How long have you worked in financial services?
It’s amazing how technology has changed but the communications challenges we face are the same, don’t you think?
I often get asked to speak at local adviser events. A popular topic is sharing marketing ideas about how advisers can grow their businesses.
An old colleague, who I’ve not seen in over 10 years, recently invited me to speak at his lunchtime workshop. On the guest list I saw another couple of names I recognised from my early days in the industry. From the 1990s.
Speaking about growing the protection market is fascinating. Talking to people with whom I had similar conversations two decades ago even more so.
When I thought about what I would talk about, I realised that some things have not changed at all.
- People still do not think that they need protection insurance and even those that do, think of it as a grudge buy
- They think that it is too expensive
- They believe that insurance companies will try hard to find a way to decline claims.
Deeply engrained in consumers’ minds, these views prevail despite evidence to the contrary.
On top of that, apart from a surge of critical illness sales in the late 1990s and early 2000s, “flat” is how you would describe the protection market.
Yet, the way we do business has changed completely. Back when I started, we enjoyed our own telephones on desks for the first time. And HR departments were as worried that people would waste their time on the phone to friends as they are about them spending time on Facebook now.
No individual PCs, no internet and no mobile phones. We faxed hand calculated and typed quotations to advisers.
Sales consultants travelled the country with sacks full of 2p pieces for phoning the office from public call boxes. We advertised in the trade press. But unless you were in London you didn’t get your copy of the trade papers until the following week.
Now we have information overload on the Internet. Communication by mobile, Skype, iMessage, Facetime and video conference.
We can get instant quotations.
There are more channels for marketing communications across hundreds of TV stations, electronic bill boards and ads within apps.
And social media opens up a different way of engaging clients.
All this happened in less than 20 years. As a marketing person it’s fascinated me to see these new methods of communication develop.
But, despite technological developments beyond the dreams of most science fiction writers, the same three reasons why people don’t buy protection insurance prevail now as then.
Overcoming those objections requires the same approach. I’ve always believed a “Face to Face conversation” to handle those objections best approach. Twenty years ago. And today.
Of course to talk face to face we no longer need to be in the same room. Now we can talk “FaceTime to FaceTime“. Or “Skype to Skype“.
The digital technology revolution hasn’t changed the way people feel about protection. But we can use it to encourage more people into face to face meetings. That is where future protection market growth will come from.
Now it’s your turn:
What’s changed for the better over the last 20 years of protection insurance? What would you still like to see change? Please leave a comment or share a link to your own article.