When coaching advisers on how to advise and ‘sell’ protection, the three most important tips I would give would be to:
Tip 1 - Focus on outcomes.
I think that protection advisers underestimate the importance of their role. Anyone who has processed a successful claim will tell you the undeniable difference that protection makes when things go awry.
When we make recommendations for protection insurances, we do so in the hope that our client will never need to make a claim. But what if they do? Are we confident that the recommendation we've made has resulted in the best possible customer outcome for our client?
By focusing on the potential outcomes, we are more likely to approach our client conversations more holistically and prioritise their cover more appropriately. We're more likely to shed our hidden bias for product or provider and instead focus on those solutions that truly protect our client and produce better outcomes.
I believe that if we start at the end, we're much more likely to get it right in the beginning.
Tip 2 - Protect the income first.
Interestingly, if we focus on possible outcomes, we’re also more likely to protect people’s incomes.
By ensuring the client and their dependents always have the income needed to pay the mortgage, the rent, the bills, the utilities, the groceries, and all other essential bills, you have increased the likelihood of a positive outcome when something goes wrong.
Whether it is a short-term injury, a serious illness or even death (if using FIB), the client and their family will be more financially resilient and able to weather any financial shock that comes their way; provided they have access to a regular income.
The best way to think about it is this: Regular Income = Positive Outcome.
Once I have the household income protected, I’d look at what else the client might want to happen under a variety of scenarios and proceed to build an appropriate protection portfolio for them, safe in the knowledge that they’ll always have the income needed to afford the associated premiums!
Tip 3 - Make it relatable.
Most people I speak to suffer from optimism bias. They do not actually believe that they will ever be incapacitated, get Cancer, or die unexpectedly. It is therefore not enough to just highlight the need for financial protection. We also need to make it real and relatable in other ways.
In my experience, the most effective way of getting your client truly engaged in the protection conversation, and for them to see the need for financial protection, is to explain it in a way that they can relate to and easily visualise. The simpler, the better.
I try to use examples that resonate with the client on a very personal level, focusing on what matters to them specifically and highlighting where their priorities might currently be a little misguided.
For example, how much they value their mobile phone or broadband but without considering what they use to pay and maintain access to them; an unprotected income!
It’s not about being patronising or condescending. It’s about providing simple, relatable examples that will mean something to each client.
Ultimately, the client doesn’t care about the product, what it’s called, how it works, or even what it does. They care about what difference it will make to them in the real world.