The Ear of the Beholder: Words Clients Hate, Words Clients Like

A Chubb research project found that it’s not what you say to prospects that matters; it’s what they hear

(Image: Shutterstock) (Image: Shutterstock)

Unlocking the feelings of prospects to tailor the perfect pitch is a goal of salespeople, brokers and advisors the world over. While perfection may not be attained, a recent research project by Chubb may help keep your pitch from flying off course.

Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer, recently debuted a resource center designed to help independent insurance agent and broker partners, as well as financial advisors, to engage more effectively with current and prospective clients. One of the methods to accomplish this, Chubb says, is to change the language between the service providers and the customers.

Ori Ben-Yishai, CMO at Chubb North America Personal Risk Services, said that when talking with succesful individuals, advisors and agents should be “focusing on their acheivements, rather than their wealth.”

(Related: How to Choose the Right Words to Hook Clients: Pollster Luntz)

So Chubb found phrases that were real turnoffs when talking with clients or prospective clients, and pieced together phrases to replace those words. The research center was fueled by a months-long project that Chubb conducted with Maslansky + Partners, a language strategy firm.

Chubb said their research found that it’s not what you say to prospects that matters; it’s what they hear. While the research was targeted toward insurers, the results strike at the heart of individual consumer perceptions, much of what behavioral finance seeks to explain.

For instance, when the study described a firm as serving “high net worth” and “affluent” clients, the participants, instead of being flattered, responded: “It doesn’t pertain to me, even though I consider myself upper middle class,” and “That sounds snobby and elitist.”

Chubb said that no matter how “elite” prospects’ lifestyles may be, there is always someone else they know that has more. Wealth is relative, the study found, so individuals are slow to think of themselves as “affluent” or “high net worth.”

So here are some of the phrases and words to lose and those to use as replacements when marketing services to affluent prospects.

Chubb: Words to Lose and Words to Use

 

 Chubb: Words to Lose and Words to Use

Chubb: Words to Lose and Words to Use

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