One of the biggest struggles any Final Expense Superstar suffers with is resolving doubts and overcoming objections. Coincidentally, one of the biggest mistakes a new final expense agent commits is quitting too soon and failing to overcome the objections. In the doubt resolution section, you can learn everything you need to say and do in order to overcome those nasty objections.
These scripts are only a starting point. As you master them they will become a part of you. As they become a part of you, adjust them a little so they are more comfortable.
“I already have a burial plan.”
“I already have a prepaid funeral plan.”
“I already have a $10,000 insurance policy.”
When somebody gives you this doubt, you have two options: 1) add additional coverage and/or 2) replace outdated and inferior coverage. Before you can do either of these two things, you must find out what they have.
Jeff Copper is very bold in his approach to this information and to be honest…it is a little outside my comfort zone. He simply asks “What kind and how much do you have?” I prefer to use a much softer approach. I begin with asking, “Did you decide to do the plan through a funeral home or an insurance policy?” If they say a funeral home, I know to focus on adding additional coverage. If they say insurance policy, I know to find out more about the policy to see if it is replaceable or if I need to focus on adding coverage. If it is in the best interest of the client (term policy, waiting periods, etc.,) don’t be afraid to replace the thing. You are doing them a favor.
All of the above doubts are basically the same. The client is basically saying, "I don’t see the need for this policy if I already have something in place." You have your work cut out for you on this doubt but it is easier to overcome than you think.
The first thing you have to do is help them recognize the need to add additional coverage or replace the policy. In order to do that, you yourself have to recognize the need.
One of the BIGGEST mistakes new sales people make is thinking that just because somebody has $10,000 coverage, they don’t need any more. This is incorrect. If you don’t see the need for an additional policy, then it is going to be awfully difficult to transfer your incredulous desire for additional coverage to them. Fact—95% of the time there is a need for additional coverage. If you can't get them to recognize the need, you are wasting your breath and the sale WILL NOT be made.
So before I go any further, let me show you why it is important to have an additional policy designed specifically for final expenses. Here are the four reasons…
1) Estate planning
2) Cleanup funds
3) Bill paying
4) Income replacement
Estate planning is the accumulation and depositing of one’s estate (total assets) to its beneficiaries in order to maximize the goals of the estate owner. Basically it is the effort to pass on as much $$$ as possible to the surviving family and heirs.
There are two main reasons this is costly—taxes and lawyer fees. Any time you throw these two things into the mix, things get costly. Fees total anywhere from $300 for a basic will plan to $100,000's for complex estates.
Taxes vary greatly. They depend on a lot of different factors that you most likely don’t know about when you are talking to somebody about final expenses. Try not to get too involved in this subject, but do remind them that many people buy these policies to simply to pay the taxes on their estate. Also, because it is a life insurance policy, it passes on to the beneficiary tax-free, estate-free, and lawyer-free.
Cleanup funds are basically all the little miscellaneous “things” that need to get paid for after somebody dies. For example, Jim died last night and all of his children live in Wisconsin. All the children want to travel to San Bernardino, CA to help make arrangements. The average plane ticket costs $400 round trip, and there are 5 children. That means that 5 families will be taking time off of work for a funeral, and they all have hundreds of dollars in travel costs. Somebody has to pay for that.
Another example would be the costs of having somebody come into the home to help pack up belongings and move them to the homes of the heirs.
This is pretty self-explanatory. THERE WILL BE BILLS AND LOTS OF THEM. Don’t let anyone tell you there will not be any. When somebody dies in the middle of the month, there are electric, gas, cable, and water bills that will have to be paid. If there are some credit card bills and a surviving spouse on the account, those will have to be paid as well. If somebody has several medical and medication bills that have stacked up, those will have to be paid. If somebody has to go to a nursing home or receives in home health care, that is very expensive. Some homes cost as much as $4000 a month!
Many people live in a fantasy world and think there will be no bills upon death. Others live very frugally and don’t have any bills at present, but unfortunately we never know what will happen. Nobody can ever say, “I am positive that there will be no bills at time of death.” Educate them and let them know the truth.
When a spouse dies, usually (not always) there is a loss of income. Most of our customers live solely on social security, meaning there will invariably be a loss of income. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse will begin to receive the larger of the two social security checks.
