Got to get: reframing in protection

Protection not just a tick box

clock • 5 min read
Got to get: reframing in protection

Richard Kateley discusses how reframing the narrative towards protection can aid advisers who want to do right by their clients.

We talk a great deal about the need to sell protection and getting mortgage and rental advisers to talk to their clients about its importance. We tend to vilify those that don't without trying to understand why. We often talk about the options between the carrot and the stick methods to change their habits. The "carrot" of enhanced commission or rewards for doing the "right" thing. Or the "stick" be it new legislation to force it into their process or do it or we will pass your clients to others that will.

I was listening to a professor talk about the power of reframing and how it can be incredible when you want to change the way you think about things, improve your motivations or to make things easier to get done. Especially if they're things that you may see as a chore.

I believe that many advisers who don't sell protection just don't believe in its importance or simply resent being forced to sell it. As an ex-smoker I know what I was like every time someone said I should stop, it made me more determined to smoke. That was until I reframed my relationship with smoking and made giving up easy to do and a simple choice that I wanted to do. I think we can do this in protection.

It can simply be changing the word "got" to "get" which can totally reframe your attitude to an activity. If you say "when I finish work I've got to go to the gym" it makes it feel like a chore, but if you change what you say to "after work I get to go to the gym" it massively changes your attitude. With the second one you might work harder so you can leave work a bit earlier and be excited about going, so you might enjoy it more and get more out of it.

But what's all this got to do with protection? I have said many times that if you force advisers to sell protection, either using legislation, network/firms compliance rules or processes, then it becomes a "got to "situation. Advisers may well talk to their client about protection but, a bit like with the gym, they may not do it enthusiastically, they might go through the motions and not be too disappointed if the client is not very interested. At least they have ticked the box.

Success! I don't think so. Just because they've ticked the box does that really help the client? No because they don't get the protection they desperately need. Does it help their firm? Well, no, although from a compliance point of view they have ticked the box, the firm has lost out on new revenue. Does it help the adviser? Again, no, they have had an extra step in their process which they cannot see the benefit of and they've lost out on the potential extra earnings (although they may not see that yet).

Getting it right

This skill of moving a client from need to want should never be underestimated. I spent most of my life while head of Intermediary Development at L&G with our market development team helping advisers develop and hone these skills. I can tell you it all starts with your mind set, not your skills. Most people can be taught the skills but if they don't believe in talking to their clients about protection in the first place you are on a hiding to nothing whatever "carrot" or "stick "you use on them. 

An advisor who really wants to talk to their clients about the need to protect their income, life and health is going to be much more congruent and enthusiastic in explaining the risks and solutions. Whereas the advisor who simply feels they've got to talk to their client about protection, because they been forced to, won't do a great job in convincing their clients.

As a financial professional you get to be, probably, the first and only person that will ever be in the position to educate your clients about the need for protection. You want to make sure that you mitigate, as far as you can, the financial catastrophe of death, a serious illness or losing their income and thus protecting their futures and not just sort out their dream home or retirement.

So, if you are the head of a firm where protection sales are not what they should be, or you are an adviser who finds protection a bit of a chore simply try and reframe how you think about it. Once you get it then you can work on your sales skills.

No mortgage client will come back in five years' time and thank you for getting them a huge debt. Unfortunately, life is not so simple or straight forward. A client who finds that they need to claim of a policy because they can't work due to an illness will not only come back and thank you for possibly saving them financially, but they will be your biggest advocates for the rest of their lives.

"Got to get" reframing, it's a simple idea. I am a financial adviser and I get to talk to my clients everyday about the need for protection, opening their eyes about risks that they may not have ever considered, which will protect them if the worse was to happen. Allowing them to keep their home, pay their bills and maintain their lifestyle. I can do all that and more because I get it.  

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