Q. I know an effective face-to face presentation is a critical part of the LTCI sale. I’m having trouble making the transition to closing the client and having him admit he needs this protection. Do you have a technique that works well?
A. When I first started selling LTCI, that was the hardest part of the sales process for me, too. To overcome that hurdle, I started using the Three Bridges Close. To update this approach, I turned to Dawn Helwig, consulting actuary and principal of Milliman Consulting, who used recent statistics to compare the probabilities over one’s lifetime of having your house burn down, being in a major car accident and needing long term care.
I start the Three Bridges Close after I have used a structured presentation, at which point I’m ready to discuss the financial risks clients face. Start by saying, “Most people face three significant risks to their financial security. These risks could mean an extremely large out-of-pocket expense. What are they?” (For a sample illustration of the Three Bridges artwork and the sources for the statistics used, please visit www.hbltci.com.)
Draw a representation of the client’s street and then draw three bridges on it.
“Bridges are made to be safe and secure, but if any of these bridges collapses, it could mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket. What are these bridges? The first bridge has to do with your home.” Write ?Home’ over the top of the bridge. “You have lived here for how many years?” Client gives a number. “OK, so that means you have had homeowners insurance for XX years. What you have done is created a safety net.” Draw the safety net. “What are the chances of this bridge collapsing to the tune of thousands of dollars (i.e., your house burning down)? Chances are 7 percent over your lifetime, assuming you own a home for 50 years.” Write 7 percent over the bridge. “But you don’t have to worry about this risk, because you have homeowners insurance.” Draw an arrow between the road and safety net. “Are you going to drop your homeowners insurance? The answer is no.”