MDRT Annual Meeting 2017

Shape Advice to Suit Client Styles and Attitudes

Financial advisers need to be aware that clients learn and make purchasing decisions in different ways and should shape their value proposition to cover each of these when providing advice.

ClearView Head of Product, Jeffrey Scott

ClearView Head of Product, Jeffrey Scott

Speaking at the 2017 MDRT Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, ClearView Head of Product, Jeffrey Scott said clients will take on information by seeing or visualising it, hearing it or working and engaging with it.

“As advisers, we do not know how our clients learn, so we must engage them with multiple learning methods to ensure that any message is understood,” Scott said.

“Telling them is not enough. Showing them is not enough. Asking them to take notes is not enough. You need all three methods to ensure that the client understands and comprehends,” he added.

Scott said being aware of these methods was important as clients will make decisions based on the information they have learned and do so in their hearts, their heads or their guts.

“For clients to trust and respect you and buy the product or service you are promoting or selling, they need to believe you”

He told delegates at the meeting that heart based decisions “…involve how they make people feel—both if they do something and if they don’t do anything”, and analytical decisions work on quantitative factors such price, benefits, time involved and rewards while gut-feel often relied on whom people believed they could trust.

“For each client, one of these factors is the primary factor for making purchasing decisions, while the other two are secondary. Thus, you need to discuss your goods or services with your clients in terms that they will understand,” Scott said.

Additionally, advisers needed to move beyond telling people what they did in their jobs and instead demonstrated what they believed financial advice could do for their clients.

‘We discussed earlier that people make purchasing decisions based upon three things: emotion, analytics, or gut feeling. For clients to trust and respect you and buy the product or service you are promoting or selling, they need to believe you,” Scott said, adding that advisers need to articulate their purpose, their process and the results this will achieve for the client.

He said this was the basis of a good Client Value Proposition and was “…a promise to your clients of the level of service they can expect to receive from you and your staff” and demonstrated the importance of life insurance while walking them through implementation, underwriting and claims.

“Remember that no matter what you say, clients will not remember everything. Thus, it is important for you to provide them with the reasons why you recommended the products, the benefits and features, the ownership structure, the cost of the premium (stepped or level), the premium frequency, the sum insured amounts, and what the intended use of the benefits will be for,” Scott said.

“Don’t forget to ask your clients what they want first. Then, ensure that you have all of the processes, procedures, and service promises clearly documented. Finally, communicate in a format that clients understand.”