The assumptive close - and why I loathe and detest it!


The assumptive close - and why I loathe and detest it!

Are you being hard sold to? Is someone selling you goods or services by assuming at every stage you are going to jump off the metaphorical cliff and commit yourself to their tender mercies?

As an example of this nefarious practise, I give you a well known purveyor of postal franking machines, who have sent over new contracts and direct debit mandates for a new franking machine. They have sent over all of the documents, as they thought it would be helpful. 

 It is a goodish deal, cheaper over the longer term than the current machine but I am considering not doing it as I hate an assumptive close; it is a hard sales technique, getting a client to sign on the dotted line by inertia, rather than rational thought.

A variation of the presumptive close is inertia selling, like credit card continuous debit authorities, the automatic renewal of motor insurance, (“for your convenience”), cable television and mobile phones. All of these transfer power to the supplier, enriching them at the expense of the client.

Financial advisers regularly do the same thing and these closure techniques are infamously taught to all neophyte advisers at all levels of the industry. One of the more extreme versions goes like this;

Adviser to prospective client,

“We will meet on the 5th November; I will deliver all my recommendations about your pension transfer at that meeting and I will expect you to sign the fee agreement and transfer documents, so I can complete this in one visit.”

(To give you an idea of scale, this represents a £12,000 fee for a £400,000 pension transfer).

No thinking time for the client; no explicit opportunity to ask questions, explore alternatives or be treated as an adult. This is not a “professional service”, this is more like buying a pizza, (other than the price tag).

As advisers, who take the matter seriously, we do not work like that; we will do the analysis, prepare the report, make a recommendation and earn our fixed fee. In the case of the transaction above, £1,700, for the report and the discussion. Our fee is earned, whether you ultimately transfer or not, so there is no pressure to follow any particular course of action and you are encouraged to explore the wider implications of the report. You are paying for our time and skill, on a professional basis; not feeding the ego of the adviser, paying what the market will stand or some form of pseudo-commission.

Think how your adviser treats you, are you someone to be “sold” to or someone who has come in with a particular set of questions, concerns, challenges and problems? How do you want to be treated, like a blank cheque or someone, who with some coaching, knowledge development and empowerment, can balance the factors needed to make a good decision? You need professional advice to explore the nuances of the situation, where things can be shades of grey, not “this is my answer, do it and pay me now!”  If our approach seems fair to you, then work with us.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you plan and realise your financial goals then contact us at info@martin-redmanpartners.co.uk or call us on 01223 792 196.

The information contained is for guidance only and does not constitute financial advice. It is based on our understanding of UK legislation, whether proposed or in force, and market practice at the time of writing. Levels, bases and reliefs from taxation may be subject to change. Accordingly no responsibility can be assumed by Martin-Redman Partners its officers or employees, for any loss in connection with the content hereof and any such action or inaction.