Agents and advisers are in the people business. While technology is critical to sales nowadays, the ability to communicate and connect with people is still vital, says Dr Jim Taggart, adjunct professor at the Asia Pacific International College and former owner of a successful financial services practice in Australia. He shared these tips for building relationships at the recent 1st International Training Summit for Life Agents and Financial Advisers organised by Asia Insurance Review.
“Time is not money. Relationships are money,” he said, noting that success for agents and advisers is not about what you know, it’s about who knows you and how relevant you are in people’s lives, in the eyes of your clients.
What do customers want from clients?
Dr Taggart said that customers want these things from advisers – “inspiration”—to help them fulfil their dreams; “information”—to help them edit financial choices and “execution”—to help them make life easier for them and their family.
Thus advisers need to inspire their clients, to take complex information and make it simple, putting it into a meaningful dialogue. “You need to understand what you’re saying to people. Not what you think you are saying, but what they think you’re saying,” he said.
He also emphasised that the most important thing in the advisory business is to “see people, see people and see people.” From his previous experience, a good target to aim for is 20-30 meetings a week with prospects.
The six principles of life
Dr Taggart highlighted these six principles of life that agents and advisers should pay attention to, and aim to adopt:
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Choose your words, they become your actions. Understand your actions, they become your habits. Study your habits, they become your character. And it is your character that gives you your destiny," said Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.
What Spencer Johnson said—“ “Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”
In Henry James’ words—“'Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
“Make people feel relevant and important. Help them in their decision-making. Help them with the execution of the information in their lives,” said Dr Taggart.
“People will forget what you said. What you did for them. But they will never ever forget how you made them feel,” he said. Advisers should strive to always be courteous.
In Winston Churchhill’s words: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
“Don’t make people feel inferior. Help them learn, help them grow. Help them understand the relevance of what you’re doing for them,” said Dr Taggart.
“I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve”--Albert Schweitzer
Those who have done well should give back. “It’s what you are going to be remembered as—are you a giver or a taker? The greatest gift is to be able to help people to help others,” said Dr Taggart. He said that one’s reputation is one of the most valuable assets.
“Ask yourself--what do you want to be remembered by’?”