I’m on the road to Florida today and I’ve got a long drive, so I’ve been thinking of some interesting content to share here and kind of in the process of running through my brain what to talk about, I thought, “You know what I haven’t shared on my final expense page? Funny final expense stories from the field!”
If you’ve been in this business for 6 months, 12 months, you’ve eventually run across some wild stuff that’s happened in the field, because really when you sell final expense insurance, you see how the other half lives, if you will, and so you have some interesting fodder to share– not necessarily war stories, but just really a shock and awe type of situation with what goes on there in the business.
So what I’m going to do over a couple of posts is share, I think, some hilarious and scary and some shocking stories that have always stuck with me over the years because they really, in some ways, describe very well how these people think and who they are, but also just are funny to share and they are good for story time. In this post I’m going to share a story about a lady I met within the first year of business.
I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee and I was in a little suburb of Chattanooga called East Ridge. In my mind, it has always been a good area to work final expense. I went down this road and it’s probably about ½ a mile straight shot, no curves or anything, and you have to understand that when you see these people that we deal with, they’re all kind of “off” a little in a sense, but as I’m driving, I notice about ¼ mile down the road there’s a pink mail box.
Instantly I think, “This is my girl. This is the one I’m seeing.” As I’m approaching it, not only is there a pink mail box, but the woman has an all pink Cadillac– that’s right, a pink Cadillac– and on top of that, I kid you not, she has painted a 4ft X 4ft picture of herself looking like a court jester on the side of the house. I’m cracking up already as I’m parking my car, so she comes out to get me and let me in– she’s got a fence that’s chained off– so I walk in and sit down.
There’s no furniture, maybe a seat and a chair, there’s this black lady and she’s got these little confederate soldiers sitting on my piano, just cracking me up. You’ve got the confederate battle flag and I’m just like, “What is wrong with this woman?” She sits down and says, “Dave, you’ve got to help me. Let me tell you my story.” This is back in 2011, she says, “Listen, I used to live in New Orleans. I was down there when Hurricane Katrina hit.” I said, “Oh wow, how’d you end up here?”
She said, “Listen, this is what happened– I used to live in one of the quarters in downtown New Orleans and I was one of the ones that stayed. I didn’t leave when they told us to evacuate. I was there a day or two and the water had risen above the first floor window.” She said she was determined that she had to escape before anything would happen, so she took a 2X4 that happened to be in her living room, broke out the window, water rushes in and she jumps out and starts swimming away down the neighborhoods of New Orleans, in the city, swimming down the street.
Then she says she saw it coming around the corner– it was literally a casket, caskets floating down the flooded areas of New Orleans. She goes up to it, knocks on it to make sure it looks good and hops aboard and floats away– makeshift boat on the casket! So she’s floating down the neighborhood in New Orleans on a casket and she comes across an overpass on I-10, which goes through New Orleans and most of the southern corridor of America on the Gulf Coast.
So she gets on the overpass and she stays there for a couple of days until FEMA rescues her and she’s taken to an airport and she says, “Guess what happens there? None other than Vice President Al Gore flies in on a private jet with his jet, with Tipper Gore, and picks all of them up, about 50 or 60 people, and flies them up to Chattanooga and drops them off.”
I said, “Lady, that’s a bunch of crap. You’re making up stuff– crazy old woman.” And she says, “Aha! Let me go get something.” So she goes over to her wall, she had pinned to her wall a blown up, laminated letter with Al Gore’s letterhead on it expressing his deepest condolences to her loss, the things that she went through and signed ‘Al Gore’ at the bottom. I was completely shocked– it was literally a letter from Al Gore. This is before I even started talking about life insurance!
Getting back to the actual sales call– this lady was behind on her water bill and wasn’t doing too well. She was spending about $180 a month on a mausoleum pre-need plan, a very high-priced plan. This lady had no squeeze between her fingers, she was just going over the top. Long story short, I wrapped her into a life-pay final expense plan for considerably less a month and I saved her literally about $1,500 a year.
So I thought, “Well dang, I killed this one. I did great.” I spoke too soon because sometimes crazy people are crazy when you meet them and they’re real crazy after the fact, too. She called me up later and she says, “Well hold the phone– we’re not going to cancel this plan yet. I’m going to meet with the pre-need plan who wants to talk things over with me,” and I thought, “Oh boy, he’s coming over to try to conserve the policy.”
In the end, she calls me the next day and she says, “You know what Dave? I had a dream last night and God came into my dream and you know what he told me Dave Duford? He said ‘Keep that pre-need policy. Keep that mausoleum policy and dump the one you just took out.” Of course, me being new– and I still don’t have the answer to this question– how do you rebuttal a Divine objection?! How can you explain to somebody that God was wrong?
I couldn’t do anything, I left it at that. Anyways, I thought I’d share that funny story because you really meet some of the strangest people in this business and that was one of the funniest stories I like to tell and convey to people, because it just has every element of one of the weirdest sales calls you can do.