How to have difficult life insurance conversations with your clients

As a financial planner or insurance sales executive, your job is the tell people that bad things can and will happen to them. It’s not pretty, or comfortable, to sit across from a client and talk about their inevitable death, or grave injury, or business collapse, or other devastating events. Although you are ultimately offering them a way to make those things easier – with the right insurance, wills and estate planning – most people still don’t like to think about those things. That may explain why research by the company Everplans shows that while 69 percent of respondents have considered creating a will, only 34 percent have actually done it!

It is important to know that you aren’t alone in your discomfort in the gloom-and-doom topics that are the backbone of your business; however, starting a comfortable conversation with the client is key to capture the potential opportunity. Here are some ways to approach it.

Talk about their legacy

In the musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, as the former U.S. Treasury Secretary and titular character, muses: “What is a legacy? It’s planting trees in a garden you’ll never get to see. I wrote some notes at the beginning of a song someone will sing for me.” Everyone wonders about the world that they will leave behind, and wants to know that they will have made a positive impact.

Frame the conversation by asking, “have you thought about the legacy your children, grandchildren, or community will have from you, when you are gone?” This way you can easily persuade the client to think about the estate planning and wills. In the same manner, financial planners can start talking about the financial security of the client’s future generations in case of challenging financial situations – that will naturally lead to the types of insurance the client needs.

Suggest they protect their wealth – even they aren’t wealthy

Americans like to think of themselves as being on the brink of their big break. Talk to them about protecting their wealth and assets, even if the only “wealth” they have is a savings account. Ask them, “as per your financial condition, it is possible that you will leave a substantial amount of assets when you pass away. What would you like to see happen with these assets?”

This makes people to start talking about their families, as every family member will have different goals and lifestyles. As a breadwinner, your client might have different plans for everyone in the family, as per their wishes. This conversation will be an awakening call to some to protect their loved one’s future, while making the conversation about their assets rather than about their mortality.

 Multi-task by combining the topics of wills, trusts, estates, and insurance.

Rather than having a separate conversation about insurance, then wills, then trusts and estates, do some multi-tasking by addressing all at once. It might seem as though the conversation would be overwhelming, but the opposite is true – by presenting all the tools at once as a solution, it will be a relief to the client to only have to have one conversation to address all their concerns, rather than feeling as though they’ve finished and only to have their agent pivot to another separate topic. It will also be a benefit to you and the client that you offer all these products yourself! Start by asking about their plans to safeguard the future of their family members and assets when they are not present –this way it implies to both wills, estate planning and life insurance.

According to LIMRA study, half of the households with children under the age of 18 would have immediate financial trouble paying for their everyday living expenditures, if the primary breadwinner passed away. As per the same study 8 out of 10 households don’t have a life insurance agent or broker. Remember, you aren’t only presenting scary hypotheticals, you’re also offering a solution.

The potential for growth opportunities for financial planners are enormous, as demonstrated by research that shows the need for wills and estate planning. By becoming comfortable with difficult topics, and making your clients comfortable as well, you can help them find some peace of mind.

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