Millennials now surpass Baby Boomers as the largest generation alive. This means it’s more important than ever before for advisors to develop strategies to connect with Gen Y. Any RIA which aims to be sustainable in the long-term needs a strategy to appeal to Millennials, who have unique financial needs and preferences. This guide will cover everything you need to know about NextGen clients and how to attract and retain them.
WHO ARE NEXTGEN CLIENTS?
NextGen clients are Millennials, the children of the Baby Boomer generation. Millennials have grown up around computers, using social media, and communicating via text. Also called Gen Y, this generation is notoriously known for craving instant-gratification and wanting access to information on-demand. Gen Y is also communication-oriented, having grown up in a highly-connected world.
During childhood, most Millennials witnessed their parents experience layoffs and financial crisis. This means that Gen Y tends to approach financial planning with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Millennials are expected to inherit a large sum of wealth from the Baby Boomer generation over the coming years. Millennial’s major financial needs include planning for retirement and paying off student loans, among other concerns.
BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH NEXTGEN CLIENTS
There are numerous benefits to working with NextGen clients including:
- Millennials are set to inherit over $30 trillion of wealth from Baby Boomers.
- Today’s Millennials are tomorrow’s executives, high-earning professionals, and high-net-worth clients.
- Millennials are the largest generation currently in the workforce, amounting to approximately 80 million people.
- Working with Millennials presents unique challenges and can be highly rewarding.
HOW TO WORK WITH NEXTGEN CLIENTS
The above reasons are why many advisors are now vying for the attention of Millennial-age clients. In order to remain competitive, there are three major areas you should consider when attempting to work with NextGen clients. These areas include:
The rest of this guide will be dedicated to explaining NextGen-friendly strategies for each of these crucial areas.
The days of picking up the phone and making a call are over. Millennials are much more apt to use communication streams like the internet, email, and text to get the information they need. Because of this, it’s important to change the way you approach client communication when you aim to work with Millennials. Try implementing the following to make your communication style more Millennial-friendly:
- Include a link for a prospect to email you directly on your website
- Include a link for prospects to schedule a virtual meeting with you on your website (Calendly is great for this)
- Allow your clients to text you with questions or to set up a meeting
- Distribute a monthly newsletter via email (MailChimp works well)
Advisors who use virtual meetings are more likely to attract NextGen clients. This is because NextGen clients are more technology-centric than previous generations. They appreciate the opportunity to use technology to streamline the meeting process. Millennials are also more crunched for time than any previous generation. They see virtual meetings as a great time-saving method.
Another benefit of virtual advising is that you're no longer limited to clients in your immediate geographical area. With virtual advising, you can work with clients from all over the country, and even the world.
In order to implement virtual advising, you will need virtual meeting technology. Some great virtual meeting solutions include:
Find out more about these virtual-meeting solutions here.
Millennials want instant gratification more than any generation before. This means instant access to financial information is key to attracting NextGen clients. The easiest way to achieve this is through the use of a client portal.
Oranj is a client experience platform which provides your clients with instant access to their financial information via an intuitive client portal. Oranj allows Gen Y clients to take a more hands-on approach to managing their money, even giving them the power to set new financial goals from within the portal. Oranj’s integrated instant messaging capabilities also allow clients to quickly and easily ask their advisor questions, appealing to Gen Y’s text-savvy communication style.
Having a functional, well-designed, client portal will give you a serious competitive advantage when it comes to signing NextGen clients.
Leveraging a back-office solution can increase your efficiency, giving your more time to meet with prospects. Rather than wasting hours generating billing statements for each of your clients, implement Atlas/X’s easy-to-use intuitive billing platform to seamlessly manage all of your client’s fees.
Atlas/X’s simplified client-onboarding process and streamlined account management makes it easy for you to add additional clients to your book without adding mountains of paperwork to your to-do list.
Atlas/X is a powerful tool for advisors that want to spend less time on billing, generating performance reports, and managing accounts, and more time working with clients. Powerful technology is key for any advisor interested in working with Gen Y.
Niche marketing is particularly important when working with NextGen clients. This is because Millennials are information-oriented, and won’t hesitate to use the web to find an advisor who caters to their specific needs. The days of working with the local advisor are over. Gen Y clients want an advisor who specializes in their niche, whether that’s teachers, doctors, young professionals, or women, the niche opportunities are endless. Check out this list of niche markets for ideas.
Millennials have been surfing the internet since childhood, meaning they expect well-designed, easy-to-navigate websites. Having a poorly designed website can decrease your credibility and deter potential NextGen clients from reaching out to you. If you don’t have the skills to create a well-designed website then outsource the project to a graphic designer. Alternatively, leverage a platform such as WordPress, Squarespace, or Advisor Websites which help people with little to no web design experience create an attractive, functional website.
