Supporting grieving clients

Early in her career, Shizuko Ozaki, an MDRT member since 2003 from Tokyo, Japan, had a client who thought of her as a daughter. When the client cancer and was hospitalized, she visited him often but wasn’t able to do so the week he died. The client wrote Ozaki a letter asking her to take care of his wife.

“I cried when I read the letter,” Ozaki said. “I can be one of the top salespeople in my company, but my mission is to be there more for the client after the sale.” She now makes sure to visit the wife every year.

As a financial advisor, you will be called by clients and their grieving families when faced with an unknown and scary future. What’s the best way to talk with a grieving person and work with the family? Jane E. Blaufus, CLU, offered these tips in her 2016 MDRT Annual Meeting Focus Session, “Courageous Conversations”:

  • Listen and use a loved one’s name. Grieving people want to talk about their loved ones and share stories about that person.
  • Be patient. Making even simple decisions can feel difficult for someone grieving.
  • Understand no two losses are the same. Don’t say you understand what they’re going through, even if you might have been through something similar. Instead, try saying, “I cannot begin to know what you are going through, but I can empathize with you as I have faced some challenges myself.”
  • Stay connected. Often there is a flurry of activity to help in the beginning, but grieving continues for much longer. Keep reaching out.
  • Don’t just offer to help; do something. Bring them a meal or take them to lunch.

Look out for clients and their families

If you don’t hear from the beneficiaries soon after their loved one dies, don’t hesitate to contact them. Not only do you need to give them the death benefit check, but you also can make sure they understand how to invest it. “When there is money around, there are vultures around,” said Anthony Matthews Jones, BSc (Hons), QFA, of Wexford, Ireland, who found that out the hard way.

Jones, an MDRT member since 2008, recalled when his client’s wife died, leaving behind two children, ages 10 and 12. Out of politeness, Jones waited six weeks to talk with the husband about how to best invest the death benefit. By the time he talked to him, though, the husband informed him that he had already been contacted by his accountant, and the husband invested with him instead. Jones found out later the investment was not a good one, and all the money was lost.

“Now when we bring the death benefit check to clients, we ask then what they plan to do with it,” Jones said. ”Never be afraid to visit a client; you may be the one person they’re happy to see.”


  • Bharathamani N says:

    Very Nice.
    It opens my Business Vision Attitude.
    Best Wishes

  • Costas Akrivopoulos says:

    In order to face and oppose client΄s objections, try following system or method, that I ΄m using with success. I named this method as “ITESA” METHOD.
    So, let΄s see ITESA METHOD:
    – Ι . Ι= Investigate the kind of objection. Is that objection for the product or for us (myself or my company)
    For Product : “Ιs very expensive”, “Ι have no money”, “I΄ll thing about”, “Ι am not in hurry”,
     So give more attention at product΄s benefits

    For Us, or for Our Company : “ Ι will ask my lawyer”, “I have no trust”
     So give more attention at Company’s situation and yours picture. A company’s pamphlet with some production fingers and a certificate of your participation in a global meeting.

    – T. T= Tach his fillings. Go to his position, Put yourself in clients
    shoes… and ask yourself:
    1. Why should client believe what I have to say?
    2. Why should client do something/anything about my proposal?
    3. Why should client act now?
    4. Why with me?
    (prepare and keep answers to be discussed with your client)
    And tell him: “You are right, I had same fillings, at the begging of my job, till I show what happen to some of my clients and how they were helped”

    – E. E= Explain the benefits of product, with full analysis and give some real examples with numbers for past and future, regarding health, pension, etc.

    – S. S= Show the benefits of product, as example a pamphlet with the Company’s journey from start up, or some clients thanking letters, or an indemnity check (keep always some copies with you)

    And finally

    – A. A= Act accordingly, surprising him/her. Prepare yourself for this.
    Ask him to tell you the amount he wants for the third age and the year he want it. Keep the figure.
    From your left pocket bring a check open (in photocopy- no problem). Write his name as beneficiary. Also write, in front of him, the amount he wants and the requested year and tell him to sign it now, giving to himself a promise, that he will arrange, this amount to be at his account that period. I΄m sure that he will not sign because is afraid that will not be able to keep this amount, that period.
    That moment, from your right pocket, bring another check open, write the monthly insurance payment and tell him:
    “Alright, as far as you are not sure for yourself, that you can find and keep this final amount, give me the opportunity, signing this check, to keep, in my company, at your disposal same amount for your future” .

    After 45 years experience, I believe he will decide!

    Best regards to all of you
    Keep going
    Costas Akrivopoulos

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