What do we mean when we talk about good advice in relation to protection? Does it mean aiming low in terms of a recommendation and being prepared to settle for even lower when our client balks at the cost? Does it mean avoiding products we are unsure of, such as income protection or serious illness cover? Or does it mean completing a factfind only to tick a compliance box rather than ascertain specific protection needs?
A straw poll of protection luminaries produced various answers but the common threads were treating clients as individuals, recommending a comprehensive protection solution and giving value for the customer’s budget.
To do this we must move away from using life and critical illness, typically to protect the mortgage, as a starting point for a protection sale. This may be a logical opening discussion on the topic but a thorough fact-find – one that includes soft facts such as children’s names and client aspirations – should reveal the protection gaps every customer has.
We must use the information to challenge client perceptions of budget – how much is cable TV compared with sensible protection provision? – point out inconsistencies in their priorities – how many of your customers have pet insurance but tell you that protecting their family is too costly?
We also must challenge our customers’ mentality on insurance. Why do they have car insurance? Because the law mandates it. So why choose fully comprehensive cover as opposed to the minimum third party? Because they recognise the risk and have taken action. This realisation makes it nigh on impossible for them to tell you they do not see the point of protecting their income.
Obviously, price comes into play. You will not succeed in always selling life cover, critical illness and income protection but that should not stop you recommending it to everyone, then tailoring the final package to suit their pocket.
Even the slenderest budget should be able to accommodate products such as family income benefit or small amounts of critical-illness cover – £20,000 of CIC does not sound much but it will make the world of difference if ever claimed upon.
Good advice is not about bigger premiums and higher commission, it is about clients valuing your professionalism and keeping the policy regardless of what friends tell them they got on the internet. They might even refer these friends to you for help since you will have told them that products on comparison sites are not always as comprehensive as those you recommend.
A final thought (and whisper this quietly), some of your existing clients will be better off at present than they have ever been. They have kept their job and their mortgage rate is low. Remember when they told you they could not afford protection?
Phil Jeynes is head of new business at Direct Life and Pensions Lifequote