The LIFE Foundation recently completed judging its 15th annual reaLIFEstories Client Service Awards. Every year, we receive hundreds of applications from agents who tell us amazing stories about how good insurance planning saved the day for their client. We also review thousands of LIFE Lessons scholarship applications from young people who lost an uninsured or underinsured parent or guardian, and now that young person is struggling to fund their academic dreams.

Sharing stories of the properly insured in stark juxtaposition to our stories of the uninsured or underinsured with your prospects and clients creates an emotional connection with your products. Through these stories, they begin to see your role as a service to them. This helps break down barriers so you can begin establishing a trusted relationship.

Another way to build trust is by providing your prospects and clients with information. Too often, insurance product materials are complex and full of financial terms that are difficult to understand. Point your clients to credible, unbiased resources that are free of industry jargon and they will gain clarity, which will make them more receptive to your guidance.

Finally, once you begin building that trust, you must nourish it regularly. Look for opportunities throughout the year to reach out to your clients. Get in touch with them to let them know you care and will be there for them when they need you. Your younger clients might enjoy humorous electronic greeting cards on their birthday – you can get these for free online. A client who has just had a new baby, or recently become a caregiver for a parent, may enjoy receiving an article that provides helpful financial planning guidance for their particular situations. It’s important to find ways to continuously reach out to your clients to earn their trust. Cultivate it regularly and watch them bloom into your greatest advocates among their family and friends.

Marvin H. Feldman is the president and chief executive officer of the LIFE Foundation. He can be reached at mfeldman@lifehappens.org.