One of the greatest challenges for professionals working with complex ideas and products is to keep conversations and explanations as simple as possible – without being patronising. Nearly all clients are time-poor to a degree, and nearly all clients have more than enough complicated things happening in their lives that they begin to feel overwhelmed when we introduce more information which is difficult to work through.
I was reminded of this last week when an adviser admitted he was having a challenge with many clients understanding what his risk management recommendations really covered. After asking him to explain a typical recommendation to me in the same way that he does with clients I understood immediately why he was finding it a struggle. I’ve been working in this field for 25 years and I was struggling to understand his explanation….what chance that your typical consumer could?
All the detailed explanations about elements of cover and how claims payments might be calculated have their place, but only after the core concept is understood and accepted as being reasonable. To be blunt, you have to get “buy in” from the customer to the idea that what you are recommending is reasonable before they are even slightly interested in the detail of it all.
The question being asked up front is simply: “Deal, or No Deal?”
So this is how I explained “the deal”….it is a set of promises. You, the client promise to pay a premium, and in return the insurance company promises to do these things:
It’s just a contract.
People understand what contracts are: 2 parties who commit to do their side of the deal. Clients are usually perfectly capable and comfortable deciding on whether a contract is a good deal for them or not. Is it a good deal?
Once they’ve decided that it looks like it could be a good deal, THEN the detail matters.
Think of it as trying to explain to a client all the necessary detail of a commercial property that you think would be good for them….the building plans, the security systems, the ergonomic design features, the status of the warrant of fitness on the elevators and code of compliance issues……
Too much detail when they haven’t even necessarily bought into the concept of whether the commercial property might be a good deal for them. They have to decide in the first instance that it is potentially a good deal before they are interested in the substantiating detail.
Or, to be truly blunt about it: are you bringing a good deal to the table or just wasting their time with meaningless nonsense?
All the detail and the technical supporting information is meaningless nonsense until the client has bought into the idea that this just might be a good deal.
At the front end we really do have to keep it simple, and it is as simple as “Deal, or No Deal?”. Only then does the logic and the detail matter.
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