As President of 50-Plus Communications Consulting in Charlotte, NC, Sullivan specializes in helping financial advisers become wiser, more compassionate and significantly more effective advisers.
Sullivan has spoken and conducted training for more than 900,000 professionals in investment services and wealth management firms, including a keynote presentation to The Million Dollar Roundtable annual meeting.
His speaking credentials are listed on the National Speakers Association website www.nsaspeaker.org. He has written seven how-to books, e-manuals and guides for selling to Boomers, including 101 Easy Ways to Increase Business with Boomerplus Clients and Banking on the Mature Market.
He served as head of Corporate Communications at First Union National Bank (now Wells Fargo) in Charlotte. He has a journalism degree from the University of Detroit and an M.B.A. from Wayne State University.
Finding the Gold in Gray: Keys to Selling Retirement Income Products to Boomers and Older Customers
This presentation provides valuable information on the differences between older and younger generation in biology, psychology and life experiences. More important to the advisor is how these changes affect the sales process and the response to them. It provides hundreds of practical clues on deepening relationships with clients.
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts that are part of Mike Sullivan’s “Gold in Gray” keynote and training presentation delivered to thousands of investment reps of all kinds:
- Use words that depict people in their 50s, 60s and 70s as maintaining their independence—the key concept for selling investment products. With aging Boomers, it’s important that they feel they have choices and future possibilities.
- Give them several investment options and let them decide. A key attitude for Boomers is they want things to be simplified but they don’t want to lose control. They want to make the decision.
- Relate new concepts to what they already know. Communicate using words that provide anchors to previous concepts. “Have you considered organizing your personal investments in terms of asset allocation like you have with your 401(k)?”
- A key driver is self-fulfillment. Notice expressions of motivational need for self-fulfillment—changing career, living differently, residing elsewhere, pursuing an avocation.
- Understand their causes. Part of the shared experience of older Boomers in their formative years (late teens and early 20s) relates to social consciousness. They want to be connected to families, friend and society. Their personal investment goals might be tailored to contribute to certain causes.
- Explain things by telling stories, relevant ones that touch emotion. Modern brain research shows that story telling increases the flow of adrenaline in the brain and helps us store and recall information more easily.
How to Use Life Events to Add Assets and Gain New Clients
Simple Door-Opening Question You Should Always Be Asking: What’s Going on in Your Life?
Why do large amounts of money move? It’s because something happens in clients’ lives that allows you and your advisors to add assets and gain new clients. Almost three-quarters of consumers who seek financial advice do so because of major life events, according to one national research firm.
“Life events” are triggers to clients’ financial needs. Events like births, weddings, a new grandchild, graduations and retirement move money. So do not-so-joyous events like family illness, death, job loss, business failure, family divorce or break-up.
Research shows that your advisors’ clients average one life event per household per year, more than twice that number for those in their 50s, even more for affluent families, who have more complex lives. The business is there!
Major life events put money into motion, causing clients to seek your investment information and advice. But, often your clients don’t even think about you or your advisors — because in their minds they and that life event don’t go together!
Here’s an example: Your client has a new grandchild. If he –or she — is like most grandparents, he’ll be concerned about doing what he can to make sure the child succeeds in life. He’ll seek information to find out how best he can do that, given his own circumstances. He may also very well re-think other things in his life. He may decide to change his Will. He might come to you for financial advice.
This presentation by Mike Sullivan identifies 35 or more life events and shows you how to systematically mine life events to create and add assets and gain new clients. It shows you how to:
- Identify the “life event” sales cue
- Clarify the cue
- Follow-up on the life event
- Describe the investment implications
- Set up the sale
“I have used Mike for many MetLife presentations at keynote sessions, regional meetings and branch office broker/dealer meetings. Audiences immediately connect with him. His speaking reviews are excellent.”
Steve Clifford, MetLife
“It’s been a joy working with Michael Sullivan on our eBook, “Increase Your Income Selling to Bank Trust Officers and Other Trusted Advisors.” The combination of Mike’s knowledge of banking and the trust business with his expertise in communicating with Baby Boomers made this book special.”
Stephen Tweed, Seniors Industry CEO
“Mike is an extremely knowledgeable person as it relates to 50+ workers, the changes we go through when we age and many other topics related to people age 50+. Mike is also a very polished professional speaker/presenter. I can’t recommend him enough.”
Dan Owens, Retirement Authority
“His presentation is loaded with excellent research information regarding the Boomer market. I also referred Mike for a speaking program on the same topic. Wonderful results!”
Melanie Juge, Retirement Consultant
“No one delivers more about the most important generational market target. I can use it with my Boomer-age clients, and I can use it to help me understand and communicate with my aging parents.”
AXA National Sale Manager
““Fresh, needed and vital! He’s full of insightful ideas and practical help for financial advisors. Mike Sullivan is the definitive source for selling to senior adults. His statistics and clear, concise ideas drive home the important points needed to be successful with the Boomer age group.”
Million Dollar Roundtable Annual Meeting Chairperson
“He understands the interaction of physiology and psychology….and its effect on financial decision-making. He’s brilliant, experienced, seasoned and pragmatic.
His presentation is an invaluable resource for understanding the changing dynamics of client relationships and building a more successful business in a world of unprecedented change.”
Matt Coben, Transamerica Annuities