With our research The Adviser-Client Relationship Report 2019 showing advisers are facing challenges, MetLife’s experts offer some suggestions to help attract and retain clients, and grow your business.

MetLife expert panel:

  • Erna Esa – Customer Insights & Experience Analyst
  • Christina Hoang – Marketing Manager, Retail
  • Matt Lippiatt – Head of Adviser Experience
  • Jeffrey Scott – Head of Advice Strategy

1. Explain the value of policies bought through an adviser

Jeffrey Scott, Head of Advice Strategy: The main benefit for customers who see a financial adviser for life insurance is that they get a tailored product that may better meet their needs than a policy they purchase directly from an insurance company. However, one of the main reasons people don’t want to engage a financial adviser is because it’s perceived as expensive. Compare a direct policy with a retail policy on a like for like basis and explain it costs less to see a financial adviser who’s getting a full commission than to buy a direct policy. Why? Because the direct price includes high marketing costs and the expenses of lapses, which on direct products adds up to 40-60% in the first year. Life insurance policies purchased via a financial adviser usually have a lapse rate of less than 12% in the first 18 months.

2. Charge for advice – but educate for free

Christina Hoang, Marketing Manager, Retail: Many people think they need a lot of money to see a financial adviser. Consider adding some educational articles to your website that answer the questions people have around insurance advice such as an article on ‘What happens when I meet with an adviser?’ or 'Do I need life insurance if I'm young and healthy?', short videos offering tips and how-tos, and FAQs. Give the education for free, and charge for the advice.

3. Build your profile and ask clients for reviews

Christina Hoang: Claim your profile on adviserratings.com.au, set up your Google business profile so potential clients can read reviews. If you have a great relationship with a few existing clients, you could ask them to leave a review. Referral or suggestion by family member or friend is the second biggest reason that prompted consumers and SMEs to first seek an adviser. Having a Facebook page is also useful. 

4. Show you care

Erna Esa, Customer Insights & Experience Analyst: Our research for The Adviser-Client Relationship Report 2019 shows the most important thing people want from you is to know you really care. Here are some ways you can build that trusting relationship:

  • Demonstrate value right from the start of a relationship and strengthen this value over time by setting and agreeing on realistic expectations in initial meetings as well as maintaining ongoing and transparent communication. Encourage clients to have an annual review of their policies to keep them up to date. A review is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your expertise and build a partnership with clients.

5. Build trust with 'social proof'

Erna Esa, Customer Insights & Experience Analyst: The idea is that people are more likely to trust you if other people they relate to already trust you. Share case studies with your new or potential clients about how you have helped existing clients when they had a claim (anonymise the information to protect client privacy). For example:

  • What were the key tasks you performed for the client? Such as: notified life insurance company of claim, helped with completion of forms and paperwork.
  • Who did you communicate with (doctors, specialist, claims consultants, etc)?
  • How many clients have you helped make claims?
  • What is the total sum insured that your clients have received from life insurance companies paying claims due to your recommendations and advice? Testimonials from existing clients along with experience in handling the (perceived) difficult claims process is a way to build deep relationships with new clients.

6. Use a client relationship management system

Matt Lippiatt, Head of Adviser Experience: Invest in a technology platform to manage customer interactions and relationships, including simple keeping-in-touch practices such as reminders for a review and updating them with progress of their claims.

7. Find out which communication channel works best for each client

Erna Esa: Our MetLife Adviser-Client research 2018 shows:

  • Most clients prefer to be contacted by email (82%), then phone call (41%) and face to face (41%).
  • Younger consumers in the 18-39 age group are more likely than other groups to prefer contact via email (84%) or message/text (18%) – they are also more open to receiving communications about life insurance via social media (30%) and podcasts (13%).
  • Middle aged consumers 40-59 are more likely to prefer webinars (17%) compared to other groups.
  • Older consumers aged 60+ are more likely to prefer face-to-face (52%) or phone call (47%) than other age groups.

You can demonstrate trust, honesty and transparency by providing timely updates in a language they understand in their preferred communication channel.

8. Give millennials options when they seek advice

Jeffrey Scott: Millennials (born between 1981 and 1995) are now at the age they’re actively thinking about insurance and looking for information to help them make decisions. They’re used to doing research online, so it’s best to engage millennials by providing options about communication channels and payments. Our research shows:

  • More than a third (36%) of consumers aged 18 to 35 first worked out what they could afford before looking at what the cover would pay for, indicating that cost is a relatively strong factor when purchasing insurance.

9. Consumers need reassurance that insurance companies actually pay

Jeffrey Scott: Many consumers are unaware just how frequently claims are paid – or they build a perception from negative media reports that insurance companies don’t pay many claims. You can reassure people that life insurance companies do pay by sharing some of the latest industry statistics (for example reports from APRA), which show 97% of all death claims and 95% of income protection claims are paid.

10. People are looking for a coach as much as an adviser

Jeffrey Scott: The more you understand human behaviour the better for your client because ultimately the client is paying for help to change their behaviour. What you’re really selling isn’t insurance: it’s coaching people to help improve their lives. So that means regularly checking in with them, keeping up with their changing circumstances and providing value every time.

Our research shows:

  • 1 in 3 consumers and 1 in 2 SMEs are considering changing their adviser or no longer working with their adviser in the next 12 months.
  • The main reasons people give for ending their relationships with their adviser include: lack of regular contact or they don't see the value of insurance (high premiums/ lack of affordability/policy not necessary).

You can help build ongoing relationships with your clients and help tackle misconceptions about insurance by demonstrating ongoing care about their changing circumstances. This will help position the relationship as a partnership and reinforce the value of an adviser in the short and long term.

Read MetLife's The Adviser-Client Relationship Report 2019 to find out more about what clients want from their relationships with their adviser.