Finding the Gold in the Gray

Building better relationships with the age 65 plus customer
Today’s senior is breaking some long-standing stereotypes of the retirement years. Gone are the retirement images of rocking chairs and here to stay are RV’s, exercise classes, travel and community involvement. This active and involved market holds the lion’s share of wealth in this country and is expected to grow 74% by the year 2020. Understanding what makes this group unique may be the deciding factor between having a good transaction month or a great career built on relationships. Author of the book “Banking on the Mature Market,” Michael P. Sullivan offers these insights into the age 65 plus customer. Senior adults:
·         Are more individualistic than younger adults. Seniors will be less likely to make a decision based on the fact that everyone else has jumped on the bandwagon.
·         Experience a change in the way they think to more creative (right brain) and less logical (left brain). What this means is that symbols, cues, analogies, and visuals become more important in the decision making process.
·         Are more inclined to think of others. Seniors may want to involve others in the decision-making process or make their decision based on benefiting someone else.
·         Place a high value on social connectedness (family, friends and community). Don’t underestimate the value of the time you spend talking to your customers about things that are important to them. Recognize your customers need to socialize.
·         Experience other physical and sensory changes such as reduced mobility, strength, hearing and even taste. Survey your environment. Check for heavy front doors, chairs that are low and hard to get out of, dim lighting, noise, and stairs that may cause your customers to be uncomfortable. Then do what you can to improve your environment.
Other small considerations:
·         Provide an extra thick ink pen for customers. The larger size makes it easier for your older customers to write.
·         Talk clearly and evenly. Customers with hearing problems won’t always ask you to repeat yourself.
·         Avoid the too strong handshake. Arthritis affects many Americans.