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It's time to shine your light

Russell Hutchinson draws inspiration from a Canadian advice business and provides some ideas about how to become a really good and busy adviser.

Thursday, December 8th 2016, 2:14PM

by Russell Hutchinson

A Canadian insurance advice business I keep a close eye on constantly publishes good information about insurance – their knowledge, clients tips, difficult cases, changes in the law, and more.  Although much is specific to their market, I mention them because they are an exemplar of a business letting their market know how expert they are. That’s just one. There are hundreds around the world, even thousands. There aren’t many here.

Rather than plunge into a long list of things you need to do in order to make your marketing better. Let’s pause, and consider why these things are important.

Customers are faced with more and more complexity all the time. All those ‘simple’ products being sold by direct insurers often add, dizzyingly, to complexity. All the nagging in the media and by government agencies to become ‘financially literate’ makes people worry.

Family structures are more complex. Tax rules, home loans rules, and work are all more complicated. KiwiSaver is a simple scheme. But it is one more financial instrument most people didn’t have to worry about a 10 years ago.

This has three main effects: people are more worried, people seek advice, they will choose an adviser that they think can best help them do that.

Today, more than ever, being able to convince people that you are a good adviser is essential. If you are worried that I am advocating form-over-content, I’m not: I know some really good and not-very-busy advisers and some really good-and-busy advisers. I really want you to be the second, but being the first is no shame compared to being a ‘bad’ adviser.

Also, there is a virtuous circle here. Giving more advice means you get better at it.

We are also in a time of change. Previously important factors in selecting an adviser have changed. Consider some from history: he wears a nice suit, he lives nearby, he comes to visit me in the evening, and he collects the premium from me.

Some old factors are enduring: reputation, in this case, your reputation as an adviser.

What is new are the different ways your potential customers form their views of you as an adviser. The tricky thing in a knowledge-based advice role is how to show people how much you can help without giving away all your advice for free. It’s a balancing act, but the balance is shifting towards ‘give more’ the more complex life is.

So what do you share?

Case studies, cautionary tales, general knowledge, seminars, references and endorsements, commentary on tax, regulation, eligibility rules, product differences, ‘what-if’ scenarios, guides for different types of families/businesses/estates and so on.

Where do you share it?
Everywhere your audience looks, which does mean, increasingly online and in social media, as well as in email newsletters, advertising, your office presence, and more.

If you do all this stuff already, then share it better. If you don’t then have a look around. Inspiration abounds.

Tags: Russell Hutchinson

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