Do I have to take it now or can I think about it?
A mortgage broker asked me yesterday if I had any ideas on how to deal with this objection when the client is considering life assurance.
My considered and experience answer would be…it's too late to deal with this.
Don’t start using 1990’s style objection handling techniques, such as “accidents can happen anytime” or “may I ask what it is you want to think about” or “it’ll only take me 5 minutes to get the paperwork done now.”
You could use those; chances are you’d get short shrift, a healthy debate or possibly an argument as you try to twist their arm – that’s not going to build a long term client is it.
There are commonly known to be four issues that get in the way of a consumer buying life assurance. These are:
- Can’t afford it or won’t allocate income to pay for it.
- Don’t see the need
- Don’t trust you
- Don’t have the time to deal with it right now.
However, you cut it; these represent every push back that customers give you when you find yourself selling life assurance.
The secret is to deal with them during your sales meeting or intervention and earlier, the better. In a way, you are qualifying the customer early on, trial closing if you want to use that old phrase. You’re testing the water before they are asked to jump in the bath.
Now the phrase that started this article relates to number 2 on the list. Although the “I want to think about it” could easily be a stalling tactic. This is because one of the others bothered them, but they didn’t have the heart or courage to tell you face to face. After all, they’ve spent a long time with you, and you've probably arranged their mortgage and done a great job to boot.
If it’s number 2 – they don’t see the need, then you have to work on helping them see the need early on. There are all sorts of ideas to help you here. You could use life office stat sheets such as “25% of men won’t make it to age 65” or 1 in 4 women develop cancer before they retire”. These are useful.
You could use scare tactics such as asking them “what would happen if…die, get ill etc.”. The classic follow up could delve into how this might affect their lifestyle, their child’s education etc. These are ok but a little excessive in today’s world, but maybe right for the certain type of customer.
Lifeline works well here. I have plenty of articles on this topic but essentially a lifeline is a visual discussion tool allowing you and your customer 15 or so minutes discoursing their lives and how these will evolve in the future. You have three or four lines which extend into the future. Family, housing, career, hobbies are examples.
You simply ask questions of your customer to discover their views on their current situations under these headings and where they’ll change in the future. For example, under family, presently they might have two children under 5 and plan to have another in the near future. They’d like them to be healthy and looked after. Under housing, they may have their first home now but aim to buy a bigger property in the future to house their growing family.
The discussion is exactly that, a conversation, a friendly chat about their lives now and in the future.
Next, you can start exploring what might get in the way and show that protection is available to prevent this. Tailor the questions and find out how their future plans might be scuppered if anything could happen. Include:
- Fire and flood
- Accidental damage
- Interest rates rocket
- You die
- Your partner dies
- You both become seriously ill and can’t work
- Your parents become dependent on you
- You break your arm in an accident
- You lose your job
Keep it generic and include all the perils, then ask which are their priorities and get them to explain how these could be protected via insurance. Get the words from them, don’t use yours, you just ask questions. Find out how important it is, how much budget or income they might allocate to protect their plans, roughly at least – a ballpark figure.
Then look at the solutions, the life and protection plans, agreeing that these would protect their situation and plans around family, housing and hobbies.
That’s a win:win discussion. The selling is done during the factfinding. You are helping them, guiding them in their futures, and ultimately protecting what’s important to them.
Not shoving life assurance down their throat because they need it; after all, 25% of men won’t make it to retirement age and death of a breadwinner might mean your family will starve! Leave those tactics to the 1990’s.