Top Tips for Advisers to Drive Success

Geelong-based adviser, Ross Hultgren, has shared his top tips he says can be used by every adviser, regardless of their age, experience or client base.

Speaking at the MDRT Annual Meeting in Miami earlier this month, Hultgren told his peers his ideas would help change the way they engage with their clients.

He challenged his adviser audience to answer this critical client question: Why do we still need advisers when every product we deal with is now available online?

Geelong adviser, Ross Hultgren …sharing his wisdom with his peers at the 2019 MDRT Annual Meeting in Miami

The answer, according to Hultgren, lies in changing the ‘value of advice’ narrative so that it is positioned as the delivery of wisdom. He referenced past MDRT President, Brian Heckert, who says people will seek out wisdom and experience, but they can buy products anywhere:

…people will seek out wisdom and experience, but they can buy products anywhere

“The quicker we can get ourselves and our businesses into the advice/wisdom space, the better we will be,” said Hultgren, who added, “It’s never about the product; it is all about the experience and care you can provide to your clients.”

He added that the reason consumers all need advisers is for the ten percent they don’t know about or are unwilling to do on their own — the ten percent the professional can add via advice to improve the client’s current position.”

In being clear that advisers are paid for the value they provide to their clients via their wisdom, their experience and their stories, Hultgren outlined a series of concepts and approaches he regularly uses during his exchanges with his clients that relate to appropriate life insurance solutions. A selection of the approaches he shared with his peers included:

The slab concept

If, as part of your financial planning process, you lay the insurance slab first, you can then add structures to stand on that slab (like superannuation, wealth creation concepts and mortgages). By getting the slab process right, if an ill wind blows for the client, such as sickness, accident, disability or death, then the investment structures will stay standing and not fall over.

We need to review the size of the slab every year to ensure it is still suitable to the client’s current situation (the importance of the review meeting). We ask the question, “What is your current Plan B?”

You are doing a great job working on your Plan A, so I want to provide the backup option

What is your current Plan B to replace your income if you could not work due to sickness or an accident? You are doing a great job working on your Plan A, so I want to provide the backup option. I want to make sure that all the work you have done to advance your career and provide a lifestyle for your family has a fence around it to protect all you have built.

Hultgren told his audience he also uses the Plan B approach when clients contact him and say they no longer need their current insurances: “So I ensure that the clients remember why we put the covers in place and discuss the Plan B concept with them again. If they still say they don’t need the covers anymore, I ask them this question, “So what is your new Plan B? I need to write it in my records to ensure I can explain your new Plan B to you and your family if you ever get sick or injured and can no longer fund your Plan A.” (Sit with pen poised and be quiet and await the client’s response.)

“Ask the right questions!” says Hultgren.

The three checks concept

Hultgren says he has been using this approach at least once a week for twenty years:

Check 1: Final costs (funeral and final costs)
Check 2: Pay the bank (no debt should last longer than the person who created it)
Check 3: Lifestyle (the last check you will leave your family)

To the extent that these checks relate to protecting the client’s income, Hultgren suggested his peers ask these three questions:

  1. How much are you currently contributing to superannuation to provide an income in retirement?
  2. How much are you currently investing to protect your current income?
  3. Which income is more important to you and your family today? Your current income or your retirement income?

“Then say, ‘Let me show you some ideas where we can protect your current income and still fund for your retirement income as well.'”

The income protection concept

Based on considering the fruits of the client’s labour tree:

What part of your lifestyle assets would you want to protect if you could not work due to illness or accident? Our lifestyle fruit sits on our lifestyle tree, and the tree is nurtured by income.

The business/debt protection concept

For relevant client business insurance conversations: “This is the size of the debt that you would like cleared if either partner died. This is the size of the solution: one to two percent will fix the problem for you and your business partner’s estate.”

The next element of this conversation, according to Hultgren, follows this path:

“Do you want to use your business or family money to fix the problem, or the insurance company’s money? The insurance costs cents on the dollar compared to any other alternative.”

Hultgren concluded with a call to advisers to never cease in their endeavours:

“Learn your craft and practice regularly. Success is never owned; it is only rented, and the rent is due every day!”

  • Guym

    It was a great presentation

  • bigal

    Some great words of wisdom there! I only ever got to one MDRT meeting which was in 1992 I think and in Chicago and it was the best financial advisers meeting I ever went to.