This month, I’ve been thinking a lot about the phrase “contempt prior to investigation.”
This phrase is attributed to William Paley, a British Christian apologist and philosopher, who used it in “A View of the Evidences of Christianity” in 1794. In the Rev. William H. Poole’s 1879 publication of “Anglo-Israel or, The British Nation: The Lost Tribes of Israel” Paley was later quoted as saying, “Here is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination.”
You see contempt prior to investigation (or examination) all the time in the objections you hear from clients and prospects. Sight unseen, they assume that whatever you’re trying to sell them – disability income insurance, long term care insurance, critical illness insurance – is just a scam, something they don’t need, or something they can’t afford. They base their opinion of your products and services on secondhand tales passed around by friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Somebody knows somebody who was bilked by an unethical annuity agent, and all of a sudden annuities are God’s punishment to investors. And so on.
Now, did you realize that you may be committing the same offense as an insurance advisor?
Of course there are certain markets you tend to specialize in. But there may also be markets that you shun just because you think they don’t live up to the essence of your profession. It’s not that you simply choose not to specialize in these fields. Rather, you avoid them like the plague.
Take, for example, life settlements.