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

March 14, 2014

by Tony Vidler

Even though we men folk tend to ignore them to begin with, we tend to 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.

I just did it with a new car…spent nearly 3 months manfully “figuring out” where an automatic boot opener might be….eventually the instruction manual figured it out for me.  Duh!

Is it something that 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.  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.

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.

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 blogged last week 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 that involves, and that alone shows that you care about the outcome for them, not just doing the business of the moment.

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Comments (2)

  • 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
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