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Build trust to enable difficult conversations to happen

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Clients are rarely overly excited by the idea of discussing their own mortality, and no one wants to spend money on insurance. This makes it difficult to discuss the topic. Great advisors learn to build their clients’ trust so that they are open to having these difficult conversations with us and they have confidence in our recommendations.

The best way to build this trust is simply to listen to your clients. I always ask the leading question, “What has to happen for you to feel really happy with your life?” Clients’ responses sometimes veer above and beyond their financial goals, and that’s okay. Trying your best to understand a client’s concerns, needs and hopes can open the door to a conversation about the harder subjects, such as being around to see their children’s milestones.

About a year ago, I received an email from a former client who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. He wanted to thank me for advising him to buy disability insurance many years ago and for convincing him to keep the coverage a few years down the road. That insurance helped support his family throughout his illness. His widow just wrote “He left the girls (aged 21 and 18) and I well taken care of because of you. The insurance, investments/savings. Thank you. Who knew this would happen!”  

Stories like these are, unfortunately, common in our industry, and I am so happy that he had a plan in place to care for his family in the wake of an unforeseen challenge. No one wants to believe that they will ever have a need for life insurance or disability insurance, but the unexpected does happen. By starting the advisor/client relationship with a discussion of overall goals, you set the stage for a holistic approach that carries you through the tough conversations, and clients will choose to protect the ones they love with insurance.

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