Educated Clients are Better Clients

Educating clients is part of the adviser’s role and most will have a well prepared and polished process to do so, but it can become tiresome running through this process with each and every client. In this article, based on content from her new book, Elixir Consulting’s Sue Viskovic outlines why and how advisers should repackage and reuse what they already have to educate clients, before they sit down with them for the first time.

Insurance has a lot of intricacies that most clients don’t understand.

From underwriting to stepped vs level, tax treatment of different holding entities, trauma definitions, taking claims proceeds as lump sums vs income streams…the list is seemingly endless.

While you don’t want to teach clients so much that they think they don’t need your services, you want to educate them so they can make informed decisions. There’s a certain irony that the outcome of better-educated clients is usually that they have a closer connection to their adviser and a deeper belief in the value of their services because they don’t want to be figuring all this out on their own.

How do you teach your clients about these things when they are time-poor and your time with them is better spent talking about how these concepts actually relate to them and what they should do about it? For example, rather than explaining the concept of stepped vs level in theory, it would be great if your clients had a basic understanding of the concept so you could discuss what their premiums will be with either option and why you think they should go with the one you’re recommending.

And wouldn’t you just love to be able to ensure that every client understood that life insurance is different to insuring their car or home – that it is a privilege to be accepted as an insured – and they understood the importance of the underwriting process? If they knew in advance that it was likely to be time consuming and annoying but was also crucial for protecting their family, they’d get onto completing the underwriting actions faster, wouldn’t they?

You probably have a brilliant way of explaining these concepts to clients. I never get tired of hearing advisers describe different concepts, and I love how everyone uses a slightly different emphasis or client story so the adviser makes the explanation their own.

So how do you go about educating clients on all the generic concepts involved in what you do, other than talking at them in a meeting that ends up going for three hours?

On the other hand, don’t you hate it when you have three new client meetings in a day and by the time you get to the last one, you can’t remember if you’ve explained a particular concept to this client or if that was the previous people?

What you need is a way to capture your explanation once and make sure each client hears it in a way and at a time that they can really absorb it.

So how do you go about educating clients on all the generic concepts involved in what you do, other than talking at them in a meeting that ends up going for three hours?

My suggestion is to make a list of all of the generic concepts or risk mitigation strategies you might want your clients to consider then create bite-sized education pieces that you can send them when it becomes evident they need to be aware of these concepts. Some clients may end up just needing two or three, others may need to understand ten of them.

You have a number of options for how to communicate this information.

Write explanations

  • Create flyers or fact sheets that can be printed in your office then handed out at meetings or posted and/or emailed as PDFs.
  • House them on your website as a dedicated client resources web page or turn them into a blog post.
  • Repurpose the content as articles that can be published in consumer media online or in print – ideally, publications that your preferred clientele read.

Create or buy video content

Did you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world after Google? That’s because video is an engaging way for people to receive information and learn new things.

  • If you’re comfortable talking to camera or willing to practice until you are, you can create simple video explanations for each concept. Keep it natural and speak to your client down the lens as if they were sitting right in front of you. Provided you can really be yourself, this is the best way to use video to help clients develop trust and feel they get to know you better. Your use of video may extend to using password-protected personalised video snippets to show clients how to do certain things or explain complex recommendations, or even highlight something that’s coming in the mail.
  • Commission some animated videos. You’d be surprised at how cost-effective this can be – I’m talking as little as $100 for a 3-minute explainer video. Look on fiverr.com or upwork.com to access animators who are sitting around the world right now, ready to work for you. You provide a script, and either they will get a voice-over person to record it or you can record it in your own voice then have the audio file set to an animated visual. Get creative!
  • Utilise one of a number of content providers where you can subscribe to or purchase videos by topic. The Financial Knowledge Centre provides a membership site you can brand; 3Genies has videos that you can brand with your logo individually and Doodler provides animated ‘whiteboard’ videos. If you’re choosing pre-made videos, be sure to check the content so you’re happy with the explanation of each concept.

Leverage your insurers’ marketing materials

Insurers can be a great source of client educational materials, both print and video. Ideally, you’ll have your own branding on whatever you use so that if it does get shared or viewed by someone outside your client base, you get the brand awareness benefits.

Use real life case studies

When you’re looking into the educational materials your insurers have developed, look out for videos with clients who have been on claim. These are often powerful stories that encourage people to take action to protect themselves. You could either use these stories in your own marketing or take the lead from them and create your own videos with your own clients.

Discussing whatever led to an insurance claim will no doubt be a sensitive issue, but you’re likely to find some clients who will be happy to share their story in an attempt to help others who might find themselves in a similar situation. Everyone I speak to who has dealt with a sudden death or a terminal illness has always reflected later on how silly they had been to think it could never happen to them. Sharing these stories on your website will reinforce the need for clients to work with you. If they hit a nerve, people will likely share them on social media, getting your message out to more people.

Some people may just use your free education for their own knowledge, but when it’s done well, people get an insight into your personality and how clever you are

Whatever format you provide the information in, house it on your website. When you know the particular concepts a client needs to know about, send them a link and they can do their ‘homework’ at a convenient time. The client process flow chart the Elixir team provides for advisers actually demonstrates to the client that between meetings, while the adviser is off doing the research and optimising the best strategies to recommend, the client will have some ‘homework’ to do as part of the process.

If you’re using printed fact sheets or flyers, you can always send your clients home with them after a meeting. But by hosting them on your website, you get a dual benefit from all this work. By developing materials to improve your client experience, you’re also generating materials that will allow you to do content marketing. This is essentially a marketing strategy whereby you are generous with sharing your information materials for free, so that when people want to know something and they Google it, up pops your website.

Some people may just use your free education for their own knowledge, but when it’s done well, people get an insight into your personality and how clever you are. So when they need to seek advice, they call you as they’ve already developed a sense of trust and respect, even before meeting you.

Website-based information materials also do great things for search engine optimisation (SEO). So if you’ve never received a new enquiry from your website, this is a great way to get noticed by your exact target market and get an even greater return on your investment in developing these education materials.

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

Sue Viskovic is the Managing Director of Elixir Consulting and co-author of the Adviser Pricing Models Research Report third edition.

This article is an excerpt from Sue’s new, soon to be launched, ‘Worth Paying For.’. In it, Sue shares the importance of communicating and valuing their risk advice service, so they can make some mindful and considered decisions as to how to continue building a business in whatever the new insurance framework looks like.

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