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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Eight tips for selling to baby boomers

Mike Sullivan

Your bank’s continued success in selling retirement products to baby boomers depends on your ability to connect with their uniqueness. By understanding how those in their mid-40s to mid-60s are different as they age, you can connect more effectively with prospects and sell more.

Here are eight sales tips to help you: 

Find out what’s going on in their lives
They want to know what your bank offers and balance that against the experiences they want in retirement. Ask them, “What do you want retirement to be like?” You’ll find their answers to be very individualized. Show them how your bank will satisfy their needs. Use direct quotes from other satisfied bank customers like themselves to explain your case.

Be authentic
Boomers are professional “consumerologists.” They have bought it all and have in-depth experience, both good and bad. They know inherently when your sales pitch is not true or lacks realism. Begin by showing you care about them. They want to be treated as individuals, not as prospects. Most of all, they want to trust you.

Relate to their families

The sense of family is a deep emotion that drives most purchasing behavior. Show boomers your interest in family with pictures of your own children or relatives. Talk about your family. More than 80 percent of people over age 60 are grandparents. Focus on the emotional connection between older adults and their grandparents.

Connect with the right side of the brain

Modern research shows that storytelling increases the flow of adrenaline to the brain and helps us store and recall more easily. Images are stored in a different place in the brain than the words that describe those images. Tell stories about other customers.

Control the physical setting
Make sure they are comfortable in your office. Offer them the most comfortable chairs. Have several sets of reading glasses nearby for them to use if they forgot their own. Offer a large barrel pen so it’s easy for them to write.

Don’t call them “senior citizens” or “boomers” 

Research shows that about half of people of age don’t like these terms. Don’t use labels. If you must, refer to them as “people like yourself, whom I deal with.” Treat them as individuals, something that is very important to them.

Be more sensitive to feelings than intellect
Decisions are made on the basis of feelings, not intellect. Intellect is used to understand; feelings are used to decide. When looking for a reaction to what you have presented, ask them, “how does that feel to you?” not “does that make sense to you?”

They want independence and never want to lose control

Use words that depict people in their 50s, 60s and 70s as maintaining their independence. It’s the key concept for selling as retirement nears. Give them several options, and let them decide. A key attitude for boomers, especially, is they want things simplified, but they don’t want to lose control. They want to make the decision.

For information about Sullivan’s sales training programs, contact him at, 704-554-7863 or