With our thanks to BT’s Steve Craig, this article serves as a reminder during these strange and changing times about how advisers can take three simple steps to demonstrate the value that their advice provides to their existing and future clients…
During uncertain times, and as people tighten their purse strings, it can be even more challenging to demonstrate the value of advice to existing and prospective clients. On top of that, social distancing requirements during COVID have generated additional hurdles for many advisers, who in the past heavily relied on face-to-face interactions to strengthen relationships, create new connections, and uncover client needs.
Despite the changed circumstances, building and nurturing long-term relationships with clients remains one of the most effective and affordable ways to grow your business. The tools and tactics may need to be modified, yet the basic principles remain the same. Even if COVID has forever changed how we do business and how consumers behave, engaging clients is still achievable by setting up positive emotional connections and spreading the word about what you do, and reminding clients of the value you can deliver.
1. Understand what value means to each client, and deliver
As the Financial Planning Association has pointed out, advice can have both tangible and intangible value. Tangible value can include saving money by enjoying a discount on life insurance premiums. Intangible value is the peace of mind factor for clients: knowing they have enough cover to protect themselves and loved ones, should the unexpected happen, and that a professional is helping them to assess their changing needs.
Tangible value is easy enough to calculate as often it has a dollar value. BT’s Financial Health Index survey results provide some tangible measures for the intangible value of advice: the majority of Australians who currently have a financial adviser believe they have an appropriate amount of cover (76%), compared to 29% for those who have never engaged an adviser.
Furthermore, among those who hold life insurance, 87% of advised Australians are confident that they will be able to continue paying for their insurance, while the percentage amongst those who are not advised is significantly lower, at 71%. These results are indicative of the value of sound financial advice – those who receive advice are more likely to believe they have the appropriate amount of cover and type of insurance, and that they can afford it.
What your clients perceive as the most valuable aspect of your advice will depend on their particular situation…
What your clients perceive as the most valuable aspect of your advice will depend on their particular situation. Some will be more price-driven, while others may appreciate your ability to help them address their concerns about having the right amount of cover.
The important thing to remember is that your marketing activities demonstrate both the tangible and intangible value of your advice – and that your messages appeal to your target audience. This may mean tailoring your approach depending on who you’re trying to reach.
2. Make plans to network, increase your profile and check in with clients
At the time of writing this article, the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines were being rolled out in Australia. While it may take some time yet for things to really return to “normal”, now may be the time to start planning how you can meet with prospective clients.
This could mean checking whether traditional networking events, which might have been postponed during 2020, are now back on the calendar. Another activity you could do now is build more professional alliances that will provide you with a way to meet new clients who match your value proposition.
If you have considered running insurance education programs for clients through seminars, or taking on public speaking opportunities to talk about a subject that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about, you could brush up on your presentation skills and create or update your materials. At BT our business development team have found webinars provide easy and effective ways to connect and provide information.
Remember to nurture your connections with existing clients too. You can do this by celebrating and marking important milestones or anniversaries through a phone call or email – with a note that you are looking forward to meeting with them in person again soon. If the subject of navigating Internet banking and superannuation platforms during COVID comes up in conversation, following up with helpful tips may be appropriate, especially among older clients who are more used to managing their finances in person.
3. Connect via social media
Along with learning how to do video conferencing effectively, social media skills have been essential for businesses during COVID.
One in four Australians use social media to research products and services of interest…
Australians are avid users of social media, with around 80% saying that they visit social media sites at least once a day. One in four Australians use social media to research products and services of interest; and when Aussies do their research on social media, it often leads to them making a purchase (61%). Amongst Boomers Facebook is the most popular social network (with 86% using Facebook), and many ask for personal recommendations from their trusted circles.
If you don’t have one already, create a social media strategy that’s part of your overall marketing strategy and use it consistently. Ensure your posts are relevant and engaging and showcase your expertise. Most of all, ensure your posts are authentic to you.
At BT, our business development team connect with their contacts on LinkedIn, using posts that contain content which advisers may be interested in, such as technical knowledge, industry education and regulatory updates. Many of the articles we share offer value for advisers, by helping them keep abreast of changes and enabling them to gain CPD points. Social media channels can also be a way to share special offers and discounts, such as our campaign promoting a 25% discount off premiums for the first year. Getting started on social media can be as simple as re-posting content from BT, Riskinfo and other trusted sources – and we all appreciate the bump in our social engagement.
Despite the need to practise new skills, pivot our business models and reflect on how we can deliver value in different ways, success in business is still largely dependent on our ability to build relationships, demonstrate relevant value, and maintain a strong presence in our markets.
 Survey conducted from October to December 2020.
 Sensis 2020 Yellow Social Media Report. https://2k5zke3drtv7fuwec1mzuxgv-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Yellow_Social_Media_Report_2020_Consumer.pdf
 Roy Morgan media release: Facebook and YouTube strong across all generations but Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok have important user bases, 16 April 2020. http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/8373-social-media-demographics-march-2020-202004140629
 For new stepped premium BT Protection Plans lump sum policies. Full terms and conditions: https://www.bt.com.au/professional/campaigns/lifeinsurance-discount.html
The information provided is factual only and does not constitute financial product advice. Before acting on it, you should seek independent advice about its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs.
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