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The new secret weapon

23 August 2017Jonathan Faurie

A lot has been said about value and the need for advisers to engage with their clients in new ways with different messages. Value is a subjective topic – it means different things to different people. So how do you engage with clients who are completely different to one another with the same set of products in your repertoire?

Being able to effectively engage with clients in different ways allows advisers to become relatable and relevant. International author and businessman, Timothy Webster, pointed out at the recently held Camargue roadshow that neuroscience is the new secret weapon that advisers can draw upon.

An industry of stories

The financial services industry is as driven by stories as it is driven by products and services. While there is no doubt that advisers are already aware of this, there needs to be an increased focus on this going forward.

“The notion that humans are not shaped by the stories is nonsense. Stories shape people’s actions as well as their opinions. A client may never have had anything to do with an adviser in the past, but may have a negative opinion of them if they hear of a bad experience from a friend,” said Webster.

Work towards malleability

Webster pointed out that when an adviser understands the value of a story, they will be able to sit down and relate to that person. “As an adviser, you need to change the story to achieve a specific outcome, so work on your ability to change and control the client’s narrative,” said Webster.

Webster added that there are two parts of the brain, the first part of the brain is the automated side, the side that can process simple calculations and make simple decisions without much thought; this can be compared to running on autopilot.

“The second part of the brain needs justification in order to inspire action, it is the side that processes complex calculations and makes complex decisions. When justification is achieved, malleability occurs. Clients sit and wait for justification so that malleability can take place, they then feel that they can deal with whatever it is they need to deal with,” said Webster.

Looking through the mist

The issue of malleability may sound obscure, but it is not.

It has been argued in the past that the ability to earn an income is a person’s greatest asset; this is because earning an income pays for other assets such as (but not limited to) bond repayments and car repayments. 

The ability to earn an income is also the thing that allows us to help support our families. If advisers sit down, point this out and ask the question: what would happen to your family if you weren’t able to earn an income;they touch into the part of the brain that justifies the purchase of income protection and life policies.

Creating a future

This may, in some obscure way, suggest that clients are easily manipulated and that advisers are the puppet masters. This again is not the case. Webster suggests that clients want to arrive at a specific destination, but they don’t always know how to get there without professional help.

“Clients want to protect themselves and their families. This is a future destination that they want to travel to. Paint this picture in their mind. Because if people are able to touch a future that is underwritten by you, and if you are able to create a link to something that clients care about, your value goes up,” said Webster.

This concept gives validation to the idea that no matter how much the human race has progressed; we are still driven by primal instincts such as survival and the protection of a family unit. All advisers need to do is find a way to tap into this by creating stories.

Editor’s Thoughts:
The person that you are today is the product of lessons or experiences learned throughout your life. This blueprint is also true for the clients that you serve. Shaping their realities through professional advice is the backbone of this industry. The easiest way to achieve this is through stories that highlight your value and relatability. What are the stories you are telling your clients?  Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

Comments

Added by Phlip, 26 Aug 2017
As long as we focus on narratives with products in mind, financial planners will always be know as product peddlers.
To be relevant in future we need to focus on the holistic picture of our clients' dreams, aspirations and goals. This is supported by products yes, but the focus is not on the product. "Who do you represent? " is the most important question to answer. Are you an agent/adviser of products or are you an advocate/administrator of the client's financial planning towards achieving their lifetime goals?
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Added by Michelle Nicholls, 23 Aug 2017
Wonderful article :) Well written and well put!
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