“The more successful we become, the further we move away from the basics that made us successful in the first place!” Don Connelly— internationally acclaimed successful trainer, coach and mentor to Financial Advisers.

As with any profession, the better your understanding of the basics, the stronger your foundation upon which to build your career as a financial adviser. But it will be your unshakeable belief in what you are selling, that people buy. People don’t buy the basic risk insurance product–life insurance — because they understand the product. They buy it because they firmly believe that you understand the product! They don’t want life insurance – they want what life insurance will do! They don’t buy life insurance, they buy what you sell – peace of mind!

Please remember this: You have access to the only product in the commercial world which will replace expectations with certainties, and promises with guarantees! Life Insurance.

I am convinced that my unshakable belief in the basics of selling insurance was the number one factor that enabled me to enjoy a reasonable level of success as a specialist risk insurance Adviser. Space does not allow me the opportunity of sharing with you all the basics that I gathered over a 40-year career, but to mention just a few:

1. “Selling is 95% people knowledge and 5% product and technical knowledge, with the rider you had better know 100% of the 5%!” John Savage

Sadly, over the last 10-15 years, I have found that with new financial advisers entering our industry, the reverse is the norm, i.e. their training has included an inordinate amount of time on product and technical knowledge and very little time on communication skills. We may be in the financial services industry, but we are in the people business!

My observation of current training programs is that many of the newer financial advisers are being brainwashed to believe that people are buying their knowledge, so the more qualified they become, the more successful they will be! Wrong!

You could be the most highly qualified person in our industry and starve to death because of your inability to articulate your knowledge in such a manner that people will both understand and act upon. The size of your commission cheque has nothing to do with how much you know about insurance, but rather how well you communicate with people who know nothing about insurance!

2. There are only two types of insurance – life & disability. Don’t confuse people!

It is up to you to introduce the topic of death into the economic equation of your prospect’s and client’s lives. Their accountants never raise it; their lawyers never raise it and, sadly, because of this massive underinsurance problem we have in our country, it appears that many financial planners would prefer not to raise it. It seems to me that the latter would rather talk about something that is popular, rather than what is important!

3. There are only two reasons for people to buy life insurance – to preserve an estate and to create an estate. Don’t confuse people!

4. Generally speaking, there are only three types of disability insurance – income protection (including business expenses); TPD and critical illness. Learn to explain each of these within a few minutes.

5. Your value comes from the problems you solve, not the products you sell. People buy your advice first and your product last, and there is daylight in between!

There are always two solutions to a problem, the prospect or client’s and yours. The inexperienced Adviser uncovers the problem and then immediately introduces the subject of the product to solve the problem.

The experienced adviser highlights the problem, asks the prospect or client how they plan to resolve it, and then sits back and listens. That’s the difference between transactional selling and relationship selling. The focus should always be on their problems, not your solutions; on their dreams, not your remuneration.

You have to start with the basics, develop an unshakable belief in those basics and continually polish them year after year as you gain more experience.

The road to excellence is always under construction.