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They don’t start out caring, making them care is our job

To protect clients from whatever future events may happen we must start with hard questions – and a polite determination to get to proper answers.

Monday, March 13th 2017, 6:00AM

Consumers do not form an orderly queue at the door asking for policies. It is true that there is some latent demand, the ‘ready to buy’ consumer. They do exist, but not in great numbers. Google is the great beneficiary of the fierce competition to catch them: bidding up the price of adwords for terms related to ‘insurance’ to sometimes eye-watering levels. So yes, some of them care, but most consumers don’t care that much. In fact, until someone has a goal, they couldn’t care less about most things.

Consumers can lack interest all morning until lunchtime and, once fed, drift along not thinking big original thoughts about anything all afternoon. But don’t take it personally, it’s an equal opportunity apathy applied to everything from homelessness, to healthcare, racism to global warming. Driven, focused people are the exception, not the norm. Rare indeed is the consumer that can sustain a deep and abiding interest in insurance.

Think about it. It would be weird to meet one.

So we should not be surprised consumers are apathetic. Waiting for consumers to overcome their apathy about insurance and you will go broke, and they won’t get cover. Two bad outcomes, but only one side of the equation is going to change it.

In Australia a survey found that more than 80% of advisers rate consumer apathy to be the biggest problem they face. It’s a dumb question because you could re-phrase it thus: “Is how much the consumer wants to buy the biggest issue in sales?”

It is our job to make them care. Typically this is done by asking hard questions. “What happens if…?”

When the answer is evasion, politely and persistently ask again.

When the answer is unrealistic, point that out, and ask again.

Waiting, creating a safe but determined space for the truth to emerge. “If my partner died I would need…” or “If I couldn’t work, to keep the house I would need…” and so on.

When we have a realistic statement of what people want to happen should disaster strike – and over a lifetime, in a family or a business, it nearly always does – then we can start to talk about solving the problem, making sure the money will be there. But it starts with hard questions and the polite determination to get to proper answers.

Tags: Russell Hutchinson

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