Making it with Millennials: How to Build Trust

In my last article “Why Annuities are Appealing,” I described how the effect of the recession, corporate scandals and 9/11 left Millennials feeling distrustful of large institutions wanting to invest our money in the stock market and why we find annuities so appealing. In this article, I will explain how you can best reach my generation so you can help us decipher which financial vehicles are best for our risk tolerance and futures.

Let me start by saying for us, it’s all about trust. We like to use companies and services we trust or that have been recommended to us by people we trust. This is especially important for big purchases or services as the opinions of the people we trust truly affect our own opinions. In fact, a recently published study stated “93% of Millennials have purchased a product after hearing about it from a family member or a friend, with 89% trusting these recommendations more than claims by the brand.”1 This demonstrates just how important it is to not simply focus your marketing at us, but to get involved in our conversation (which is definitely easier said than done).

So, how exactly do you work your way into our conversations and build our trust? I’ve detailed three ways that will help you build trust with your prospective clients.




Offer a forum on your website for users to review your company as well as actively monitor user reviews on forums like Yelp! or Facebook. Millennials like to read others’ opinions of products or services before their purchase, so offering them the ability to do so directly on your site will build their trust: the more reviews and feedback publicly available, the better. And, while positive reviews are preferred, users appreciate negative reviews as well, as they show your company is human.

To acquire more reviews, offer incentives to your clients who write reviews on Yelp! or your website. These incentives could be a free consultation, a gift card or the chance to win tickets to a concert or game. Reach out to the users who review your company and be receptive. Reviews are written in hopes that companies will be responsive to their positive or negative feedback and improvements will be made for a more positive outcome in the future. Millennials like to know someone is listening and responding to their comments.

Always address negative reviews. They are not only an opportunity for you to reevaluate your business and make improvements, but they are also an opportunity to highlight what your business is doing well. Respond with a follow-up comment expressing your gratitude for the feedback and apologize for their poor experience, then offer a resolution. For example: If Joe Smith writes a negative review about not receiving timely feedback about his investments on a regular basis, you could respond with: “Thank you for your feedback. We have been in business for many years and always try to do what’s best for our clients, so we are sorry to hear you had an unpleasant experience. We are constantly reevaluating our business model and making improvements and will do our best to make positive changes. We send out quarterly feedback to each of our clients, but will take a closer look at our feedback calendar and address your discrepancies directly with you. Again, thank you for your feedback and we hope you will consider giving us another chance in the future.”

Open Communication



As in any relationship, having an open line of communication is vital to building trust and gaining patronage. Millennials expect brands to be highly accessible; accessibility today means more than having a receptionist answer the phone Monday through Friday from 8-5. It means easy access over social media channels. In fact, according to the same study done by Chicago’d, “38% of Millennials surveyed said brands are more accessible and trustworthy when they use social rather than traditional advertising.”1

In a time when answers can be found instantaneously on mobile devices, we are not accustomed to waiting for responses, and, if we have to, we’ll simply go elsewhere. Attract and attain Millennials’ business by being active on social media and being responsive to all inquiries. As Jeff Fromm wrote in Ad Age2, “Millennials expect dialogue,” so make sure you give it to them.

Millennials are constantly switching between apps and platforms;  to reach them, be accessible where they are most engaged—on a variety of social networks. Stray away from single-channel communication and be present.

Discounts and Incentives

Smart phones let customers price check and cross-check prices for items quickly. We are a generation of adults who have entered the workforce during a less than ideal economy with more debt than previous generations. As a result, we are constantly hunting for deals and discounts. Websites like RetailMeNot and have spoiled us with constant coupons and discounts for products, making us accustomed to never paying full price.

To entice millennials to utilize your services, offer them a discounted price or incentives. For example, offer a discounted consultation on Groupon or a gift card to those who attend a financial seminar and schedule a consultation. Make it a good deal, and Millennials are in.


As reported by Inc.3, Millennials are spending more time with user-generated content (content from peers, driving interaction) than ever before. Join the conversation by promoting reviews and using the reviews as a source for self-improvement. Your voice will be the loudest among Millennials when it’s coming in the form of positive feedback from their friends and family. Evaluate your current business on these three points, and see where you could stand to improve. Then contact your CreativeOne team for ideas on how to implement better practices.

Come back next month for insight on how to make it with Millennials.



CP-0475 – 2015/8/10

Join the conversation