For financial professionals who are fully immersed in the industry day in and day out, it can be easy to forget the average client may not be familiar with certain concepts or terms. While this may seem like a small issue, it can actually lead to greater challenges when trying to connect with clients.
A recent report from LIMRA highlighted that life insurance ownership is at its lowest level in 50 years. The experts at LIMRA believe a lack of clear and authentic communication may be partly to blame.
“There is a gap between the industry’s intentions and consumers’ perceptions, and it seems to be getting worse, not better,” LIMRA stated. “We believe that the industry’s intentions are ‘noble.’ That is, companies and sales professionals mean well, and want to help people protect their families, plan for the future, and guard against the ‘what ifs’ that may lead to financial hardship. But there is a disconnect between what is being said and what consumers hear.”
Helping consumers get unstuck
LIMRA went on to point out there are approximately 19 million so-called “stuck shoppers,” men and women who believe life insurance is a necessity, yet do not have coverage themselves.
While it may be tempting to assume most of these individuals are younger, unattached and bringing in low incomes, this simply isn’t the case. Forty-nine percent are married, while 42 percent have children. Meanwhile, 39 percent have a household income between $50,000 and $99,999.
“Nearly 8 in 10 stuck shoppers believe it is the industry’s job to help them understand financial products and services,” LIMRA continued. “And, almost 9 in 10 feel that the industry is responsible for helping them to recognize how they would benefit from those products and services. They want you to give them answers. How should you deliver the information?”
Revamping your delivery
LIMRA offered a number of tips to financial professionals regarding how to improve their messaging to stuck shoppers.
First, they pointed out that many stuck shoppers view insurer websites as not directed toward them. Creating a more inclusive site could be one way to attract more business. Some language may make potential clients feel like you’re only interested in serving older individuals or those with a much higher net worth.
Meanwhile, these consumers also tend to crave more visual information, so incorporating a greater number of pictures, charts and graphics could be a smart strategy. After all, a wall of text isn’t exactly the most visually appealing presentation, and can lead to consumers giving up before they even get a chance to understand the valuable services you can provide.
Keep it simple
Another factor to keep in mind is that too much jargon and complicated pitches will likely do nothing but confuse potential clients.
It’s important for producers to work on simplifying their message and driving home the essentials quickly and easily. While life insurance certainly has many important details to consider and deserves the same attention as any binding legal document, that doesn’t mean it needs to be presented that way at the get-go.
The importance of authenticity
Keeping things simple is one of the cornerstones of authenticity, something LIMRA cited as vital to successful sales.
In addition to making your communications easy to understand, LIMRA recommended focusing on being down to earth, memorable, positive, credible and relevant.
Some of these areas may be easier to improve on than others, but keep in mind that you have more tools than ever before at your disposal to accomplish your objectives.
For instance, social media streamlines the process of engaging with potential clients in a simple and memorable way. Meanwhile, your experience and unique industry knowledge can be utilized to boost your credibility and increase trust among consumers.
In the end, the most important piece of advice may just be to approach each client how they want to be approached – that is, uniquely. In order to feel relevant to a client, you need to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach to life insurance is no longer viable. Each person is different, and they want to feel like your services are tailored to their specific needs.
Relationship building vital to success
According to the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, the financial services industry is one of the least trusted around the world. This creates a very real barrier to effective communication.
“As the financial services industry continues its path to recovery, the importance of trust – or lack thereof – remains front and center within one of the world’s most vital sectors,” Edelman stated. “Despite slight improvements in trust levels compared to five years ago, the demand for structural and regulatory reform in the industry remains high across the globe, and the need to rebuild trust through performance is increasingly apparent.”
The public relations firm went on to highlight the importance of sincerely making an effort to approach clients individually.
“Today’s consumer wants to be sincerely engaged in a way that conveys a deeper understanding of their personal goals and values, and what is important to them about their financial services institutions,” the firm stated.
For life insurance producers, taking this to heart and making it the foundation of future marketing efforts can help them avoid cold or confusing language and remember that successful engagement depends on creating a connection. Building such a connection will be far easier if clients can understand what you’re saying and believe it to be true.