Fear of Change is the Advice Business Killer

Last month, Elixir Consulting’s Sue Viskovic posed a number of questions advisers could use to gauge how they were preparing for the introduction of the Life Insurance Framework. This month’s article from Sue continues that theme and states that surviving LIF will also require a shift in thinking that says independent advice cannot or will not survive. Rather, advisers should ask themselves whether they want to be in business or not after the start of LIF, and if they do to challenge their mindset and start looking at what they can do to stay in business...

I’ve met many Riskinfo readers over the past six months as my team and I have been busy working with advisers and institutions to evolve their businesses to cope with the Life Insurance Framework (LIF).  As a result of those discussions I’d like to spend some time with this article to reflect on an aspect that’s often underrated in many LIF considerations.

There are most certainly some technical and structural changes that are required to ready a business for the LIF. However, without a doubt, the most important, the one element that will have the greatest return and will have the biggest impact on the success of the transition, will be the mindset of the business owner and the advisers delivering the services.

I can tell you there is indeed still a future for the risk adviser, you can read how to make that happen in the book we recently launched titled ‘Worth Paying For’…. and yet if you’re still saying internally, or worse, verbally “This won’t work” or “This is not fair” or “People won’t pay for insurance”, then the job will be that much harder for you, perhaps even impossible.

take a moment to reflect on how you can change your mindset and attack this challenge from the right place

And here’s the funny thing …. you know this. I’ll wager that you’ve been to enough personal development sessions in your time to know inherently that you are responsible for your success or failure, that the power of your thinking and your motivation and commitment can move mountains. Whether you lean toward the spiritual elements of mindfulness and affirmations of your intention, or take the scientific path of understanding neuroplasticity, there is no denying the factual proof that you can, after all, teach an old dog new tricks.

In this instance, it just needs to decide that it wants to learn.  So before you dismiss this article as one coming from ‘just another consultant who doesn’t know what they’re talking about’; take a moment to reflect on how you can change your mindset and attack this challenge from the right place. Not just the fluffy motivational speak of “I can do this”, but how you can absolutely change your core beliefs about what you do and how you should be paid for it, and work out how you will keep building a profitable business despite what ‘legs and regs’ might change around you.

How you do that will depend entirely on you. My advice would be to do all you can to directly impact the success of your business. If you believe that it’s still worthwhile to put energy into fighting the LIF and petitioning the government to overturn the new framework, keep doing so. However, I implore you – don’t let that be your only course of action.

You have one decision to make before all this gets easier. It really is that simple. Decide on whether you want to continue in your business, or not. Interestingly, if you have been in the advice sector for more than five years none of this will be unfamiliar. You will have already been through this with FOFA and FSRA before that.

If you really can’t see a future for you in a world where insurance commissions are reduced, and possibly even gone altogether, get onto your licensee and/or a business broker and start talking to buyers who are willing to enable you to extract value from the business you’ve built so far, then watch from afar.

If you still love what you’re doing enough to keep going, then get your head in the right place. When you decide you’re going to make this work, spend time reading, listening to and following suggestions from those who may have a different reality to you, and you’ll be surprised at the effect it will have on your mindset and sense of wellbeing, let alone your bottom line.

Who are you listening to?

The problem with staying in your own headspace and only hanging out with like-minded people is that you don’t get to see a different picture. Think about the people you spend time with – do any of them challenge you on the way you think, or do they all do things similarly and join you with lamenting that these changes will be the end of the independent risk adviser? Is it time you broaden your circle of influence and allow yourself to be influenced?

we at Elixir absolutely believe that the LIF need not be the end of the independent risk adviser

If you don’t get out and start seeking other opinions, if you don’t reach out to others who are well placed to help you think differently…if all the people you speak with about this are of the same view as you – or if every time you get the opportunity to speak with someone who thinks differently to you, you spend the time trying to convince them as to why they’re wrong and you’re right….well, you miss out on a massive opportunity that is at your feet right now.

A good start

Read as much as you can about how to make this work. If you’ve followed my columns or heard me speak you’ll know that we at Elixir absolutely believe that the LIF need not be the end of the independent risk adviser.  Many will struggle if they plan to stick with ‘business as usual’ and just hope for the best, but we absolutely know that with the right planning, and likely some tweaks to their service model and proposition, they will be able to thrive in the new environment.

Thought vs Action

Improving your mindset about this is the first step…. once you’re committed and willing to take the opportunity to evolve your business, the time for passive thought and reading is past, you’ll need to actually take some action. When you actually make your strategic plan and crunch your numbers, I thoroughly recommend you set aside structured time to do so. Whether you use an external person to help you (your PDM, an Elixir Consultant, a BDM) or you want to do it alone (you can still use our Pricing Advice software to help), block out structured time where you have ‘clear air’ to focus. Get offsite if need be, just ensure you’re not going to get interrupted and you can really focus on getting this right.

The best outcome of doing this will be a renewed energy and rekindled passion for what you do. And when your head is in that place, there’s no telling what you might achieve!


In Practice Management, Elixir Consulting shares strategies for building better advice businesses.

Sue Viskovic is the Managing Director and founder of Elixir Consulting, a specialist consulting and coaching firm that is dedicated to helping financial advisers and risk specialists to get their businesses performing better.

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