Insurance sales: personal stories and examples

By Dan Vinal

WebPrez Insurance & Annuity Videos

​Personal examples help your prospects understand the need

I think most insurance agents and financial advisers spend too much time and effort illustrating projections, and explaining policy features. Because that's not what really sells.

The most compelling reason for buying insurance coverage is neither the features nor the provisions of the coverage. The reason most people buy insurance of any kind, is to prevent a bad event — like a traffic accident or a heart attack — from becoming a worse event — like losing their income or their assets.

People buy insurance to protect their financial security from the cost of bad events. That's why it's so important (critically important) to sell the need or sell the potential pain of financial loss and the practical consequences of that loss. And one of the best ways to do that is with stories that provide examples of such losses, and the consequences of those loses — with or without insurance coverage.

Every journalist knows that people are engaged and intrigued by stories, even short stories or anecdotes. They are especially engaged by human interest stories, because people relate to stories about other people — especially those in similar situations to themselves.

It's been proven that people read or listen to a well told story much more carefully than they do to any other form of information. More importantly, people learn better when told a story in the form of an example.

That's why stories can be one of your most effective selling techniques. And why sharing personal examples with your clients and prospects is one of the best ways to establish your sincerity and credibility, while influencing their decision to buy.

Here are a few of the stories I have personally used:

My son-in-law (the eldest of four children) lost his father to ALS when he was 14, and helped his mother raise three younger siblings — without life insurance.

One of my high school buddies died of cancer when we were only 31 — leaving a young widow and two very young children — but with enough life insurance to pay off their home and leave them without any debts.

I once had a business partner who collapsed from a massive heart attack during his regular morning jog — before he had completed the medical exam for key man insurance. It cost our company over a million dollars, and ultimately resulted in bankruptcy and dissolution.

Another high school friend was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his early forties, but without disability insurance. He struggled for as long as he could, but ultimately he could no longer work — first as a restauranteur, then as a realtor and finally as a mortgage broker. And because his illness got progressivley worse, even when he was working, he couldn't earn enough to raise three children, even with his wife's income as the office manager for a law firm.

One of my best childhood friends was a manic depressive (and off his medications) when he jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge, when he was only 35. He left one child and a pregnant wife — again, without life insurance.

Of course, these are only a few abbreviated examples of my own stories — but do you see how they were of interest to you, and got you thinking of your own experiences? That's the power of examples in the form of story telling.

Some of the most successful insurance sales professionals use this technique with every client or prospect because it's honest, it's engaging, it's compelling and it works.