As an insurance agent, a large portion of your day revolves around communicating with clients and prospects. Effective communication isn’t just important, it’s vital to the success of your business.
In order to execute effective communication, you must thoroughly know your clients and the unique needs of different groups of people. Many insurance agencies work with clients of all ages, while others specialize in special groups like seniors.
With an older population, there are many strategies to help converse clearly and efficiently.
Here are some tips for effectively communicating with seniors as an agent.
1. Avoid Patronization
Whether you’re working with a 55-year-old or 85-year-old, he/she has plenty of life experience to recognize patronizing language upon hearing it. Seniors especially do not want to feel disrespected or taken advantage of, so take care in the way you speak. Do not come across as disingenuous as you get to know the client. Condescending language, whether intentional or accidental, is a sure way to lose a prospect.
2. Don’t Rush
If there’s anything that older individuals have more of, it’s time! Rushing through explanations and questions is a sure way to lose the trust of your client. Some older seniors especially may need extra time to digest information and think of questions for you. Guide them through the process while individually tailoring the conversation to address specific needs. Go at their pace and avoid interruption.
3. Address Formally
Seniors come from a generation that highly values respect. While many people don’t mind being called by their first name, ask your clients how they would like to be addressed. Start with “Mr.,” or “Mrs.,” etc. until you are more familiar and know what they would like to be called.
4. Recognize Physical Challenges
When working with an older population, remember that there can be existing disabilities such as hearing and sight impairments. Be patient with any accommodations, and make sure your office is accessible and comfortable for seniors that may have extra needs. Many older seniors use walkers or have wheelchairs, so be ready to accommodate those needs. Be attentive to the fact that there may be differences in cognitive processing as you converse.
5. Establish Trust
One huge obstacle for this population is avoiding being taken advantage of. Too often seniors are scammed or overcharged for products and services. They want to feel like you have their best interests in mind, especially when it comes to making decisions about products like life insurance. Reassure them that you specialize in insurance for seniors, and work with many people in similar situations. Take as much time as possible to build their confidence in you.
6. Go Over One Concept at a Time
When communicating with older seniors, be careful not to mix ideas and questions as this can be confusing and overwhelming. Go over one idea at a time and make sure your client is following. Follow more of a linear conversation pattern instead of talking about multiple facets at the same time.
Effectively communicating with seniors as an agent comes down to respecting the needs of an aging population. Treat your seniors with the same respect and dignity you would give to any other client. Be direct, patient, and considerate when meeting and going over options. Your job is to help them choose the best insurance for their life circumstances, and they are looking for a trustworthy agent.
By following these strategies, you’ll develop the confidence you need to help seniors with their unique needs and your competence will show.