Question: How can I get technical concepts across to my clients without resorting to facts and figures, having their eyes glaze over, and losing the sale?  

“Life insurance converts the bricks and mortar of your business into dollars and cents for your family.” said legend Ben Feldman when he was explaining the concept of business insurance. He ended up selling billions of face amount.

Canadian industry icon, Bruce Etherington explained life insurance as “lifeboats and legacies”. He is still adding to the billions of face amount he’s sold in his life.

George Sigurdson from Winnipeg describes financial security as a series of buckets to fill. He talks about product selection as going through stages of life – Learning, Earning, Yearning, and Burning. 

Van Mueller asks questions that suggest stories: “Would you rather leave your family a home or a mortgage?”

The late Roger Zener wondered “what would happen to your family if you became part of the grill work on a Mac Truck on the way home one day?”

These are “Sales Stories” and there are many variations of them, but they are all the same in one way. They are clever, compelling, and conversational ways of describing the benefit of doing something (like buying life insurance) without resorting to facts and figures. 

Sales stories engage the imagination and drive home the value of the product by associating it with familiar ideas and language. They convert confusing facts and figures into convincing stories. Think of them like “explainer videos” in words not drawings. 

For instance, I coach advisors to talk about what life insurance does and not about what it is. No one wants life insurance per se, but they do want what it does for you, your family, or your business.

We say that there are 4 ways prudent investors use life insurance: As “short-term tax-free cash at death” – for the responsibilities and obligations you feel that expire, like a mortgage. As “long-term tax-free cash at death” – for responsibilities and obligations than never expire – like final medical, burial, and funeral expenses and taxes on the unspent amounts in a RRIF when both spouses are gone. As “long-term tax-free cash for life” – a place to “stash the cash” away from the tax man so you can augment retirement income or help keep you out of a nursing home. And finally, for those with a long-term view, as “long-term tax-free cash for family nobility”. This is keeping life insurance long after the original need has passed but you want to leave money to change the financial trajectory of your beloved family forever so no one never need to life paycheque to paycheque again. Think of that as great ancestor insurance. 

This tells about what life insurance can do but we never had to use words like Term Insurance, Non-Par Whole Life or Term to 100, Universal Life, or Cash Value Life Insurance. Sales stories engage the prospect in the benefits they can enjoy and not in the details that confuse them.

There are many benefits of using sales stories:

  1. Sales Stories can be your business crusade to convert leads into prospects. They can be prospecting stories to engage people so they can see themselves solving their problems with your help. 
  2. They help you be easier to do business with because stories translate technical language into a personal experience that’s easy to understand and use. Sales stories help anyone understand so anyone can buy.
  3. Short sales stories are great for compelling Social Media posts as a simple way to attract interest and build your brand in your marketplace.
  4. Stories can help you make important points in sales interviews without turning to facts and figures. The story can seal the deal by making you real and relatable.
  5. Rather than going to a technical explanation, use a sales story to help explain a benefit of the product in a simple and friendly way. Be helpful by telling a story that translates the details.
  6. Use a sales story to answer objections in a non-confrontational way like, “Your question reminds me of a story…” Then the sales story answers the objection.
  7. Being known as an interesting, insightful, and inspirational storyteller helps attract prestige introductions. When you are fun to be with, people have less of a problem finding people for you to be with.
  8. They help you multiply your performance and move into new markets. Appropriate sales stories help explain what you do to Centers of Influence. That makes your business easier to understand and remember and easier to recommend, introduce, and refer. 
  9. Story tellers build loyalty with their clients because the emotions they elicit build stronger bonds with their clients. People stick with storytellers.

Sales stories are the opposite of jargon and have the opposite effect too. They attract results rather than repel them. They are a very practical and helpful way to help you build your business without resorting to technical details.

This column by renowned advisor coach Jim Ruta was first published in the October 2022 edition of Insurance Journal magazine.

For more information on the tools to use to build your brand, check out

Jim Ruta’s mission is simple – to preserve, promote and propel the financial advisor business. A former insurance advisor and executive manager of a 250-advisor agency, Jim is a highly regarded coach, author, podcaster and keynote speaker. He has spoken 4 times at the MDRT Annual Meeting including the Main Platform. Jim Ruta is an Executive Coach and Keynote speaker specializing in life insurance advisors and leaders. He works with top advisors around the world and re-energizes audiences with his deep insight and passion. 

If you have a question for Jim, you may send an email to [email protected]