you noticed how comfortable, and technically savvy, this segment is when using "gadgets" to surf the internet? They know so many "short cuts" where they can order everything from a pizza to that trendy new outfit all while, seemingly, doing numerous other tasks. It's simply not their style to call an agent and then wait for them to come over and give them a quote. For one thing, if they have questions, they want it answered now, not later or tomorrow. They also prefer to avoid "real" interactions, such as face to face meetings or even phone calls. Generally, the less they have to "deal with real people", the better. More often than not they already have educated themselves along the buyer's journey, using the internet as their preferred research tool, well before they reach out to your office for assistance
So, as an insurance agent, what can you do? While, you can't stay up all night and give quotes at 3 in the morning, you can use the same tools Millennials are using to your advantage. A well-designed website, a search engine friendly website (SEO), an active social media page, an accurate business listing on YELP, YP.Com and the plethora of other online directories are foundational to your agency's future success. Creating compliant, and informative, content can help you reach out to younger buyers and make them feel like their immediate needs are met and their questions answered in a timely manner.
2. Millennials Want to Control Information
People in many industries, especially sales, have seen this major shift - more and more, their customers come to them already armed with information, and wanting to get the best deal possible. Twenty years or more ago, sales people had the upper hand because they controlled the information. However, today, the tables have turned. There are so many social media channels, blogs and websites dedicated to finding out information about everything - even insurance. Strangers can even talk about this agent or that company or this coverage. They can talk about the good, bad and well you get the point.....Social media has changed this landscape forever.
While you can't stop the Internet from publishing information about the products you sell, there is an upside. Most likely, these people coming to you asking about insurance are already ready to buy. Instead of having to make cold calls all day, you can leverage social media and your website to filter out those who are merely window shopping and bring in customers who have already gone from the "Awareness" phase to the "Consideration" phase to the ultimate "Decision Making" phase in the buyer's journey. HubSpot says, "Those companies that help the consumer in the first phase, generally are the companies that they go to when they're ready to buy." That's an eye opener.
3. Millennials Hate Being Advertised to
Millennials hate ads with a passion - they don't like being told what to buy, and they especially don't want to buy from anyone that seems insincere and only wants them for their business. Instead, they want to discover things - where are their friends eating lunch? Are they posting it on Facebook? Where are my friends going for vacation this year? Did they post epic pictures on Instagram that got tons of likes? What are the trending topics on Twitter in which my friends are Tweeting?
Advertising, of course, isn't bad in itself. Instead of advertising products to millennials, insurance agents should take a different approach. They should not only engage their audience through social media, but also share information and allow them to make their own decisions, instead of using direct advertising and high-pressure sales tactics think about publishing "non-product" specific, compliant content. Your primary focus, while using social media, should be to show them that you genuinely care about them; this goal allows you to make a unique connection, and bond, that will surely come back to you whenever they're ready to buy your products and services.
4. Millennials Simply Aren't Engaging With Insurers
In the good old days, when parents of Millennials wanted to buy insurance, they probably had an agent come over to their house or they went to their office, sat down and made some small talk, and then got down to business, Or maybe the agent took your parents out to the golf course to do some bonding before talking about coverage, riders, and deductibles. However, Millennials today simple aren't (or don't want to) engage with an agent. In fact, a Gallup poll confirms that young people today are the least engaged insurance customers. Millennials are the "busy" generation - they are overwhelmed with wanting to have it all, they don't have time for small talk or to sit down and read through a contract. Or perhaps, they simply don't want to - not when they can purchase what they want with the click of a button or swipe of a screen. This is one of the bigger challenges for insurance companies and agents. As prospects and customers, millennials aren't as engaged as their predecessors as it relates to the importance of insurance. They know it's important, but the weight they place on this topic just doesn't seem to be as high as those, let's say, of the baby boom generation.
What's the best way to engage your Millennial prospects and customers? For starters, you need to know where they are, and that's on the Internet. Social media,, search engine optimization, onliness business directories and compliant content creation and curation - this is the future for the insurance and financial services industries. Go where the millennials are to build an even stronger book of business--that's online!
Marketing to Millennials is not simple. Even their fellow Millennials might find it hard to sell insurance to their peers. However, by examining how this generation shops and their attitude towards marketing and advertising, you can get a good idea of insurance shopping patterns of Millennials. That way, you can figure out the best way to reach your audience.