Millennials – The One Click Generation

Jul 17, 2018

Brian Briggs

The month of June presents plenty of opportunities for me to get into the field and meet with financial advisors. I recently presented in six different cities, over the course of 10 business days. (Yea, I’m tired.) When I reflect on my travels, the one thing that stands out is my ability to use technology to navigate my travel. All of my hotels were booked online, so I was able to check in and check out via my phone. The same for all my flights, my airline’s app provides the ability to select my seat and download my boarding pass – all with a click of a button, or finger tap. Even delayed flights are communicated via text, so I can chose to sit in traffic now or later on my way to airport. (I love you Seattle, but your traffic is awful.) While none of this technology is relatively new, I took a few moments to consider this is the only way I’ve known to travel! This mindset is present in multiple areas of my lifestyle, I transfer money from my savings to checking with one click, I purchase my daughters training underwear with one click, and I’m so tech savvy that I don’t even need my phone anymore to send a text message – I can tap my watch to send a text.

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Yes, we millennials are the “one click generation” and instant gratification is pretty much all we know. There is however one element this cohort’s lives where one click doesn’t solve all our problems – and seems to be in constant debate with other generations – career development. For most millennials who are financial advisors or in the industry, building a profitable book of business still takes time. Despite graduating from highly-ranked universities, attending top 10 B-schools and, or obtaining highly regarded industry designations. As I was writing this piece, I asked a non-millennial advisor (whom I’ve known for a long time) what piece of advice he’d give a millennial seeking to become an advisor. “Speak up, make mistakes and say hello,” he replied.  “Seems too easy, help me understand,” I requested. He broke it down for me:

1. Speak Up

I understand this one pretty well. If I’m training with a senior partner of the firm, I should be soaking up as much as possible, but I should also be asking the appropriate questions at the right times. Speaking up also is an indication that information is being processed – which is a stereotype that often goes against millennials. “I can tell when what I’m saying is going in one ear and out of the other. If the individuals I’m training aren’t speaking up and asking questions, I’m worried!”

2. Make Mistakes

I’m no stranger to making mistakes throughout my career, so I applaud this suggestion. What’s also imbedded in this talking point is to be proactive in taking risks, particularly as it relates to connecting with people. “Some of my best employees over the years were the young advisors who were also finding new and creative ways to connect with clients. Some of the approaches work and many of them didn’t, but they tried and learned through experience.” To quote Albert Einstein, “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

3. Say Hello

This brings it all home for the one click generation. Being able to easily complete tasks in the virtual world is great, but being a financial advisor is still very much a relationship business. “Social media and marketing campaigns are great for casting a wide net, but ultimately a relationship needs to be established. Regardless of age, wealth or experience, nearly every relationship starts with hello.” There are examples where we need to say hello often. Recently, while traveling with one of our managing directors, he reminded a group of us talking sports in the lobby “Whatever you do, DON’T talk to the clients who are sitting in the room.” Point made – say hello.

And with one click, I’m out!

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