By Naama O. Pozniak
When people say millennials — or any generation, in fact — there’s always a little leeway with the definition. So here’s how I define millennials: people born between 1981 and 1996. They are, roughly speaking, clients in the 23- to 38-year-old range. Personally, I prefer to call them Gen Y. I’ve been asked to share how I sell to Gen Y. For me, it’s not about selling to this generation though. It’s about connecting.
In my agency, we’ve had the pleasure of serving the Baby Boomers (born 1944 to 1964) and Gen X (born 1960 to 1980) these past 30 years. We’ve advised many from younger adulthood into Medicare. And now, their own Gen Y babies are adults. What a beautiful thing to be a part of both these generations lives, and what a compliment to see the children of our long-time clients trust us with their benefits solutions. It’s our goal to allow change, and trust beautiful teaching moments will unfold as new and different needs present themselves.
As of 2019, Generation Y is the largest cohort. They are a huge demographic with tons of opportunities! Here are some things I’ve noted in addressing those of Gen Y.
Online v. Face-to-Face
As an agency, we are tailored to assist enrollment and support however our clients prefer to correspond with us. We let the client lead us. The last 10 years, I keep hearing how important it is to be online. Get your social media going. Have a mobile-optimized website. Have a quoting engine on that site where people can sign up themselves. This is all true. But you’ll be surprised to hear that many young people want to come into the office lately. I have this feeling that they want to bring back the connection with a human. I see more young people coming into our agency saying, “Help me understand. Please just be real and help me get this off my plate!” Of course, I help them. Remember, new referrals can come from anywhere!
I’ve noticed these upcoming generations will not respond to old sales tactics…. no selling, no schmoozing. Meaningful and authentic conversation is what anyone would want, especially our younger clients. Be real. Be honest. Be direct. Direct information will allow you to connect to your client base and allow a real healing and conscious connection with your client. All clients, regardless of age, get overwhelmed on the topic of insurance. People get enrolled and on their way when you share quick facts in real-world application that relate to the person in front of you.
These young adults are short on time and quick on intelligence. Many people see Gen Ys as spoiled, impatient, that everything should happen so fast. I hear many colleagues frustrated at Gen Y’s slim-to-no patience and need for immediate gratification. Instead of beating this idea, join it! Remember, this generation grew up around computers and social media. They inherited a post-recession economy. Working to the point of burnout is what they are accustomed to while trying to maintain a public and private life. They aren’t impatient or spoiled, they simply don’t have enough hours in the day to keep up with it all. I feel that too! Quick is the name of the game. We are on this wild ride to continue to share information with the public. Let’s innovate a simpler, quicker way to share the knowledge we have.
Think Thrifty…And Creative
Not only do we need to move quickly, but we need economical solutions for these clients. They want to buy the best, cheapest, most economic policy and be done with it. Remember what I mentioned about a post-recession economy? Gen Y are starting in the workforce with less earnings and capital at their age than previous generations. Don’t forget to ask about their income and subsidy eligibility since the individual mandate is gone. And think outside the box with traveler’s policies or for those with dual citizenship, international policies etc.. But above all, connect with their needs and you will have their trust.
Stay Flexible, Stay Curious, Listen
Baby boomers had a dream to retire after a life time dedicated to one career, but the world no longer works this way. Some positions we now know will be eliminated. Innovation and technology will continue to blossom. More and more people are working freelance. More and more young people want to work for themselves, and many launch their own companies. Job turnover is constant. Gen Y are growing up with this new way of life, so allow yourself to be instructed by them. We should be open to reinventing ourselves to evolve to a faster-paced and quickly changing society. They will be open to the constant shifts and new products in the healthcare industry, and we should follow their inventive, creative and movable nature to our approach to health and healthcare. Change is happening fast in health, the way we heal and our healthcare system. Look at both ends: Medicare is booming and Gen Y are an even bigger client base. We will need to find a new way to educate and stay informed. Evolution always.
My biggest encouragement is to listen. Listen to the changes. Notice patterns. Gen Y are getting married later, if at all. They don’t often own houses. They are struggling to make ends meet either financially or to get everything done in the limited hours of the day. When we lead any generation from our heart with love through meaningful moments, we can increase awareness and encourage people into a real process of healing. The main healing in our lifetime comes from within. It comes from a deeper understanding of the needs of any generation. When we come together and bring our intention, love, compassion and being real with each other, we can heal collectively. When you meet someone, meet them where they’re at, find what you have in common instead of thinking “oh man, I don’t know how to connect with this person.” At the end of the day, the answer is simple… be empathetic, note patterns, connect and stay open. The rest will fall into place. #happynewyear2019 #GenY #AgentsAreTheAnswer #NAHU #LAAHU
Naama O. Pozniak
Naama O. Pozniak, a member of the Cal Broker editorial advisory board, is Valley Village-based Paz Holding Inc.’s ( dba A+ Insurance Service) CEO. Pozniak has been delivering employer benefits for 30 years. She’s a mother, a yogi, a speaker, a consultant, a healthcare strategic innovator, and a meditation instructor, certified by the Chopra Center. She is currently a certified healthcare reform and Medicare certified specialist and a Covered California Champion Certified agent. Pozniak was recognized as the Most influential Woman in benefit advising for 2016 and 2017. She is a Top of the Table producer and holds the life time Soaring Eagle Award. Pozniak was the recipient of the NAHU Distinguished Service Award for 2018 and is currently the NAHU Region 8 Media chair and LAAHU Community Outreach chair.