What's your story? Connect through storytelling, not statsBlog added by Rick Burns on August 27, 2014
R Burns

Rick Burns


Joined: January 10, 2014

My Company

“Arlene and her husband own a little mom-and-pop store right up the street. They're the nicest, hardest-working folks you’ve ever met. About a year ago, after a routine check-up and then some not-so-routine testing, Arlene was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her family was devastated and braced themselves for the worst — skyrocketing rates, out-of-pocket expenses, unsatisfactory care. They had a great coverage package though. Her premiums stayed low, and chemo costs were covered. She received the best care the state has to offer, and I just got a call last week from Arlene’s husband, letting me know she is officially in remission.”

Stories work. Risk analysis, not so much.

Council for Disability Awareness (CDA) President Carol Hartnett indicated that all too often, insurance agents approach selling from a standpoint of dollars and cents. They’re going about it all wrong. In order to leave a lasting impact on your client, you’ve got to be relatable, and the way to do that is through stories — concrete, real-life examples of specific people or families who have benefited from securing coverage. Put yourself in the client’s shoes; wouldn’t you rather hear a story like Arlene’s than a laundry list of statistics and percentages with no context?

For example, according to the CDA's survey findings from its Disability Awareness and Long Term Disability Claims Review, in 2013, claim payments totaled $9.8 billion, approximately 2 percent more than in the previous year. In addition, more employers made long-term disability insurance benefits available to their workers, up from 2012 after a sharp decline from 2009 through 2011.

That’s a mouthful.

For some insurance agents, this is considered worthy information to pass on to clients, in that it suggests that more people are getting disability coverage. But according to Hartnett, numbers like these will likely ring hollow for consumers.

“We now have to understand how to have a conversation and use examples meaningful to their lives, not our lives,” Harnett states.

See also: The power of storytelling separates top producers from the pack

Begin to think of selling opportunities less like sales pitches and more like conversations. Ask questions, listen closely and relay testimonials. That may mean bringing up tough, real-life scenarios:
    “What would it mean for your daughter if you could no longer pay her college tuition?”
    “Could you maintain your current lifestyle if you became solely dependent on your spouse’s income?”
These questions help clients clarify what kind of coverage they truly desire.

Start collecting stories, whether they are personal, a colleague's or a family member's. Share them often. Everyone’s got a story — what’s yours?
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