The worksite disability income insurance sale can bring together 2 highly charged (and sometimes emotional) issues: personal finances and the potential of losing the ability to “bring home the bacon.”
To make the sale even more difficult, not all career professional groups regard the employee benefits enrollment process similarly. Some, the “Nervous Nellies,” choke at the thought of reviewing their benefits package and financial security, while the “Cool Cucumbers” think they have it all figured out. Anticipating and understanding the potential emotional responses can help in crafting an approach that relaxes Nervous Nellies and creates a sense of urgency among Cool Cucumbers–all without triggering a communications breakdown.
According to the 2006 MassMutual Benefits Barometer Survey: Disability Perceptions, conducted by Harris Interactive, career professionals have a range of emotional responses and anxiety levels when faced with the prospect of being disabled and unable to work.
While it wasn’t surprising to see that many people accept the possibility, many still reject the probability of being disabled. According to the results from more than 1,000 career professionals in the accounting, legal, advertising and engineering fields, there is a measurable range of the perceptions, potential reactions and common reasons for not purchasing disability income insurance. The end result was spread across an emotional scale that factors in degrees of anxiety and emotional response.
As you approach the worksite sale, understanding and preparation can go a long way.
In contrast to other respondents, advertising and marketing professionals were most anxious about their future financial situation and the prospect of being disabled. Tagged as Nervous Nellies, 66% of this group report they would feel a lack of financial security, while 26% indicated they would be unprepared emotionally if they suffered a disability, and 41% would be worried that they would never be able to work again.
Engineers and accountants earned the Cool Cucumber designation and are positioned on the opposite side of the scale. Only 35% of engineers report they would feel a lack of financial security, and just 27% of accountants worried that they would never be able to work again. In fact, engineers were the most likely of the professions to own supplemental or individual disability income insurance and were optimistic about recovering and getting back to work.
Sandwiched between these groups are attorneys and executives in professional services, including information technology and financial services. Attorneys are described as “On The Fence.” On the one hand, they intend to get well and return to work (82%), while on the other hand, many also say they would have anxiety toward their future financial situations (70%) and would feel like a burden to their families (44%). Joining this group in the neutral area, and best described as “Grounded,” are executives in professional services. This group’s responses were neither overly anxious nor optimistic, as compared to other professionals.
Financial resources seemed to be the biggest factor in determining optimism along the emotional scale. For example, when examining the Nervous Nellies in advertising/marketing, it found their anxiety grounded in a lack of financial resources and stability. This group was least likely to say they would rely on stocks, bonds or mutual fund investments (44%) or a home equity loan (40%). On the other hand, the less-stressed-out attorneys had a large variety of resources from stocks and investments (63%) to home equity loans (61%).
Most career professionals said they recognize the extra sense of financial security that supplemental or individual disability income insurance offers, but many don’t currently have it or plan to get it because they think their odds of needing it are small. At the same time, a clear disconnect was revealed about what motivated professionals who already have the coverage and what might motivate those who don’t.
To help people make the connection, consider the role emotions can play. The MassMutual survey suggests that people rationalize buying decisions based on facts, but make buying decisions based on emotions and feelings. It’s vital to let your clients know you’re interested in discussing their needs, and how you present your pitch should take into account how they make their emotional decisions.