With so many technological tools at your fingertips, it can be tempting to rely solely on high-tech platforms to do business. However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And in the world of financial advice, that means consumers still crave a face-to-face sit-down.
Take the results of the 2014 Insurance Barometer Study from the LIMRA and Life Happens. Sixty-seven percent of individuals age 45 and over preferred to speak with financial professional in person, as opposed to just 10 percent wanting to do so over a social media site. While consumers younger than 45 were more open to other options, 62 percent still cited in-person as their preference.
Meanwhile, the same report found that, overall, 53 percent of consumers would rather purchase life insurance products in person, compared to only 22 percent online.
In short, people like the idea of technology, as well as the flexibility it can offer for certain functions, but they prefer flesh-and-blood interaction when it comes to hammering out the more important details.
Finding a balance
It’s important to note these findings don’t mean financial professionals should scrap their online efforts. Utilizing the Internet, social media and other technological tools remains an essential part of doing business in today’s market. From attracting clients to engaging with them quickly, these tools can be essential.
Additionally, even though the majority of clients prefer face-to-face interaction, a considerable amount may be more willing to make a purchase if they have online opportunities. Also, technology enables clients to do more thorough research, which can put them in a better position to make a purchase decision.
“Most people still prefer to purchase life insurance face-to-face with a financial advisor or agent, but 1 in 4 under the age of 45 say their preference is to apply for it online,” the 2014 Insurance Barometer Study stated. “The majority overall say they would use the Internet to research life insurance, including three quarters of seniors.”
However, it’s vital to remember the products and services you offer play a huge role in people’s lives. Estate planning, long-term care, life insurance – these are issues that affect a client’s future, as well as those of their loved ones. It only makes sense that many would want to look you in the eye and be able to shake your hand before making decisions of such importance.
With this in mind, it appears the ideal way to serve clients is by creating a hybrid business strategy that incorporates new technology while keeping face-to-face interaction a cornerstone.
Crafting a website that provides potential clients with valuable information, as well as creating social media profiles that make it easy for them to engage with you, is a great strategy. Just be sure to make it clear you’re on hand and happy to meet in person to discuss different products and services.
Technology is only going to advance and change the way people work with financial advisors further. However, there will always be the need for a human element when it comes to a service that directly impacts a person’s quality of life and the lives of the people they care about.