Giving you the right track to run on

A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success

CHRISISM #69 - Separating Yourself From The Pack

02 July 2018

Separating Yourself From The Pack


What is the perception of the financial services industry that is currently being created by the media? I would suggest it’s something like:- “Everyone in financial planning is a shark who doesn’t give a damn about their clients and are only in it for their own benefit.


So now more than ever financial advisers need to be doing everything they can to separate themselves from the pack and nurture stronger and more meaningful relationships with their clients.

I believe there are a number of ways in which an adviser can achieve these outcomes and in most cases it will actually involve verbalizing how you and your practice establish these points of differentiation. Specifically, you need to verbalize the following:-

1) It is essential that we secure our client’s ongoing income as best we can before we start making plans with it. What this means is we need to put in place our client’s personal protection package before we start implementing investment strategies. In this context I believe it is really powerful to say something along the lines of:- “ I’m not prepared to compromise my professional integrity by doing things in the wrong order – if you’re not happy with the order in which I insist on doing things, then you’ll have to deal with one of the many advisers who are more than happy to compromise their professional integrity on a daily basis”. I believe verbalizing the concept of professional integrity is an important stepping stone to establishing points of differentiation.

  2) Early in the piece (see Chrisism#68) I believe it is crucial that we verbalize to our clients that under no circumstances are we interested in one-off sales – only long term business relationships, and we need to get the client’s agreement/buy-in to that, thereby allaying the fear that we are on a smash and grab raid on their wallet!

  3) When going through the Fact Find, if we discover that the client has already bought certain protection products outside of their employer super benefits, then I believe we have another great opportunity to separate ourselves from the pack. Given the current media coverage around the concept of “churning”, I believe in this instance we have a great opportunity to provide substantial reassurance to our client as follows:- “ It’s important that you understand that my mission is NOT  to undo what you have already done, but to build on what you’ve already got”. More often than not, you can actually see your client’s shoulders relax when you say this because they were expecting you to say something like:- “Oh, well we can do a lot better than that, so we’ll replace that cover”.

  4) I think another way in which we can demonstrate acting in our client’s best interests is to make sure we are being proactive not reactive during the underwriting process. I believe it is that period of time between the submission of an application and the issuing of policy documents that we have one of our best opportunities to cement and add layers to our relationship with the client. In my experience, a lot of advisers drop their new client like a hot potato once an application is submitted and move on to the next prospect, and they only react to the underwriting requirements once they are known. I believe we need to be in regular contact with this new client all the way through the underwriting process e.g. keeping them informed, chasing PMARs, using Lifescreen for medicals and blood tests (not the client’s GP) and reminding them of appointments and making sure they went okay. This proactivity during the underwriting process will go a long way towards creating a quality experience for your client rather than just completing a transaction.

  5) The final thing you can do to separate yourself from the pack is to be reliable (see Chrisism#59), just by doing simple things like calling people back when you say you are going to, completing what you say you are going to complete on schedule and being on time for appointments.

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Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?