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Public warming to phone sales

Investors are more interested in buying life and investment products direct than they were three years ago.

According to a survey by NOP for ad agency DMB&B Financial, 17 per cent of investors say they would buy shares or other investments over the phone – up from 10 per cent in 1995.

The poll, which covered 1,000 people, also found that the proportion of investors ready to buy life insurance direct has gone up to 16 per cent from 12 per cent three years ago.

DMB&B Financial says the survey shows people across all socio-economic groups have become equally more interested in buying direct.

But the agency warns that, because so many providers are in the market, direct sellers should not rely on price competition to stay profitable.

Financial planning director George Miller says: "Companies have taught consumers to be price-conscious when buying direct through their marketing strategies.

"But the strategy can lead to a downturn in profits. For this reason, companies need to persuade consumers about the other benefits of dealing direct and they need to become more targeted in their marketing."

Miller also believes that banks are missing out on the potential in the direct mortgage market.

About 24 per cent of the people who were covered in the survey say they would buy a mortgage through their bank if it was available over the phone.

Miller says: "Either the banks are not yet offering all these products direct or they are failing to communicate what they are offering to their customers."

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