marketing insurance to millennialsIt’s no secret that the millennial demographic is the next big target audience for insurance agents and financial advisors.  And although this forum is filled with articles on why you should target millennials, and even how  to approach millennials, none of them get you in the holiday spirit while still being educational.  Until now.  Go ahead and sit back with a nice cup of hot cocoa while you enjoy a holiday-themed run down on everything you need to know about millennials (all while you enjoy a few clips from some classic holiday films).

**Disclaimer: I use the terms “we” and “us” a lot.  That’s because I’m a millennial and these are my personal opinions about my generation.

It’s a Wonderful Life (
This movie can teach you A LOT about millennials.  Think of It’s a Wonderful Life and Disability Insurance/Annuities/LTCi, etc. as being one in the same.  You assume we all know what it is because…doesn’t everyone?  You assume that because it’s been around for years and you’ve seen it a million times, of course it was shown in our homes growing up.  But it wasn’t.  We’ve never seen it.  We’ve heard of it and we know it exists, but just like various types of insurance, we can’t tell you anything about it. 

Remember this: If we’ve only ever heard our grandparents or our parents talking about a particular subject, our immediate response when asked about such subject is that it’s not for us; it’s for older people. When speaking to millennials about different types of coverage, make sure they know what the coverage does, how it pays out and who should have it, before you try to make a sale.

A Christmas Story (  
Ah, what a classic! I might have to reference this movie more than once, but for now, let’s think back to the scene where Ralphie’s mom makes him suck on a bar of soap.  As you’ll remember, Ralphie muttered “Oh fudge” in front of his dad when they were changing a tire…only he didn’t say “Of fudge.”  After Ralphie’s mom demands to know who taught him the “F” word, he panics and blames his friend, which she believes.

Remember this: millennials are not as naïve as Ralphie’s mom.  If something goes poorly while our case is being underwritten, and it happens to be your fault, just be honest with us.  Don’t blame the carrier, the underwriter, your assistant, the medical examiner—anyone who isn’t you. We’ve made excuses, too, and we’re pretty good about knowing when we’re being lied to.  We know mistakes happen—we value honesty over the blame-game.

Jingle All the Way (
Although so much can be said of any scene involving the under-appreciated duo, Sinbad and Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ll limit myself to one scene only. In case you’re unfamiliar with this film, allow me to bring you up to speed.  Two grown men spend the entire movie tearing each other apart as they both look for a Turbo-Man doll for their sons…rather than teaching their children that they can’t always get whatever they want and sometimes life’s not fair.  Okay, that last part isn’t really mentioned in the movie, but seeing as how this article is about millennials, it felt like an important aspect to mention.  Anyway, in this scene, the two men enter a store that they thought carried the doll, and were ridiculed and teased by both the employees and shoppers for being dumb enough to think they could have waited until the day before Christmas to find such a popular toy.  As you can assume, the two men reacted with anger. 

Remember this: if you make millennials feel stupid, they’ll get angry.  If a prospective client were to come to you and say that her Crohn’s disease has caused her to miss a lot of work lately, so she’d like to get some disability insurance–don’t laugh in her face and say, “Sorry, can’t help you!”  Kindly explain that any DI policy she might get would exclude her pre-existing condition, especially one that’s already causing her to miss work.  If you laugh in her face, or make her feel like an idiot, there’s zero chance she’ll come to you when she needs other coverage or assistance with anything else.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (
In this movie, there’s a particular scene where Cindy Lou Who makes her way into the Grinch’s lair.  This confuses the Grinch because he thought everyone was too scared of him to enter his home—and that’s how he wants it to stay. He proceeds to yell, make noises and act crazy to scare her off, but she just laughs.  The Grinch announces, “Kids today, so desensitized by movies and television.” 

Remember this: scare tactics don’t work on millennials. When talking to millennials about coverage like disability insurance, don’t tell them they might get in a horrific car accident and won’t be able to ever work again, which will cause them to lose their house, their car, maybe even their marriage.  Millennials won’t buy into that nonsense.  We assume that kind of devastation is more likely to happen on TV than to us.  When speaking to millennials, use logic and statistics.  Tell us that 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year olds will become disabled before they retire.  Or tell us that 1 in 3 Americans between the ages of 35 and 65 will become disabled for more than 90 days.  And, most importantly, don’t use the most devastating example of disability you can think of.  Remind them that mental nervous claims and illnesses are leading causes of disabilities. They’ll be more responsive if you use practical examples.

A Christmas Story (
Do you remember the scene where Ralphie waits in line (for what seems like forever) to sit on Santa’s lap, only to reach the front and forget what he wanted to ask for? Santa becomes frustrated at his lack of preparedness, says he’s busy, and sends Ralphie away.  Despite the fact that Ralphie finally says what he wants, the Santa blows him off. 

Remember this: millennials are like this mall Santa – they’re busy, they value their time, and if you’re unprepared, they’ll send you on your way. Just because millennials are younger than your usual clients, doesn’t mean our time or our jobs are any less important. If you schedule a meeting with us, be on time.  If you say our appointment will only take 30 minutes, don’t take 31.  If you’re going to present a new type of coverage, be prepared to answer our questions.  It’s likely we’ve already done extensive online research and we have specific things we want answered. I’m officially coining this concept the “Millennial Rule.” Do unto Millennials as you would do unto Boomers.

Elf (
In one of my favorite scenes from Elf, “Santa” comes into the store to ask children what they want for Christmas.  Buddy, who knows the real Santa, sees this imposter and freaks out. 

Remember this: don’t lead millennials to believe you’re something that you’re not. They will get upset and they will tell everyone they know that you sit on a throne of lies. If you mainly sell life insurance, and we’re your first disability insurance case, let us know.  That way we’re prepared if something goes awry and we won’t panic if you don’t seem to know the answers to all of our questions.  It’s okay to say you’re new to the product and you’re learning all you can while you assist us.  What’s not okay is if you pretend that we’re your millionth case and you make us promises that you’re not sure you can keep.  In this era of social media, you don’t want a client to take to the internet and bash you in every forum or review site they can find.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (
Last, but certainly not least, we turn to Rudolph the Red Noised Reindeer, the underdog story of the century.  Rudolph was misunderstood by others, until they got to know him and realized he could be an asset to their business because of his differences.

Remember this: millennials might be different than the prospects you’re used to, but once given a chance, they’ll help you succeed.

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We look forward to helping you make 2015 your best year ever.

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