Poll Results – Knowledge Not the Issue

Are you satisfied advisers have sufficient access to traditional soft skills training to complement other mandated adviser training skills/courses?

  • No (69%)
  • Yes (21%)
  • Not sure (10%)

Most advisers appear to be dis-satisfied with the lack of emphasis on soft skills training options within the sector.

This is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from the results of our latest poll, in which around three advisers in four (76%) have indicated they’re not satisfied they have sufficient access to traditional soft skills training to complement other mandated training skills and courses.

The first round of the FASEA examination period was completed at the beginning of this week (see: First FASEA Exam Announced), where we understand 600 advisers have taken part across Australia.

While this exam tests adviser knowledge across key areas, the point made by regular Riskinfo commentator, Jeremy Wright, is that knowledge is not necessarily where advisers add true value. Wright says soft skills is the most important element in building trust and taking the potential or existing client to the point where a sale or service can proceed.

…education gurus place knowledge as the number one reason why clients should do business with advisers

He asserts ‘education gurus’ place knowledge as the number one reason why clients should do business with advisers.

“They are wrong,” according to Wright, who says clients expect the adviser to already ‘know their stuff’. What clients want, says Wright, is to have someone with integrity to be able to explain, in plain English, the reasons why they should take a course of action. He says this is a vital element to a successful and long term relationship between adviser and client.

Do you agree?

While it’s certainly a ‘given’ that product and industry knowledge is of critical importance, should the industry be committing more resources to helping advisers find that level of experience and capacity that will serve to enable clients to build trust in them and follow their advice?

Our poll remains open for another week and we welcome any contribution you may wish to add to this debate…

  • BKY

    Soft skills don’t matter anymore because according to ASIC everyone you meet wants to purchase whatever cover they can afford. Of course client’s don’t want to spend any money on an intangible product that according to Commissioner Hayne they have adequate cover in they super fund anyway. The upshot is, who needs soft skills anymore because we can sell insurance anymore.

  • Ken

    Soft skills are not found in a text book and cannot be taught like English of maths
    It’s learnt from experience and understanding in moments of crisis
    The loss of a family member the trauma the family goes through has to be experienced to appreciate the gravity of the situation like so many other scenarios
    You have to live them
    They cannot be taught
    Full stop

    • BKY

      Hi Ken

      I 100% agree with you and would perhaps go one step further
      by suggesting that softskills are almost considered innate and not learned. Empathy and Compassion is part of one’s character…Unfortunately I’m not convinced the industry, through the education system, is going to attract those people who have this type of character. I also believe that no one, who is required to be Degree Qualified, will think that selling life insurance (yes that’s right
      SELLING life Insurance) is going to be part of their Job Description, which
      goes along with the expected minimum $80,000++ package). The whole thing
      is weird, not a weird-weired but a scary weird. Now I heard (not substantiated,
      much like ASIC’s 413 Report), we have a situation where almost no Adviser is
      passing the ASIC 515 review, which is focussed on BID and the 7 Steps to Safe
      Harbour…maybe these results are because Life insurance is sold and not delivered
      by Degree Qualified Academics. Of course there are always exceptions.

  • Russell Collins

    I agree with Jeremy. You could be the highest qualified Adviser in the industry and starve to death at the same time because of your inability to articulate your knowledge in such a way that people will both understand and act upon. As the late great USA adviser John Savage told his Australian audiences on the occasions he visited our shores—“selling is 95% people knowledge and 5% product and technical knowledge—but you had better know 100% of the 5%! That was my experience over 40 years as an Adviser specialising in Risk Insurance.