New or Young Financial Advisor? Here's How to Make Your Age an Advantage When Talking With New Prospects
If you're a young advisor in your twenties, your age might be one of the biggest hurdles that you face in working with older clients. Especially if you appear young, your look is going to be on your prospective clients’ mind, unfortunately, especially in the first meeting. In this post, I’ll share four things you can do to overcome this age bias and then one thing to try that could actually turn this into an advantage when you’re meeting with clients for the first time.
Hold the First Meeting Over the Phone
The first way that you can overcome an age bias, it's very simple, is to see if you can hold that first meeting with a prospective client via phone. Even if they already looked you up and see what you look like on the website, we found this to be really easy. When I was in my early twenties, having a phone meeting allowed us to build a strong connection before we ever met in person. If you can make a connection through that call, then the foundation's going to be there so that when you do meet in person, age might still be on their mind, but it's going to be less of an issue because you already started to build that connection.
One way to build strong connections with prospective clients over the phone is to ask the values question. Carl Richards or Bill Bachrach both have really good values questions, and you can click here to see a video on how we use the values discussion in the first meeting at our firm to connect with prospective clients.
Get Some Credentials
Highlight your experience and expertise by having some credentials after your name. The CFP is the most well-recognized one and a lot of clients know about it. If you have some letters after your name, then you can add some credibility. This makes people a little bit more comfortable that you know what you're doing, and it's not your first day on the job.
Highlight the Experience of the Firm
When I was starting out in my twenties, Streamline had been around for 10 or 15 years. But my age was brought up in conversation sometimes, and just by mentioning the age of our firm and how long we'd been helping people with retirement brought a little bit more comfort to future clients.
Emphasize Your Team-Planning Approach
Now, you can only say this if it is true, but if you’re working for a firm, remind new clients that it's not just you. You should really highlight the expertise of the team that you work with and how some people have different areas of specialty. This helps clients when they know that they're getting a team and not just one person. I often tell prospective clients that if we get into a complex tax or estate planning issue in the future, I may not know the answer right then and there, but I always know where to go to get the answer. And that's why we love the team approach here at Streamline.
Finally, How to Spin the Age Issue into a Positive
When I was just starting out, I asked a client of mine after a few months of working together if age was a factor when deciding to work with me. He was a doctor in his sixties at the time and he said, yes, it was a factor. He said he wanted the professionals that he hires to be younger than him because he knew they wouldn’t retire before he did. So, again, you can only say this if it’s true, but it might be worth asking one of your clients who’s a little older if age was a factor in their decision to work with you, and see what they say.
After I had that conversation with my client, when a new or prospective would come in and comment that I looked a bit younger than they thought based on our phone conversation, I could say,
“yeah, I am young compared to the average age of an advisor. But one thing that surprised me from a client, a doctor who’s in his sixties, actually told me that he purposely chose young professionals to be his team because he knew they wouldn’t retire before he did.
“I love what I do. And the team here at Streamline loves what we do, and we plan to do this for a long time.”
Since then, a lot of people have told me that they are choosing younger advisors because they know they’re going to be around for a longer time.