Overcome fears and concerns by focusing on the positive
Filing bankruptcy is like going through chemotherapy: no one ever wants to have to do it, but once the process is done successfully, they are glad that they did. How can you help those considering bankruptcy to overcome their fears and hesitancy and take that leap of faith and get the process started?
By optimistically and positively 1) highlighting the huge benefits of bankruptcy, 2) calming fears and misconceptions about bankruptcy, and 3) helping them see the positive end result from the beginning, you will persuade more potential clients to file and increase your sales results.
1) Highlighting the benefits of bankruptcy
All is not gloom and doom when selling bankruptcy to individuals. In fact, as you well know, bankruptcy has several features that make it a financial life saver and “reset button” for people’s entire lives. When consulting potential clients, you should make sure to focus on its positive elements, such as:
- Automatic Stay: Many considering bankruptcy feel like they have the Mafia coming after them. They likely lose sleep (and certainly peace of mind) as they constantly stress over pesky creditors, looming foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments, levies, and more. In that context, then, the automatic stay becomes a huge pause button that they can press to stop the madness and help them evaluate their situation and plan their future. For most people, the automatic stay is a huge selling point for filing bankruptcy. Make sure to explain what the automatic stay is and what impact it will have on your potential clients.
- Asset Protection: For those with property to lose, the asset protection benefits of bankruptcy are a huge selling point. Make sure to clearly explain how bankruptcy protects property, and what property in particular your potential client will save by filing.
- Debt Discharge: Finally, the big enchilada. Thousands of dollars of debt can be eliminated and the slate wiped mostly or completely clean. Do your potential clients know that? Do they realize how dramatically their finances will improve when their thousands of dollars in debt disappear? Spend time highlighting what debts your potential customers will be able to eliminate and focus on how much money that will save them in the long run.
2) Calming fears and misconceptions about bankruptcy
When most people think of bankruptcy, they probably conjure images in their heads of losing everything they own, becoming a social outcast, and perhaps even wearing a barrel for clothing. While you know that bankruptcy isn’t as bad as people think it is, it often does have a sting to it that isn’t avoidable. When it comes to presenting the negative aspects of bankruptcy to potential clients, your goals should be to overcome misconceptions and to minimize the negative in an honest but upbeat way.
First, let’s go through the misconceptions about bankruptcy that most people have that you should strive to defeat to establish more confidence from your potential clients.
- You Lose Everything: You know that this isn’t true. But many of your potential clients do not. Help customers see that while bankruptcy sometimes requires liquidation, many times it doesn’t. If their situation does require liquidating some of their assets, help them see that the value they gain in eliminating debt still outweighs the loss of some of their property.
- Impossible to Restore Credit: Many customers likely envision a world after filing bankruptcy filled with failed credit applications, an inability to ever own a home, or the impossibility of getting a decent interest rate on a car loan. Sure, restoring credit is difficult, but you should help them see that it isn’t the brutal, impossible process that most make it out to be. Within a few years and with hard work, your clients can restore their credit to acceptable or even commendable levels.
- Social Stigma: No, bankruptcy filers don’t have to wear a scarlet letter on their chest for the rest of their lives, as some folks might assume. Financial tragedy and challenges do not (and should not) lead to discrimination. Help your customers see that bankruptcy is a temporary event that doesn’t mark them as social outcasts and that those that discriminate against them due to their filing can face legal repercussions.
By now, you’ve helped your customers see bankruptcy as it really is, without all the hogwash and fear-mongering that usually accompanies it. Next, let’s evaluate the negative aspects of bankruptcy and how you can minimize their psychological impact on your customers. Remember, you can’t change how bankruptcy works and remove the negative aspects, but you can help others feel more confident and less worried about them.
- Lose Property: Yes, this part stings. It’s never fun to lose valuable property. But in context of the thousands of dollars in debt and the loads of mental stress that are eliminated through bankruptcy, losing some property may be a fitting price to pay for a big financial step forward.
- Hurts Credit: Yes, 7 to 10 years is a long time to have a reduced credit score from bankruptcy, but their credit is affected by other factors within their control that they can actively manage to improve their score. They are not immobile when it comes to credit. With your encouragement and guidance, they can become active participants in raising and improving their credit score.
- It’s Too Expensive: It should come as no surprise that most people are worried about the costs of filing bankruptcy. Sure, when you don’t have a lot of money and are up to your neck swimming in financial woes, dropping $1,500 towards filing bankruptcy doesn’t sound so appealing. But putting $1,500 into a machine and it returning $35,000, or $18,000, or $59,000 sounds a lot more appealing. Help your customers see filing and attorney fees as investments, not “expenses.” The money they spend on filing will produce massive dividends in discharged debts. This will help them realize how financially wise it is to hire you.
3) Helping them see the end from the beginning
Just as doctors help cancer patients envision their lives without tumors and cancer before they decide on chemotherapy, you should help give an optimistic view to your potential clients of what their lives will look like after filing bankruptcy. This will help them gain a positive vision for their own finances and will help them take the leap of faith and file bankruptcy.