Let me ask you a question: How many people try to tell you things every day of the week?
Have you ever tried to keep a count going in your head? Think of all the conversations you have, all the emails you get, the phone calls you take or make, all the websites you use, what you see on TV and listen to on the radio, the mail you get through your front door.
Think of all those people vying for the attention you have to give!
Communication is a vital ingredient in all our lives. It’s the most important thing at school, at work, at home.
When it comes to work the financial services industry is no different. In fact you could argue that given the intangible products we sell, communication is THE most important thing that we do.
So why do we fail so badly at times to get messages across to our target audiences in this industry?
I did a presentation recently at a protection industry summit on the subject of communication in our industry.
Before the presentation, I did some research amongst IFAs and the IFA networks to get the views of people on the quality of the communication processes in our industry.
It surprised me when the feedback suggested that we are really poor at delivering key messages to our target audiences.
Why is this? Think of all the money the financial services industry spends on communication each year. What are we doing wrong?
We had a think about this. There are a few really important things we need to do to improve our communication. Here goes…
1 - Every person in a marketing/communications role should buy a copy of the book ‘Know your strengths’ by Marcus Buckingham, and do the talent analysis in the books website. If communication is not one of your five major talents in the results of your psychometric test, then what are you doing in that role?
2 - Every marketing person who is in a role which targets advisers should spend at least four days a year actually out there seeing how adviser firms do things, and how much stuff advisers and their support staff actually get from us.
3 - We need an industry wide group to be formed to help us with (1) industry consultations and (2) the communication of industry wide changes.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to prioritise these - they are all equally important.
Since the presentation I’ve heard murmurs coming from the ABI protection committee that they are considering setting up a group of stakeholders from all parts of the industry to look at the consultation and communication issues affecting protection.
Good start, but is poor communication just a protection issue? The advisers I spoke to said it wasn’t.
Andy Milburn is IFA market manager at progress from Royal Liver
The views expressed in this article of those of its author and do not necessarily represent those of IFAonline or any other Incisive Media affiliated organisation.IFAonline
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