Selling preneed insurance is not just a logical decision, it’s an emotional one. Channel your client’s emotions to assist your agenda.
As preneed insurance agents, we all know that getting clients to plan for their death can be an emotional experience. I’ve personally trained new preneed insurance agents who cringe at the thought of a client’s tears or anxieties as part of a discussion about insurance. This attitude will get you nowhere. Shrinking away from your clients’ vulnerabilities will only make them feel more vulnerable, and if you don’t validate those feelings, you may find clients avoiding your phone calls and ignoring your emails. Embrace your clients’ emotions by reacting in these tried-and-tested ways:
- Always bring tissues. This may seem ridiculous and superficial, but just being prepared for your clients’ emotions will show them that they are not the only ones who are uncomfortable thinking about death. Handing your client a tissue is an act of support, of solidarity, enabling them to clean themselves up and gain control again.
- Match personal for personal. Your client may become emotional when sharing their fears or uncertainties about the future. Matching that personal emotion with a personal story of your own may help to diffuse the situation while still validating your client’s raw emotions. Sharing personal stories will help you bond with the client, and as we all know, insurance sales are based on trust. Showing your client that you, too, have emotions related to the death of loved ones or your own death will connect you with them. Then, when you explain why you chose to purchase preneed insurance to help allay these fears, they will connect with your decision and choose to follow your example.
- Learn the terminology. No one expects you to be a therapist, but understanding some of the appropriate responses used to validate the emotional client in front of you may help you to navigate the uncomfortable waters that you find yourself in. Even easy phrases like, “That’s understandable,” and, “I know what you’re feeling,” may help you be less of a stuttering, stumbling observer and more of an orchestrator in the conversation.
- Fear is your friend. Okay, we’ve already established that preneed insurance is sold based on trust, but without a healthy amount of fear, no one would buy insurance at all. I have a handful of true stories of friends and clients’ friends who went without preneed insurance and had horrible experiences trying to pay for the funeral services of a loved one. I use these stories to emphasize the true cost of being unprepared, and stress heavily what a burden this unpreparedness was on family members of the deceased. These true experiences demonstrate why preneed insurance can relieve anxieties and fear of the future. You cannot dissipate the fear of dying for your client, but you can reduce the fear of being burdensome. Most people fear becoming a burden on others, especially at a time when loved ones should be steeped in memory and mourning, not bills and blame.