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Protection advisers 'let down' by training

Protection advisers 'let down' by training
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Protection sales training is the “missing link” to winning the hearts and minds of most clients, but advisers have been let down by insufficient training, a consultant has said.

Speaking at a Protection Review event today (October 15) Angela Davidson, sales performance consultant at Passion for Protection, suggested the industry should address the protection gap by starting to close the “sales skill gap”.

Ms Davidson recounted sales training in the 80s and 90s as perhaps a “little too enthusiastic”.

But she added: “[Today] I think we’ve gone too far the other way, letting advisers down by not offering enough training in this area and in turn, that has let clients down.”

‘No shortage’ of training in the past

According to Ms Davidson, the protection industry saw “no shortage” of sales training in the 80s and 90s. But she said those days had “very much gone”.

Ms Davidson described banks and insurance companies as generally the traditional routes into financial services, often with large sales forces in insurance, where advisers ‘learned the ropes’ of protection.

But today, Ms Davidson said, it was largely product providers delivering training via academies at networks and adviser firms.

“Training revolves around their own products, their features and benefits, unique selling points, and often focuses on the technical detail, all of which is very much needed by the advisers,” she said.

But she added: “Unlike planning for a good retirement, investing and dreams for the future, or buying a perfect home, thinking about, and worse still, talking about death, disease and disability, is not usually at the top of any client’s wish list.”

Value of sales training

Ms Davidson suggested a collective effort from providers, networks and advisers was needed.

She said: “We have the product knowledge, and the tools, what about refocusing on the know-how?

“Let’s share best practice in rapport building, soft skills, understanding how clients think about risk, questioning techniques and the best way to overcome the many objections that protection throws at us.

“Then we will see more families taking up and valuing the important cover that they so very much need.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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