Retaining protection clients is as important as the initial sale writes First Complete's Toni Smith.
Selling a mortgage is an easier 'emotional' sale than selling protection.
After all, we all know that advising on and arranging a mortgage leads the customer to a product they already want to buy.
But to talk about death, critical illness, redundancy and disability and hopefully convince your client that they really need protection can be a far more difficult and challenging sale.
It does not make sense therefore, after all that work, to let the case lapse.
After the client's protection needs have been identified and the policy established, the adviser has an ongoing responsibility to ensure that the client keeps the policy in place.
I understand that it is not always as easy as it sounds to do that however, especially if the client doesn't contact you to say that they have cancelled the policy.
It is important therefore to be aware when someone has missed a payment, but protection providers don't always make it easy to identify this.
Some protection providers will send an email if there has been a missed payment; others will update their online systems so advisers have to remember to log in to find any information manually, while others will send out a letter or a standard update at the end of the month.
In some cases the adviser will only be notified if they have opted in to receive a copy of a letter sent from the protection provider to the client, or when the case has actually lapsed.
In many cases it can be days if not weeks before the adviser finds out and in most cases this is far too late.
A network can be of real help here. What most advisers would say was ideal would be for their provider to send them a daily email providing details of every client who has missed a payment or across every protection provider.
This then enables the adviser to get in touch with the client immediately to find out what has happened for them to miss their payment, and address whatever change of circumstances or change of heart the client has had and remind them of the reasons why they wanted, and needed, the policy in the first place.
However if an adviser has had no contact with the client since the policy was first sold then they will have a lot less influence to persuade that client to continue with the policy, even if they can adapt it around a changed set of circumstances.
Every adviser needs a regular client contact strategy so that they remain top of mind should the client need to talk about the changes in their life.
This doesn't have to be onerous; it could mean doing nothing more than a quarterly newsletter to back up a yearly contact plan, but it definitely helps to have a more holistic relationship.
There is of course a commercial interest for both the adviser and the protection provider in keeping the client on the books but more important is that the client maintains, or can adapt to fit new circumstances, the vital protection they need for both them and their families.
Toni Smith is sales operations director at First Complete
Based on customer's age
Over the coming 12 weeks
As of Tuesday 31 March
Looking at solutions with ABI