The first of the year is a good time to wipe the table clean. Here are my suggestions for the table of insurance and financial products.
Put product information on your Web site. You would think everyone does that by now. But, after many trips to many sites, I have concluded that many dont. Some sites just say: “Contact us for information about insurance, securities, etc.” Others do show links leading to product sections, but the discussions shown there are often scanty or blurry. Still, others do post product details but only behind password-protected doorways.
Maybe these firms dont want to spend the time/effort to keep updating the public part of their Web sites with product info. Maybe some worry that product sections might: 1) overwhelm or confuse consumers; 2) make visitors believe advisor-sold products are available online; 3) give competitors (or attorneys!) too much ammo.
Its hard to say. But, from a Web visitor point of view, its frustrating. One might hear about a companys having a new product or see an ad for it, go to the Web site and findnext to nothing. What kind of a marketing plan is that?
Suggestion: Why not take full advantage of the Webs marketing power? Show your products, name them and give a few details on each. Maybe have a product education section that explains key terms. You dont have to give away the whole store. You dont have to spell out your most treasured competitive advantage. But providing a good overview of your offerings will strengthen your credibility and help customers decide about doing business with you. This goes for agencies and financial planning firms as well as providers.
If you must use business jargon, at least get it straight. Granted, some states do require that certain terms be used in the sales literature, and some compliance departments do require that field and CSR staff use certain terms when communicating with customers. Unfortunately, some of those terms are mere jargon to consumers. Worse, they are not used consistently from person to person, firm to firm and state to state. “Living benefits” is but one example. And “transparency” is fast becoming a term-for-all-seasons, with just about everyone using it to mean different things. This causes a lot of confusion.
Suggestion: Go ahead and ask, “Do you understand these terms?” If you detect uncertainty, explain. If you are unsure yourself, check for clarification with recognized sources. If you are preparing sales materials, include a simple definition and/or, if your rules also allow use of “plain English,” then just speak plainly. Why bother? Because if you leave doubt on the table, chances are you will leave money there, too.