Complicated products have owners manuals, why don’t ours?
Best Practice Advice & Compliance & Sales & Marketing for Professional Services & Sales & Selling

Complicated products have owners manuals, why don't ours?

June 29, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

face it: our products are complicated as far as clients and prospects are concerned.


The funny thing is, nearly all of the products we buy are pretty complicated these days.  Even though we men folk tend to ignore them to begin with, most of the complicated products come with explanations about how they work and how to get the best out of them.


Even us menfolk usually find instruction manuals pretty handy eventually.


We back ourselves to be able to understand computer programming, sophisticated electronics and the inner workings of machinery instantly because of our resounding success as youngsters with the lego and meccano sets.  But then, at some stage, we admit defeat and have to go to the manufacturers book to figure out how to make something work properly.


Instruction manuals and user manuals are pretty useful things in the end.  Even the hearty pioneering-stock type of characters eventually have a look at them generally.


Is this something that perhaps would help clients with financial products and financial plans too?


The more I think about it the more I realise that owners manuals, or instruction manuals are virtually essential for most of us to gain the full use and benefit of sophisticated and complicated products.


Perhaps that is an opportunity for us as professionals to add value for clients as well as improving their engagement in the planning process.  Give them an instruction manual, be it electronic or leather bound ledger, that explains how to use the products and do the essential maintenance functions to get maximum performance and enjoyment from their purchases and plans, and what to do if things go wrong and you are not around.  Think of it as some “roadside assistance”…


Apart from the more obvious areas such as flowcharts and details on how to change ownership, make claims, transfer or switch funds or portfolio’s, and other “operational” features, it could include the essential servicing checklists that highlight when it is time to take the product back to the dealership to do the essential maintenance that will keep the product working at optimal performance.  What trigger events typically require the product to be brought back into the dealership for a look over?


It might also provide an additional ongoing value-add for clients as you provide updates for the instruction manuals to help them continue to get the most from their purchase or plan.


I talked recently about the idea of giving potential clients a taste test, or a sample, of what you do in advance.  Is this something where an example could be provided in sample form in advance to highlight the value you can and do provide?


If nothing else it is a way of showing that you want clients to get maximum benefit from the planning you do, and the products involved, and that alone shows that you care about the outcome for them, not just doing the business of the moment.


That would be a point of difference in a complicated world.


You might also be interested in this related article:

Let Your Prospects “Try Before They Buy”

Get financial adviser coach blog updates via email.
Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Join 311 other followers

Facebook: 2831, Twitter: 13061, LinkedIn: 689

Follow tonyvidler on

Comments (3)

  • Hi Tony, I think in this day and age a blog is your “Free tasting Test” for clients. They can often judge from your blog entries the style of planner you are and if you are right for them without an initial commitment and from the safety of their home!

    Like many adviser I started by repackaging technical articles from my research department but found that the technical jargon and style put readers off immediately. I learned my lesson fast.

    I now tend to try and break down the jargon for clients and fine new prospects often say they contacted me because I explained the strategy or change to the system in plain English they can understand.

    I see Transition to Retirement as one of those areas where the information out there is so confusing that only 40% of eligible people use this strategy. I would easily bet that 90% of those who actually speak to an adviser will use the strategy so the key is to give people enough digestible information and a call to action like “everyone who tries it loves it” message. Blogs can do that by showing simple case studies.

    So yes I believe in Checklists, 10 most common erroes lists…, 5 Q’s to ask…etc. all tastes of of what I do for clients and I would encourage others to do it too.


    SMSF Coach - Liam Shorte
  • Leave a Reply