There’s an apocalypse on the way. No, not that one. The demise of brick and mortar stores. As someone who grew up haunting shopping malls on Saturdays (a safe way to keep pre-driver’s license teens occupied, as long as they don’t have their parents’ credit cards…), I was shocked to learn that half of the 1200 malls in the US will close by 2023.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream
That’s OK, though, because we can still line up for another perennial favorite: ice cream. Not eating it. Not selling it. Not bringing it to senior prospects as an inducement to consider a HECM.
This is the age of experience, and the Museum of Ice Cream is a feast for the imagination, where “flavors are mysteries, toppings are toys, and sprinkles make the world a better place,” notes their website. And adults, not kids, are the ones lining up in droves for a taste.
Welcome to 2018, where smart business owners need to stay on trend as never before in order to do business successfully. Today’s seniors are the savviest group yet, using the latest digital devices, connecting with children and grandchildren on social media, and often eschewing formerly cherished labels such as “grandma”.
5 key trends to stay at the top of your game now:
- AI for All. Augmented Intelligence — man plus machine — is altering the business landscape everywhere. Pizza Hut has hired robots to take orders and process payments. (Is “hired” even the right word? Do they earn a salary?) Budweiser made its first autonomous truck delivery.
While it doesn’t seem likely that a robot will be able to understand and explain the nuances of a reverse mortgage any time soon, or respond knowledgeably to a senior’s questions, you may be able to use one to help sift through market research data. Just something to bear in mind. An AI-powered robot recently helped discover a common soap ingredient that may combat malaria, so clearly artificial intelligence plays a valuable role in human society.
- Story-centered economy. The reverse mortgage industry is based on story. You can use stories to illustrate how other borrowers have met financial hurdles with a HECM, what it’s like to pay your monthly bills and realize there’s one fewer (your former mortgage payment), or how a HELOC has increased in value. Stories humanize you as an originator, and can even help you and your senior clients go deeper in terms of discovering who they really are and what they need most. In 2018, authenticity is the linchpin that underwrites business success.
- Bye Bye Bricks ‘n’ Mortar. As mentioned, retail stores are shuttering in droves due to online shopping and massive retail debt. Yet the flip side of shuttering storefronts is equally, if not more, important:
- Digital addiction. We love our cyber relationships, even if they bear little resemblance to real life. Most people can’t ignore their phone for more than a few minutes — a few hours would be a stretch — and even those who claim to despise Facebook keep checking their status. Amazon, Apple and Google are mainstays of business transactions and research. This year, a mini digital detox might actually improve your efficiency. Think of it as a health cleanse for the mind.
- Cryptocurrency. HECM lines of credit are not currently offered in bitcoin — and some experts believe the bitcoin bubble has burst. But the trend toward blockchain, a shared way of processing records and transactions that is making major inroads in healthcare as well as financial tech, is worth understanding.