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Signpost protection early – better protection conversations

Vincent O’Connor, Senior Business Development Manager, Royal London

Part one of our ‘Five top tips for better protection conversations’ series – signposting protection early.

There are simple things that you can do right now to help you have better protection conversations with your clients. This will lead to a better outcome for your clients and better outcomes for you and your business.

With protection conversations, what we’re ultimately looking for is that moment when the client ‘gets it’.

You don’t have to look too far to see that, as a nation, we buy into the idea of insurance.  In fact we buy lots of it – insurance for our cars, pets, homes, and even our mobile phones and gadgets.

But protection for us and our loves ones, generally speaking, needs to be sold.  And to be done properly, it needs an adviser to make a recommendation with tailored advice to suit the client’s needs and requirements.

As the adviser, you have knowledge of the diverse protection marketplace, the many product features and benefits as well as the need for trusts. These are things which the average client will not have much experience of.

But when you’re having a protection conversation, you need to create the right conditions for your client to understand the importance and to buy into the idea of protection.

Sharing things I’ve learned

Using my experience from observing many advisers over the years and learning from the many mistakes I made when I was an adviser, in this blog series I’m going to give you some simple ideas and easy fixes that you can apply to your sales process.

When I say ‘process’, I’m just talking about the typical things you do, the sequence in which you do them, the things you say and, how you say them during your client meetings.  These are all really important and will have an impact on your effectiveness.

Over the next five weeks, I’m going to share a top tip each week and explain the context of how you can make these small but significant adjustments.

If you’re a mortgage and protection adviser, the vast majority of client enquiries and leads will arrive because you are seen as a ‘mortgage adviser’.  Your clients will need a mortgage to buy a house, take a further advance or replace existing terms with a remortgage.

This provides great opportunities to talk about protection.  However, if you don’t signpost protection right at the start of proceedings, then you’ve created a perception that this isn’t as important as the job you do to arrange the new mortgage.

Set expectations

Let’s say you wait until the client has received their mortgage offer before you start to introduce the idea of protection.  This in itself might seem strange to the client – they might be thinking that if it was so important, why you didn’t mention it earlier?

Also, think about the enthusiasm level the client has when they come to see you to arrange their new mortgage.  Once you’ve arranged it, this will fade and they’ll quickly turn their attention to other priorities such as removal vans, new furniture and what they’re going to do with the house.

So, at the start of the meeting, don’t be afraid to tell your clients the service they can expect from you and give them a picture of what this looks like.

Tell them you’re a mortgage AND protection adviser when you introduce yourself.  Give them your business card and then explain that the way you work is this:

‘I’ll source and recommend the most suitable and affordable mortgage for you’

but also…

‘My job is to make sure that should the worst happen, you and your family are able to keep your home and maintain your lifestyle…’

Keep things simple and start with a simple outline of how you work in a way that the client can understand.

I’ve chosen these words carefully.  Notice how I’ve not mentioned protection products like life assurance or critical illness cover – that’s not going to inspire the client.

When you explain the way your process works (i.e. to have a protection conversation at some point during this whole process), you’re giving the client the opportunity to agree, disagree or ask questions.

You’re explaining what your normal business practice looks like and each time you mention the objective of keeping the home should the worst happen, you’re being consistent.

To the client this will sound like a professional being assertive about something important.  It’s a duty of care and will make more and more sense each time you mention it.

This tactic relies on a simple and basic assumption.

The assumption that there’s a really important thing we need to talk about and this is something that everyone wants – “should the worst happen, you and your family would want to be able to KEEP your home and MAINTAIN your lifestyle”.

So explain the fact that as the mortgage and protection adviser, you’ll be having that conversation and you’ll be able to put the clients in an informed position about any risks.  And this conversation doesn’t need to happen now.

But, by mentioning it right at the start of meeting, it lays down a marker and sets the tone for things to come.  The client will begin to understand that your service is two-fold.  It’s important to get the mortgage but it’s also important to keep the home should the worst happen.

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