Soft Skills – Elements of Value/Importance of Purpose, Attitude

In the first of three features comprising this CPD quiz, Chris Unwin reflects on the critical elements involved in the creation of value for clients, and in the following two features, he writes about the importance of understanding purpose and attitude in shaping your advice narrative…

The Three Critical Elements Of “Value”

As the life insurance industry continues its transition under the Life Insurance Framework remuneration reforms, respected industry contributor, Chris Unwin, says it’s becoming more critical than ever for advisers to deliver a quality advice experience for their clients, which in turn creates the perception of value in their mind.
His message in highlighting the critical importance of delivering value – and being seen to do so – is that this can open doors to new advice business model possibilities that don’t necessarily rely solely on commissions to be sustainable…

 

As we begin to move ever closer to a fee based remuneration model and away from a commission based remuneration model, it becomes more and more important that we are creating a quality experience for our clients rather than just completing transactions and ticking compliance boxes, thereby creating a perception of value on their part.
There are three crucial aspects of value:

  • Creating Value
  • Communicating Value
  • Differentiating Your Value

Creating Value

There are many steps we can take in the initial advice process that add real value for our clients:

  • Positioning personal protection within the context of your client’s overall financial plan
  • Prepositioning a “wants analysis” as opposed to a needs analysis
  • Introducing up front the key concepts of long-term business relationships and regularity and continuity of service
  • Asking questions that facilitate our clients verbalising what financial outcomes they would want in specific ‘what if’ situations
  • Pre-application underwriting N.B. Managing clients’ expectations and painting the worst-case scenario
  • Presenting recommendations in a client friendly format
  • Educating your clients on the underwriting process and committing to facilitating and accelerating the process where possible
  • Being proactive not reactive during the underwriting process and keeping in regular contact with your client
  • Have a face to face meeting with every new client once policy documents are issued

Communicating Your Value

  • Most of the problems are in your head, not the client’s. You are already giving value – therefore any changes needed will be in your mindset rather than your process
  • “Value” is perceived not specified. It is an awareness on the part of the client that comes with enjoying a quality experience rather than experiencing a transaction
  • Paying for quality advice will be an expectation of quality clients – therefore make it a question of which fee structure rather than whether a fee as early in the process as possible

Differentiating Your Value

  • Avoid using terminology that creates a negative perception – there are many words and phrases commonly used by advisers that create a negative perception and thereby enable potential clients to put up the shutters and say ”No”
  • Intergenerational Advice – we need to educate pre and post retirees that the biggest financial threat to their retirement nest egg is if one of their kids or grandkids were to suffer a major illness or injury without proper protection being in place
  • Level Premiums N.B. Trauma Cover – the key to your clients reaping the maximum potential benefit from their Trauma Cover is to ensure that they can continue the cover for the maximum possible period
  • Child Trauma Cover – should be sold not as an optional extra but as an automatic inclusion
  • “P Plater” Protection – a Trauma policy covers the five most common injuries sustained in car accidents. Therefore, how many parents of P Plate drivers would not want to convert their kids’ Child Trauma sum assured into Adult Trauma Cover if they knew this?
  • Overcoming the Price Barrier – the Percentage Concept. Don’t focus on the dollars and cents that your client’s personal protection package is costing; focus on the percentage it represents of the income they are securing – it will always sound like less

Chris Unwin ‘Chrisisms’

Chris Unwin notes: “A job entitles you to have dreams about the lifestyle you would like, but an opportunity allows dreams to become goals which then become reality.” These two articles from Chris ask you to reflect – at least a little bit – on who you are and where you’re going, as Chris considers the Importance of Purpose and the Importance of Attitude…

 

The Importance of Purpose

It’s just as hard to get somewhere – if you don’t know where you’re going – as it is to come back from somewhere you’ve never been.

 

So, how possible is it to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going? Impossible.

The difference between a job and an opportunity could be summed up in one word – ‘control’. As an employee, someone else has control of your income and your lifestyle. But in an opportunity you have control of your income, so you have control of your lifestyle.

A job entitles you to have dreams about the lifestyle you would like, but an opportunity allows those dreams to become goals which can then become a reality. Being in the financial services industry is like being in the driving seat of a vehicle that can take you wherever you want to go. But where is that vehicle going to take you if you don’t point it in the right direction?