Unfortunately, the cost of living in the home, with one surviving spouse compared to two spouses, stays about the same. Heating, cooling, electricity, gas, and water costs all stay the same. Taxes don’t change and neither do rent or mortgage payments. Most of the expenses stay the same, but when somebody dies the survivor has half as much income. This is a problem. If they can have a little policy for $5,000 or $7,000 to help them make it to the next step in life, they will be much, much, much better off.
Now to sum all of this up...If one, or all, of those examples doesn't make you a believer in adding additional coverage, I don’t know what will. If one, or all, of these examples doesn’t convince your prospect that additional coverage would benefit them tremendously, then give them this one last shot...
In the last 10 years final expenses have gone from $4782 to $7755 (excluding lot, headstone, obituary, and flowers). That is about a 5% increase per year. We have to assume that they will continue to go up just as they have in the past. If they cost $7,000 to $10,000 today, imagine what they will be 20 years down the road. Suggest adding additional coverage to lock in the low age rate and plan ahead.
“I can’t afford it right now.”
They should be saying, “I don’t want to afford it right now, because my cigarettes are more important than my family.” Truth is, people afford what they want to afford. If somebody wants something bad enough, they will find a way to have it. Regardless of the excuse they give you, you have to find a way to create value and make it affordable.
Once again, when we hear this doubt, we are trying to figure out if it is legitimate or simply a stall. I always look at my surroundings. If they have a big screen TV and a brand new Toyota Tacoma in the drive way, I know they are full of crap. If they are living in a single wide with a 1970’s bicycle on the porch…I know it may have some truth to it.
Sometimes it is hard to push a prospect who appears poor to go with a plan, but let's be realistic. If they can't afford a $50 premium payment, how in the world will they afford a $7,000 bill? THEY CAN'T! So you truly are helping them by figuring out a way to make the plan affordable.
Whenever I run into somebody who is legitimately poor, I really push the start low and add in the future or the something is better than nothing concept. It is often the only way they will ever get coverage.
Here is what I say:
“I completely understand ma'am. In these uncertain times it is often scary to make a new commitment, but if a $50 is difficult…image a $7,000 bill. Can I make a suggestion? It's OK to start out with something small like $2,000 or $3,000 and then every couple of years, add to it. We will still get you to that $7,000 but we will do it in smaller steps. That way it is a lot easier on the budget. Truth is... it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is where you are when you pass away and the kids have to write the check to pay the bill.”
“I thought somebody would just mail it.”
“I didn’t want anyone to stop by.”
These individuals are sales adverse people who don’t like high pitched sales calls because they usually end up buying the product. When you are talking to somebody like this, be genuine. Don’t use techniques, and be the furthest thing from a stereotypical salesman as possible.
Here is what I say:
“We don’t mail any information because we have to see which programs you qualify for. I'm what they call the field underwriter. That the person who pre-screens and explains how the program works. I can skip all the extras and I'll make it 5-6 minutes.”
At this point most people will ask you for an appointment. If they simply won't let you in the door at that time, set the appointment if it is convenient for you and you think the prospect really is interested.
“I don’t want to give out my bank information.”
“I don’t want to do it through the bank.”
Our market is progressively becoming more educated about the idea of automatic withdrawal. Still, it amazes me the number of people who have had ‘the bank screw up’ the prospect’s account. Funny, I have never been ‘burned’ or had the 'bank screw up' something that couldn't be fixed, and all of my bills are set up through auto-withdrawal. Anyway, this doubt is pretty simple to get over if you have some rapport with the prospect and they trust you.
First of all, why do we prefer to use the Pre-Authorized Payment plan (P.A.P.) and not direct billing? Simple, it is better business and more people stay on the book by using it. Fact—55% of those that use direct billing will lapse in the first year!
This happens for a number of reasons, but it usually falls into 1) they forget to send it in or, 2) they simply choose to spend their premium payment on something else (i.e. cigarettes, bills, play, etc.)
Needless to say it is worth it to practice this doubt resolution to help prevent potential lost business from direct billing.
Here is the sequence of questions I ask to help ease in the idea of setting it up through the bank. After obtaining all necessary information for the application, including the height, weight, and social security number, I say this:
Do you folks have a checking or saving account?
Who do you bank with?