Gen Y is the most social-media savvy generation currently in the workforce. This means that to attract NextGen clients, bolstering your social media presence is a must. However, there are dozens of social media sites--so where to begin? Focusing your attention on three of the most popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can help you create a solid online presence without spending a lot of time. Here is a brief overview of each of these sites:
Facebook is a great place to develop your firm’s brand. Most often, Facebook users are looking for content which is fun, interesting, and informative. Try to post 2-3 times per week on your firm’s Facebook page.
Twitter is a place where you can showcase both your expertise and your personality! Follow other industry leaders and influencers, and retweet valuable content you think is useful to Gen Y. Tweeting about current events and financial advice can help further establish your expertise in the industry. Tweeting 3-7 times a day is optimal.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and you can use it demonstrate thought leadership and highlight your credentials. Make sure your personal LinkedIn profile is complete, up-to-date, and includes a recent headshot. Post an informative article or a link to your latest blog post 1-2 times per week for maximum impact.
Social Media Management
Worried about how much time it’s going to take you to manage all these social media accounts? Utilizing a social media management software can reduce the amount of time you spend on social media, while still allowing you to create a positive online brand. Two great social media management tools are:
Both Hootsuite and Buffer are easy to use, and allow you to schedule social media messages well in advance. No matter which method you choose to manage your social media, the key to attracting NextGen clients is consistently creating posts which are interesting and informative.
Nowadays, more and more advisors are delving into the world of blogging. This is because blogging can offer your firm numerous benefits, including the following:
- Drive more traffic to your website
- Spark potential-clients interest in financial planning
- Establish your expertise
- Develop trust with potential clients
Blogging is particularly important for advisors looking to attract NextGen clients, because NextGen clients spend more time online. This means that a blog can have a big impact on how many potential NextGen clients find their way to your website! When starting a blog, consider the steps you should take to create a high-quality blog:
- Use strong, attention-grabbing headlines
- Focus on creating the content your niche market wants
- Index your posts by topic or popularity to make them easy to find
- Ensure your content is useful and presented in an organized manner
- Use images and graphics in your posts to increase social sharing
Strategic partnerships can help you find the tools and connections you need to effectively work with Gen Y. The XY Planning Network provides advisors with access to cutting-edge technology, compliance tools, and many other resources NextGen advisors find invaluable. Not to mention it connects you with hundreds of other like-minded advisors! While partnerships with organizations like XY Planning Network come at a price, they can help you maintain a competitive edge in the market for NextGen clients.
When it comes to pricing for Millennial-age clients, the consensus is clear: fee-only is the way to go. This is due mainly to Gen Y's skepticism of financial professionals. By offering fee-only pricing, you demonstrate transparency, build trust with clients, and ensure that all your financial advice will be made with the client’s best interest in mind.
The best way to approach pricing with Gen Y is to establish an annual fee, and break that fee up into smaller monthly payments. While NextGen clients may not want to pay a large up-front fee, they can more easily stomach the idea of a $250/month payment, for example.
Generation Y presents a large opportunity for advisors. However, Millennials have unique preferences which advisors need to take into consideration when attempting to work with this demographic. Here are some key takeaways from this guide:
- Implement powerful technology
- Communicate via email, text, video call, and IM
- Meet virtually
- Develop a strong social media presence
- Blog regularly
- Focus on a niche market
- Use fee-only pricing
STEPS TO TAKE TODAY
Interested in working with NextGen clients? Here are some steps you can take today.
- Evaluate your firm’s current technology and consider more Gen-Y friendly solutions
- Consider which niche market you would like to work with
- Create social media profiles and begin actively posting
- Critically evaluate your website to determine if it’s user-friendly
- Dedicate a page of your website to a blog and start posting weekly
- Assess your current pricing model and consider a fee-only structure
Attracting and retaining Millennial-age clients isn’t easy, and requires active planning on the part of the advisor. However, working with NextGen clients can be a lucrative and highly rewarding career move in the long-term if done successfully.
TECHNOLOGY RECOMMENDED IN THIS GUIDE
Meeting Scheduling: Calendly
Electronic Newsletter Distribution: MailChimp
Virtual Meeting: Facetime, Skype, Zoho Meeting, and GoToMeeting
Client Experience Platform: Oranj
Back-Office Solution: Atlas/X
Website Design: WordPress, Squarespace, and Advisor Websites
Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Social Media Management: Hootsuite, Buffer
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