Hence the importance of purpose:

  • Why did you get up this morning?
  • Do you let days happen or do you make days happen?
  • Do you live to work or work to live?

Once you have stumbled across an opportunity, it becomes absolutely crucial that you have a primary personal financial goal. I say personal financial goal as distinct from a business goal. In my experience business goals will usually be based on what it is that the individual wants to achieve/acquire in their personal life i.e. they are a business means to a lifestyle end.

In order to qualify as a goal rather than just something that would be nice as long as it’s not too hard, there are a number of criteria that need to be met:

  • It needs to be something you really want to the point of you being so excited about getting it that you would be physically sick if you don’t get it
  • It needs to be 100 per cent crystal clear with no fuzzy edges because you need to be able to visualise it – Remember “What the mind of man can accurately conceive, it can achieve”
  • It needs to be realistic – this places no restriction on what your goal can be; it simply requires it to be achievable within a realistic timeframe – set it just out of reach but not out of sight
  • It needs to be date stamped – we all need an impending event
  • Most important of all it needs to be irrespective – under what circumstances will you not achieve goal? Answer: none and it is this that distinguishes a goal from something that would be nice as long as it’s not too hard

The Importance of Attitude

There are five component parts to the “Cycle of Success”, namely Activity, Appointments, Sales, Enjoying Life and the Right Attitude. All are essential pieces of the jigsaw says Chris Unwin, but only one of the component parts acts as the catalyst for all the others and without which the whole cycle breaks down. Do you know which one it is?

 

Provided you are in the right environment i.e. an opportunity not a job, then it is the right attitude that acts as the catalyst for everything else. The right attitude will produce the right level of activity which will in turn produce appointments which will produce sales which will create enjoyment of life which will maintain the right attitude.

Once all the component parts are connected the cycle is self-perpetuating and will continue unless the Right Attitude breaks down.

So, what is the right attitude? My view is that, if you had to sum up the right attitude in just one word, then that word would be ‘belief’, and it has to be 100% belief in two things – yourself and the opportunity.

I don’t think anyone in our industry has any reason to have anything short of 100% belief in themselves i.e. 100% belief in our ability to do the job. There is nothing technical or complex about any of the more important aspects of our day to day activity – it just requires a genuine passion for what you are selling and a willingness to engage positively with other people.

In my opinion 100% belief in the opportunity simply means that you know that, provided the right attitude is engaged, then all the other components of the cycle of success will follow.

Our business is as hard or as easy as you make it. Let’s have a look at two distinctly different descriptions of our business. If you play a word association game with two different people in our business, one of whom is firing on all cylinders and killing it and the other can’t catch a trick and is struggling big time, and you say to them both: “Describe to me the business you are in with a number of single words or phrases”, below are the results you will get:

How can this be the same business, you ask? And the answer is, yes, it’s the same business but the difference is attitude or mindset.

Let’s have a look at one more aspect of attitude before we finish up, and hopefully this will make your success in this business more achievable.

If you were to be asked “Why do sales people succeed?”, I would guess you would put it down to motivation, self-confidence and a goal orientated, positive attitude etc. But this knowledge does not in itself make you successful, does it?

In my time in this business I have witnessed literally hundreds of people recognise an opportunity (the hard part), give it a go and fail. So why do sales people fail? Not having motivation, self-confidence, goals and a positive attitude are merely symptomatic. I believe the real causes are:

  • Rejection “the bad”
  • Fear of what other people think of me (FOWOPTOM)
  • Call reluctance

These three things can be summed up in one word: apprehension You see, 95% of apprehension in our business occurs at the prospecting stage: Less Apprehension (better mindset) = More activity (Cycle of Success).

I believe that the key to success is to get from a negative state of mind to a neutral state of mind in relation to “the bad” i.e. have more control over apprehension.

High achievers are not high achievers because they are positive about everything (how likely is that?!), but because they are neutral i.e. not bothered by “the bad”.

Chris Unwin is a former financial adviser of 37 years standing and was a specialist risk adviser for 22 years. His training and consulting business has operated for 16 years and it specialises in helping advisers across the full spectrum of experience with their client engagement skills, both in the risk advice specific space as well as in the more generic soft skills space.

 

Click below to start the quiz and scroll up if you need to refer back to the article.

There are five questions and you’ll need to get at least four correct to earn your CPD points.

If you get less than four correct, you can re-take this quiz. But only two attempts are allowed!

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