What they will is set this up through your checking/savings account so that the bank sends it in for you on which ever day of the month you choose. Most people choose the 5th because social security comes in on the 3rd. Is the 5th okay or do you prefer a different day?
This is the best way I have found to lead into the banking section of the presentation. It is super suave, conversational, and with practice...works well. Wouldn't it be nice if it was always that easy? Here are a few things you can say to help overcome the doubt if necessary:
Prospect: We don’t want to set it up through the bank.
Me: There are a couple of reasons why we like to set it up through the bank. First, it is easier to make the payment. That way you don’t have to remember to send in a check every month. In our experience, most of the people who do direct billing lapse in the first year for whatever reason.
Doing it this way just makes sure that doesn’t happen. You remember everything now but in 10 years that might be the case. Some people have this plan for 10 years and they start to forget their payments and they lapse. XYZ Company will certainly mail letters to try and remind them to send in a payment but some people still don’t remember.
We can avoid that by doing it through the bank. You are still in complete control. They take out the same amount every month and it never changes so there aren’t any surprises. In all of my time with XYZ Company, I have never had a one single problem with the auto payment. In fact, most skeptical people who try it end up loving it. If you try it and you still hate it...contact me and we can take you off the bank plan and send the direct bills.”
Prospect: Okay, well I guess I can try it.
All of these things are true. Our reason for the PAP payment is because it is better business, but the prospect doesn’t care about that. They care about their cash value and having the policy in place. Make sure when you present this, you focus on the benefits for them.
“I don’t want to give out my social security number.”
“That’s ok. We actually don’t require it. It just makes it easier for the death claim when the time comes. Some individuals have very common names such as ‘John Smith’ and if we have the social security number it makes it easier to look that person up on our data base, but like I said… it isn’t required.”
“I want to talk to my kids, spouse, etc.”
Whenever I get this doubt I think to myself, "is this a legitimate concern, or is this person just trying to get rid of me because they don’t have the guts to tell me no?" The best way to solve this stall is to eliminate it from the beginning. Try and make sure that you give the sales presentation to all decision makers. If there are two names on the card…make sure they are both there. If the wife is home but the spouse is at work…come back when they are both home. If it is a little old lady who looks like she doesn’t make important decisions on her own…ask, “Do you make all the decisions on your own or is there a son or daughter that should be here too?”
Sometimes it is impossible to get all parties there at the same time. For example, Mr. Jones works from 7am-3pm and Mrs. Jones works from 3pm-11pm. In a situation like this you should present and sell to the prospect that is present. Try and complete an application on the person present and worry about getting to the missing party later.
If your prospect still claims they need to speak with somebody, you are left with no other solution than to use the 30-day close. Here is what to say:
Here is how we can handle that. What we have is a 30-day right to examine the policy. That means you have 30-days from the day you get the policy in the mail to review it and talk about it with your spouse/daughter/son, etc.
If you/they decide you don't want the policy during those 30-days, all you have to do is sent it back or call and cancel to receive a full refund or your initial premium. That will give you the policy to read over and review with your spouse/daughter/son, etc. You will be covered in the meantime and should your health change or something happen, at least you were covered while you were talking to them.
Hand me that card and I can get most of your information off of that.
“I want to speak to my 'financial adviser'.”
Unless they are obviously wealthy, call their bluff. Ask who their financial planner is, and see what they say. Often their 'financial planner' is their 30 year old son who still lives at home and has read a book by Suzy Orman or Robert Kiyosaki. This hardly makes them a financial adviser.
Remind them that you are a licensed professional, and if their overweight son wants to have a grownup conversation about final expenses then you are more than happy to oblige him. At that point ask them to call the “financial adviser” and set up an appointment. (Not really)
The problem is, whether you consider him a true financial adviser or not...it doesn’t matter. It only matters what they think. You can, however, completely avoid this doubt by being confident in the way you present yourself. Be presidential. You will only get this doubt if they think you don’t know what you are talking about, and they don’t trust you.
“I think I'll just save the money in the bank.”
Let's be honest here, yes they could technically save the $10,000 for a funeral in the bank between now and 15 years when they think they will pass away, but who are they kidding? They won't save the money. They are 70 years old and haven’t planned enough to even have life insurance for burial costs. What makes them think they have the self-discipline to put away $50 or $100 a month and not touch it for 15 years. NO WAY! Of course you can't say it to them just like that. We have to use some skill to break it to them softly.
