Levels of Communication
■ Things: It’s impersonal in nature.
■ People: Simple communication that’s personal.
■ Concepts: Complex communication, but it’s impersonal.
Emotions: This is the most complex form of communication
and is also the most personal.
Understand that the story you tell a
prospect is nowhere near as powerful as
his own story.
them in meaningful conversations.
To compensate, we sometimes ask:
“What are your goals and dreams?”
This sudden change from the brief
“yes” or “no” answers can catch a
prospect off guard.
or is having a difficult financial time in
retirement. If I were to tell you about
the people I know who are experiencing
these situations, but you don’t know
them, it doesn’t get you emotionally
involved. But if I were to ask you, “Who
do you know who’s had a heart attack?” you will feel emotionally involved
as you talk about your experience.
When I ask you what difficulties that
person and his family are having, you
will give your impressions, feelings, etc.
The highest level of communication
To gain a better understanding, let’s
look at the four levels of communication
as defined by Sid Walker in his book,
How To Double Your Sales by Asking a
Few More Questions. Walker lists these
communication levels as about:
Things. This is the simplest communication and it’s impersonal in
People. This involves simple communication, but now becomes
Concepts. This is complex communication, but it’s impersonal.
This is where product information,
brochures, illustrations, etc., come
Emotions. This is the most complex form of communication and is
also the most personal.
but hardly ever help you communicate
with your prospect on an emotional
level. If you’ve ever shown a prospect
an illustration as a solution and got
the “deer in the headlights” look as
a response, you’ve gotten stuck at
the concepts level and have failed to
move to the emotional level. Also,
if you think that your outstanding
product knowledge will motivate your
prospect to buy, you’re again stuck at
the concepts level. Most times, it will
not move the prospect to buy. The
emotional level is where clients and
prospects connect with you and where
the relationship really begins.
Need to communicate
Most factfinders focus on things or
people and sometimes on concepts,
Ask the right questions
How do we get there? The easiest
and most comfortable way is by asking open-ended and “feeling” types
of questions. Questions that begin
with “why,” “how,” “tell me,” etc.,
give the prospect an opportunity to
open up and express his thoughts and
concerns to you. Taking this further,
asking someone how he feels about a
situation is a terrific way to move to
the emotional level.
Here’s an example. You can prob-
The prospect’s story
ably name someone you know who has
suffered a heart attack or stroke, is bat-
tling cancer or another critical disease,
Understand that the story you tell a
prospect is nowhere near as powerful as his own story. And it’s his story
that creates emotion and the motivation for the prospect to take action
on your recommended solution. Ask
him: “If this was to happen to you and
your family, how would that make you
feel?” You are now communicating at
the highest level–the emotional level.
Be sure to include these “feelings”
into your factfinder. Your prospect may
answer “scared,” “worried,” or “
terrified.” These are all powerful, emotional
words that will help move him to take
action on your recommendations.
Remember that getting “just the facts”
isn’t enough to create that emotional
connection that motivates a prospect to
purchase and build a long-lasting and
Ray Vendetti, CLU, ChFC, has been in the
multiline industry for 19 years and coaches
people in the insurance and financial-services industry. You can reach him at
760-443-1719 or at