Give Your Client a Disability KISS
(Keep it Short and Simple)

Use this One Stat and One Story

March 1, 2022 | Written by Samuel Newland CFP

If you have read a lot of our articles, you would have seen a lot of strategies. At the end of the day, there is not only one lever to pull when talking to your client about disability. You may want to talk about it in a certain way because of your relationship with the client – friendly and casual vs strictly professional. Perhaps you want to talk about it in a certain way because it makes more sense and seems more authentic to you. It is important that we bring up a lot of different options to see what resonates with you and your clients.

All of these tactics should incorporate a few elements to be persuasive, however:

1. Not Too Many Numbers and Statistics

Essentially, use one or two stats just s o that the client knows that disability is common and that there is a logical and legitimate rationale behind paying money for a disability policy.

2. Use Fear of Loss

Losing money tends to hurt far more than the prospect of gaining the same amount of money. In Daniel Pink’s Master Class, he teaches 9 different frames of persuasion. The first one he teaches is the Loss Aversion frame. With insurance, protection against loss is inherent in the conversation and probably the most effective Finish with framework.

3. Finish with an Anecdote

Cliches are cliches for a reason. Data telling and stories sell. The most effective
stories for your client are going to be: First, stories of people they know who
became disabled. Second, stories of people who like them (ie. same age,
occupation, etc.). Third, stories of people or clients you know became disabled.
And lastly, but still effective, a story you have read online. It is likely that you are
probably in the last category of online stories, but after this article you may be in
the third category.

The best client conversations are going to accomplish these three components concisely keeping it short and simple.

Keeping this simple framework in mind, I believe the combination of this specific statistic and story works better than any thing I have tried until now.

Here is how I have been accomplishing that with great success with my conversations lately:

Me: Would you be against briefly talking about disability insurance?

Client: Would you be against briefly talking about disability insurance?

Me: Great. Well, the reason I wanted to talk about it is because I think it is Most people think that life insurance is sufficient in protecting their family important to have. against losing everything. But the reality is that about 50% of people lose their homes in foreclosure due to disability and about 2% are caused by death. *

Client: Ohhh. Interesting. I Didn’t know that.

Me: Yes. And to make it a little more personal, I have a quick story. My father planned out his whole financial life since he went to a prestigious business school where he studied finance. He used that degree to land a middle-management job at Proctor & Gamble (P&G) earning good money for over 20 years which he used to buy a home, contribute to his 401k, and raise a family. He sent my two siblings and myself to expensive universities. And then he became disabled around my college graduation and has been disabled ever since for the last 9 years of which he was expecting to use to build up his retirement after paying for our schools.

All of this culminated in a comment you never want to hear your dad say while sitting with him on the piano bench in my grandpa’s house, “You know, the best thing that could happen for your mother financially is if I were to die in a plane crash right now (because then she would get 3x the death benefit from P&G).” And after that conversation, money and providing for my parent’s retirement has become a source of conflict and resentment amongst everyone in the family. My father planned everything financially except for becoming disabled. And that one mistake created a lot of conflict.

All of this is to say a few things. My dad – an educated office worker in perfect health until the source of the disability – is not the prototypical profile of someone who would become disabled. Nobody can predict who is going to be disabled.

Secondly, you might not need the disability policy now. Maybe not in 10 years. But you might need it in 20 years when your kids are older so that you don’t have to have an uncomfortable piano bench conversation and so that they do not have to quarrel about who needs to change their life to support their parents’ lifestyle or retirement.

Would it be a bad idea to look into disability policy as long as it fits your budget?

And that is it.

A few important notes to keep in mind:

On Style

You might be thinking, “For something promising to be short, this is a rather long story.” Well, yes. The story includes a lot of details for dramatic effect for those who are more inclined to that. If you prefer a more bare-bones approach, strip out the fat and keep what you believe are the essential details. In short, it is a story of an American family with a white-picket fence and the American dream that is undone solely due to a father’s disability.

Stick to this Stat:

    • There are a lot of disability stats out there such as odds of disability before retirement (>25% according to the SSA), the average length if disabled (a long time), and annual bankruptcies from unexpected accidents and illnesses (a lot; more than 350k/year). Ignore them all. Using too many stats is bad. Less is more.
    • This stat is the best for two reasons. First, it is incredibly simple. 50%. 1-in-2. Obviously, there is not another reason that causes people to lose their homes more than disabilities. And secondly, people are more emotionally tied to their home and home ownership than anything else. A home is integral to the American success story, and you do not even need to say that someone lost its core and will everything when they lost their home. They already know it at have a greater emotional understanding of the seriousness of disability without insurance.

As indicated earlier, you can use this story simply by saying, “My disability specialist became passionate about disability because this happened to him.” Saying this will have a more powerful effect on helping your client choose to investigate and purchase a disability policy than speaking about a theoretical individual that became disabled . This is because they have an emotional connection to you and the people you know. Hopefully, this one stat and one story helps protect the lives of your clients and those who depend on them better than if you had never come across this post.

* Health Affairs, the Policy Journal of the Health Sphere, 2 February 2005

To read more about how to improve Disability Conversations click here.

We can provide help for free in 2 ways:

  • Have any specific questions about the concepts or ideas in this article series or do not think it would be a bad idea to learn more about how to have better conversations
  • Or how we can help your clients with acquiring the best life and disability policies for them

Do not hesitate to book a free consultation here.