There will some of you out there old enough to remember this. No, not the sixties, but FAB. Feature, Advantage, Benefit.
‘Oh god, not that corny old Sales training’, I hear. Well, turns out that corny old sales training was really just good communication skills training, and it works for the clients benefit. Whoever would have thought it?
What prompted this line of thought was doing some work with Compliance Officers and Compliance Managers, discussing Suitability Letters and Reports.
We got on to the subject of why the action / product / advice was being recommended. In short, the clients objectives.
Out they came, all the old favourites:
To save tax free
To improve the administration of the portfolio
To build up Capital
With due respect, what drivel. These are not client objectives. Client Objectives are about them, not the process. They are about their Dream of early retirement, or their Hope that their children go to University, or their Fear that death or disability could impact on their family.
The ‘Objectives’ listed above are merely how they may get there. In fact, they are almost hygiene factors. To see my point, try inverting them.
‘You want to pay as much tax as possible and suffer poor administration whilst losing Capital’.
See, not going to happen!
So FAB can be very useful here.
What a product or service does
Essentially, that Feature translated into words the client can understand ‘What that means is…’
What that then actually means to the client
So, a simple example:
‘This Product has an Index Linked option, which means that the amount of cover can be set to automatically grow by inflation. The benefit of that to you is that you always have the cover you need to ensure your family are safe’.
The point here is that in order to articulate a Benefit, we must understand the client’s goals and objectives. THAT is where the value is, and tells us where the root of the problem probably lies.
I suggest that many Advisers may simply not know enough about the client to carry out this sort of process.
Oh sure, they can tell you all about the money. They can tell you everything you want to know about the technicality of the solution. But if we ask them about the client’s deepest, darkest fear, their biggest regret about money, their secret dreams for themselves, their families and their businesses, can Advisers tell us that?
And when the answer is no, as it often is, is it any wonder that the Objectives we see are the Objectives the Money would have, if it could only speak, rather than the real Client, the human being sat in front of us.
Knowing your client is valuable. Knowing who your client really is? Priceless.