As brokers and financial advisors, you understand that discussing life insurance policies and estate planning with clients is a sensitive undertaking.
But, often, when you’re talking to people with disabilities and special needs and their caregivers about these same issues, you may be uncomfortable because you are unsure about how to interact with members of this community. Indeed, the need to create a mutual comfort level with people with disabilities and their caregivers when discussing their financial future is even more acute than is typically the case.
Why? Most of time it’s because you don’t want to appear rude or offend a person with a disability with your words or actions.
In fact, if you’re not aware of how to interact with this community, there is a risk of alienating the client as well as the members of their family who may be caregivers.
What’s key is showing genuine empathy and kindness toward the disability community. To ignore this approach is simply bad for business.
According to a survey that assessed people’s attitudes toward kindness in their daily lives and in the workplace, almost all Americans (98%) agree that it’s important for companies to treat their employees, customers and business partners with respect and kindness; and 95% believe that it’s important for companies to demonstrate kindness to all individuals, regardless of ability. And, in an especially relevant finding for brokers and financial advisors, 9 in 10 Americans also believe financial services firms should treat all Americans with respect and kindness.
Understanding the following simple guidelines about disability etiquette and people-first language will help you feel at ease when interacting with people with disabilities and special needs and their caregivers, while signaling that you are part of the community. In fact, the following simple guidelines can help you successfully launch your practice into a large and underserved market.
When speaking about someone who has a disability, consider whether the person’s disabilities are relevant for the conversation. Describe their achievements, abilities and individual qualities, including their role in the family or job, first.
When you’re meeting someone, treat people with disabilities as you would treat others — a hand shake, a hug, etc. When you want to have a conversation with a person with a disability, do not speak to caregivers, helpers or sign language interpreters. Speak directly to the person whom you want to talk to.