Consumer technology is not just for the young. That said, it can be a lot like TV, music, and other entertainment preference. Seniors love entertainment as much as you do. They just favor the entertainment of their youth. At a certain point, we get locked into those preferences in such a way that new music and movies can be a bit difficult to take onboard.
The same thing happens with tech. Rest assured your parents loved tech as much as you do. But they became comfortable with the tech of their day. And at a certain point, the newer tech did not integrate as well into their lives. The same will happen to you. In fact, if you are in your forties, it likely already is happening. It won’t be long before you see the crazy way your kids are using tech and find it more than a bit off-putting.
But consumer technology does not have to be yet another symptom of generational divide. There are ways to bring our elderly loved ones into the fold. Here are some strategies that have proven themselves over time:
Show the Utility
Your generation got into tech because it was cool. Your parents were likely more attracted to tech because it was useful. Accessibility tech such as a stair lift for the home makes a lot of intuitive sense. They want to access the stairs under their own power. They would never buy such a tool to be lazy or because it is cool to have. But when getting up and down the stairs becomes burdensome, the utility is obvious.
Your parents saw the usefulness of a coffeemaker. But they might not see the usefulness of a wi-fi connected coffeemaker. If you are convinced they would enjoy it if only they gave it a chance, you need to show them how it fulfills some utility they are lacking without it.
Benefits over Features
Good sales managers teach new hires to sell benefits not features. This is a particularly valuable lesson when selling to older customers. They have seen enough life to know that adding more features does not make a thing better.
If you want to get your parents to invest in a webcam, show them the benefits and not the features. They will not care how many megapixels it boasts. Nor will the high-speed connection make any difference. What they need to know about is how it will benefit them.
In the case of a webcam, they will be able to see old friends, their distant children who don’t call enough, and their grandkids that they want to watch grow up. A generation of people that values face-to-face communication will value the benefit of a webcam. They will care little about the features. So don’t try to sell them on the specs.
Make Sure They Have Some Budget Options
Many seniors live on a fixed income. Social security and retirement savings often don’t go very far beyond meeting basic needs. The technology they managed without their whole lives is seldom going to be on the priority lists of many seniors.
The way to help them past the fear of wasting limited resources is to be sure to provide them with a number of budget options that provide the same utility and benefits with which you stirred their interest. A $350 smart speaker may not be very attractive regardless of the quality. But a $35 smart speaker might just make it inexpensive enough for them to try.
Even if you don’t personally like the budget option, you have to remember that it is not about you. It is about them. At the end of the day, budget is the final word when it comes to buying options. If you don’t have the asking price, you can’t buy it. Show your loved ones tech they can buy.
Make no mistake about it: Your parents are into tech. It is just the tech of their generation. If you want to get them into the tech of your generation, you have to show them the utility. Don’t get lost in the features.