Here is what you can say:
“The problem is we don't how long you are going to live? If you start to save money today and put $50 in the bank every month for the next five years and you pass away … then you only have $3,000. With this plan, even if you only live one year and pass away, you will still have the full $10,000 even though you haven’t put in the full amount. “
As you can see, the actual response is much softer. It prevents an argument but still gets the point across.
“I think I will just go down to the mortuary and prepay it.”
“I have to pay into it forever.”
We are in the business of words, and how you word something will greatly affect the mental picture a prospect has about what you are explaining. Here is how I explain this,
Prospect: “How long do I pay into this thing?”
(In an authoritative tone)
“In most cases you pay into it until you pass away. You have several options. Now if you pay into it for 7 or 8 years and you get a little tired of doing it every month, then you can always cash out the policy for the cash value. Now, please don’t think that for every dollar you put in they are going to give you one dollar of cash value. It doesn’t work that way and I am not going to lead you to believe that it does. But as you pay into it, they take a little bit of the payment after the first year and start to put it toward the cash value and you are always covered. Now, should you cash out on the policy…you won't have the coverage anymore which puts you in a situation. It is best to keep it up but you aren’t locked into some binding contract. “
Prospect: “Well how much cash value will I have in 8 years?”
“I am not sure. It differs with age, plan, and gender. There will be a cash value schedule when you get your policy in the mail."
You could also tell them the following:
You get to keep this plan until the day you need it. The company will never cancel it on you.
After you tell them all of that, continue on with the sale as if it isn’t a big deal. It is 100% truthful, and that is the only way we do business. It is also well transitioned and authoritative, therefore; the prospect will put trust in what you say and be appreciative for the upfront explanation.
“I want you to call and make an appointment.”
“I am really busy, can you call for an appointment?”
If you hear the TV in the background and they are still in their PJ’s chances are they aren’t that busy. Try to get in the door the best you can, because many times they say, “set an appointment,” just to get rid of you until they can think of a better excuse for the next time they see you.
Try saying this:
“Ma'am, I can skip all the extras and make it real fast. I have a lot of people to visit today so I don’t have much time anyways.”
If after that they still want you to set an appointment, try to set something up for later on that evening. This is how you fill up your evenings for the winter daylight issue. If they still won't meet with you, set it for the next day. This is what the dialog should sound like:
Prospect: “I’m sorry I really can’t do it right now, I don’t even have 2 minutes.”
Me: “Ok how about later this evening after 6PM?”
Prospect: “No, that won't work either. I have church meeting tonight, and I really just can't do it today.”
Me: “I will be around most of tomorrow too; would that work out better for you?”
Prospect: “Yes that should be fine.”
If they still won't set an appointment with you right then for later on that week, chances are they are not somebody you want to waste time with. In my experience, most individuals who insist on a phone call to set an appointment, even when you are already standing right there, don’t buy. Most times, you will call them and they will say something like, “I talked to my husband and he doesn’t want it.” With experience you will get better at recognizing these types of prospects.
“I already have money in the bank.”
Me: “Cash is your number one option, but what do you do if it isn’t there. Savings can get eaten up due to things that are outside your control. For example, somebody goes to a nursing home, the hospital or they have a lot of medical bills…a cash savings can get eaten up very quickly and what is the plan “B”? That is where this program comes in. That way if something happens and you don’t have the cash, the family is still glad they had this to help pay on the expenses.”
Some people understand this and others don’t. If somebody tells you, “that will never happen to me,” they living in 'La-La land.' It can happen to anybody and it does all the time. Also, don’t forget to mention the estate planning, cleanup funds, and bill paying. All that can eat up savings quickly as well.
What do you say when somebody asks “who is it?” through the door and won't open it?
When somebody asks that through the door, they aren’t really asking, "Who is it?" They are actually asking if you are you a serial killer or a door-to-door salesman. They don’t open the door because they don’t want to talk either of those people.
This is what you say, “I am looking for Gladys Jones.” THAT’S IT! Don’t say another word and 90% of the time they will open the door and talk to you, because they will know that you are neither a killer nor a door-to-door salesman.