Protection conversations amid Covid

Protection conversations amid Covid - Our Head of Proposition, Sarah Moore, talks about how appealing to emotion could change the protection conversation.
Appealing to emotion instead of logic makes protection conversations much easier, particularly during a pandemic, says Sarah Moore
Talking is one thing we've been doing a lot of over the past year. We haven't been able to do much else. If we're all such practised conversationalists, why do we continue to struggle to make the value of protection understood?

The conversation for those of us working in protection, broadly speaking, never changes. A client needs it but doesn't want it. Yet right now, when financial stability and quality of life is all we can think about, advisers still find protection conversations hard.

The biggest challenge advisers trying to sell protection face is knowing how to make the transition between logic and emotion. Advisers arranging mortgages for residential clients possibly have an easier time, because there is generally an emotional reaction to a house - people fall in love with their dream home and the link between the bricks and mortar and keeping the family financially safe in that house is clear.

Advisers arranging lending for buy-to-let landlords or property developers, or giving investment advice, have a much tougher time - these clients are only thinking about financial investment, not an emotional one.

Social norms
Usually, when meeting people we don't know well, there is comfort in initial small talk but that tends not to happen on a video call. You don't make, or accept, a cup of tea or check out family photos on the walls. It's so much harder to start with the pleasantries when asking, 'can you hear me ok?' and hoping that the dog isn't going to start barking in the next room, so we get straight down to business.

And how do you take social cues from a client's body language when you can only see their face in a little square? Much of our reading of body language, when done in the same room as people, is subconscious or unconscious but a video call does not impart these physical tells.

Zoom is a chore, Teams is terrible and our social norms are gone. We don't feel relaxed in our familiar environments - and no-one enjoys a conversation when they're feeling uncomfortable.

Good conversations
For good conversations to take place, all parties must commit to genuinely listening. Invite your client to first make themselves a cuppa and get comfy. Allow time to chat, gather information about your client, ask how their lockdown has been and you're likely to discover what's important to them without appearing to be running through a protection checklist.

Agree how long the conversation might take and don't allow your brain to leap ahead to 'this is what I'm going to say when she stops talking' because as soon as you think that, you've stopped listening. It's game over.

A conversation is a talk between two or more people in which thoughts, feelings and ideas are expressed, questions are asked and answered, or news and information is exchanged but what happens when there isn't an exchange? There isn't any reciprocal listening? The relationship doesn't progress. If you can't listen for 30 minutes or an hour, how can a client trust you to have really taken on board what's important to them?