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Three Strategies for Effectively Prospecting Millennial Clients

The wealth transfer is coming. Here's how to be ready.

Financial advisors may have a significant prospecting opportunity with millennials, who are poised to inherit several trillion dollars from the baby boomer generation over the next 25 years.

While some advisors may be hesitant to designate too many resources to courting this younger generation, who they may believe have fewer assets and more debt, neglecting to pursue millennial clients could actually be more detrimental to business in the long run. Not only will millennials be the recipients of the largest generational wealth transfer to date, but they could also greatly benefit from financial advice, as they focus on getting married, buying homes and paying off student debt, among other financial responsibilities.

The financial complexities that millennials are navigating, coupled with the potential wealth transfer heading their way, make them an important demographic for financial advisors who are looking to grow their business. However, advisors must pay heed and appeal to the particular set of needs, financial decisions and communication styles of this younger generation in order to reach them effectively. Here are my top three suggestions for how financial advisors can—and should—prospect younger millennial clients.

  1. Prospect through parents

To help ensure business continuity within the family, advisors should engage with the millennial-aged children of their current clients. By initiating these conversations, advisors are working toward establishing a relationship and building trust with that next generation. If the children of current clients feel involved and are comfortable with their parents’ advisor, then there is a better chance that they will stay with who they know and trust when the inevitable wealth transfer takes place.

To start getting acquainted with clients’ millennial children, advisors should offer to co-counsel their clients alongside their children who will inherit their wealth. Including the beneficiaries in planning sessions or routine check-in meetings is a great place to start, as is encouraging clients to invite their adult children to special client events. Advisors should make a point to speak directly to the clients’ children during these meeting points and give them an opportunity to ask their own questions.

  1. Tap into social media

Social media is a low- or no-cost platform that provides advisors with a way to establish their brand identity and connect with millennial prospects. Crowdsourcing and online searches are commonplace when an individual is seeking a professional service, so having a solid digital presence is fundamental to an advisor’s prospecting success, particularly among the younger crowd. 

LinkedIn is a particularly useful tool for building a network and demonstrating industry knowledge to potential clients. Advisors can use LinkedIn to perform targeted client searches using keywords, and can reach out to prospects through mutual connections or based on other common ground. LinkedIn is also an appropriate place to share relevant, useful content for investors, along with commentary that can specifically speak to the millennial generation and why that content is applicable to them. Advisors should make sure that they come up with a strategy before going live on any social media, deciding on the appropriate cadence and tone of their page and scheduling posts in advance, and should consult with their firm’s legal and compliance teams about social media policies.

  1. Give them what they want—and need

To reach financially cautious millennials, it’s imperative that advisors show empathy for the financial hurdles this specific group experiences. For many millennials, retirement is an abstract concept, but paying down their student loan debt and saving for a down payment on a house are tangible, immediate financial needs. If advisors want to appeal to the millennial generation, they need to offer tailored guidance and connect them to resources that meet their top-of-mind, present financial goals.

Advisors should consider creating targeted marketing materials for the millennial group that speak less about retirement and legacy planning and more about debt management and family planning. In addition, advisors can demonstrate their value and their understanding by connecting prospective millennial clients to resources that will benefit their future and help them achieve financial freedom, such as those related to career development, home buying, debt management, college savings for children and more.

Before launching a big push to prospect millennial clients, it’s also important that advisors think about their team structure and how to be best positioned to service multigenerational relationships. It might make sense to onboard additional financial advisors to offer clients more demographic diversity and to leverage the experience and knowledge of a wider range of generations. Advisors have more reasons than not for seeking out millennial clients, but effectively reaching this demographic will require some adjustments to their typical prospecting tactics and possibly to their business model as well.

Bill McManus is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors LLC

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