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The adviser as missionary?


Peter Ellen offers you the best advice you never paid for.

May 6, 2013 3:06 by

Now, what if the client can’t see that he has a problem, but the adviser can? If the client is unaware of the problem, the chances he will accept advice about solving it are, as already mentioned, between ‘slim and nil’. If the adviser feels passionately about the problem, then it is up to him to ‘disturb’ the client, effectively shaking him out of his complacency, causing him to face up to the reality of the problem and being prepared to take the necessary remedial action.

This is ‘advisory confrontation’, in which the Adviser acts as a mirror, showing the client how his position appears to the world – it’s not an ‘Adviser-as-Expert’ confrontation where the Adviser is effectively saying “I’m right and you’re wrong”. Little, if any change occurs if the Adviser takes this stance. If you don’t believe me, try it on your children.

One such situation is that of the Financial Adviser. The vast majority of clients are under-insured. In this part of the world, insurance penetration (other than motor and, in some places, medical) is woefully low. Clients own too little life insurance, critical illness cover and contents insurance. In addition, they save too little for the major events in their lives that require significant financial resources (like educating their children, marriages and, most importantly, retirement). Many don’t have wills. Their businesses are under-insured (e.g. key man insurance; buy-sell agreements; trade credit).

Financial Advisers have to be missionaries, converting clients by helping them to see the risks they are running. They can do this most effectively by asking questions of the ‘What if…?’ variety. Selling the features and even the benefits of the solutions (products) they have in their kitbags will, more often than not, merely create objections.

My advice to you – I know you didn’t ask for it, so the chances of you doing anything with it are, therefore, between slim and nil – is find yourself a financial missionary, not just an adviser, but someone who believes in the importance of mitigating risk. Someone who has technical expertise, is professionally qualified, has a good bedside manner and experience and seek a check-up.

This may be the best advice you never paid for.

Peter Ellen is Operations Director at Nexus Insurance Brokers and has extensive experience in the area of sales management and leadership, sales and sales management development and operations management. He has worked in the industry for 28 years in senior management positions and as a consultant, working with regulators, product providers and distributors. To contact Peter for any insurance and investment advice please email him at [email protected]

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