What to Say in High-Pressure Sales Situations
For the last 18 months, I’ve volunteered with an organization called Homes for Our Troops, which builds specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans. I’d like to relate a story about the veteran that I’m working with since it may be helpful to some of our TABR clients.
The soldier lost both of his legs just months into his 2011 deployment in Afghanistan. He’s married with two kids, and I helped the family sort out their finances and prepare to move into the home that was provided by the charity. One of the recommendations that I made was for him and his wife to each buy $500,000 of low-cost term life insurance. Because they are relatively young, the insurance that I recommended would cost them each less than $50 per month.
When I called them to follow up last month, they told me that a local insurance agent had just taken a $300 deposit from them to see if they would qualify for something called Indexed Universal Life Insurance. While this type of policy may be an appropriate option in some cases, it was incredibly expensive, complicated, and unnecessary for the veteran and his family. The insurance salesman was using high-pressure sales tactics and glossing over some of the glaring problems and unrealistic assumptions used in the policy illustration.
I was fortunately able to convince them to wait and even called the insurance agent to explain why the policy was not appropriate under the circumstances. Today the veteran has an application in with the same insurance agent to get the low-cost term insurance that I had recommended. While the agent isn’t happy with me, I know that it was the right thing to do.
The reason I mention this story is that over the years we’ve heard from a number of clients who have been in similar high-pressure sales situations. One client called us from the office of an aggressive time share salesman and used us as an out, and more than one client has called us when negotiating a car deal or after speaking with an insurance agent. Bob Kargenian and I are happy to be the bad guy in these situations. If you ever feel like you’re getting pressured into buying something, but you want to buy some time instead, don’t hesitate to say, “That sounds really interesting, but I run everything past my advisor. I’ll get back to you.” We’re always just a phone call away.
Steven W. Medland, MBA, CFP®