Posts Tagged ‘annuity sales’

ProspectMatch:Mortgage Protection Leads to Sell Annuities

Friday, February 6th, 2009

You already know that one of the most challenging aspects of selling annuities is finding qualified leads to pitch your products to.  Cheap lists of leads rarely pan out to actual clients, but prospecting individual leads can take so much time that it cuts into your profits.  One relatively unexploited avenue is using mortgage protection leads to sell annuities.

With the current economic recession, people are worried that they may lose their jobs.  They want to make sure that the mortgage is paid and they aren’t left homeless in this situation, so they purchase a mortgage protection plan – another form of insurance – to make sure their bills are paid in case of job loss, disability or death.  In recent years, many annuity agents have found that mortgage protection leads have resulted in some of their best clients to sell annuities.  But what makes these leads stand out among others?

• Someone who purchases mortgage protection wants to make sure their family is taken care of if something happens to them.  These types of people are often very receptive to hearing about other financial products that guarantee specific returns.

• Homeowners usually have the financial ability to invest in annuities or other retirement plans – more so than renters, who may be living paycheck to paycheck.

• Purchasing a home and taking out a mortgage protection policy indicates a certain level of financial responsibility.  Therefore, these leads are more likely to be interested in planning for retirement or for dire circumstances.

However, the real trick is that once you get the lead, you have to convert a person who indicated an interest in mortgage protection insurance into an annuity buyer.  During your initial consultation with one of these leads, there are several questions you can ask to encourage this change in thinking, such as:

• Do you feel that you are fully prepared if you become disabled, laid off or unable to work?

Mortgage protection only pays the mortgage, so how will you handle other bills?  The guaranteed returns of an annuity can be a great way to assist with these expenses if you aren’t able to work for any reason.

• Do you currently have a life insurance policy, and, if so, is it earning you the biggest possible benefit?

People who are concerned about their homes are likely also concerned about their families and spouses.  If they have purchased a life insurance policy, they may be able to earn a higher rate of return on the investment producing an annuity sale.

• Do you have additional income or savings that you’d like to grow tax-deferred?

Homeowners and professionals and who have already maxed out their 401K and IRA contributions may be sitting on substantial savings that could benefit from the tax-deferred aspect of an annuity.  If they’re interested in protecting their homes, they should also be interested in protecting their savings.

But where can you find these leads?  There are many companies that offer mortgage protection leads.  If you’re part of a big financial firm, you may be able to get leads from another division of the same company.  If you’re an independent annuity agent, consider forming a partnership with a mortgage protection agent to share business and leads for your mutual benefit.  If you aren’t able to set up a partnership or share leads within your company, try searching online for lists of these leads for additional annuity sales.

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Sell Annuities Through Client Relationships

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Now, more than ever before, people are looking for security when they may financial decisions.  For some people, this involves seeking out the advice of a qualified financial advisor to assist in making the tough decisions about how their money is invested.  Obviously, you want to be this person that customers flock to with their assets, but how can you position yourself as a trusted advisor in the financial field?  How can you sell annuities and also serve people well? The key is in building a relationship with your clients.

Think about it – would you rather do business with a slick person who swoops in with glossy brochures and polished sales messages, or with someone who sits down with you to discuss your financial options and genuinely seems to care about your financial well being?  This distinction becomes especially apparent when dealing with senior citizens, who may be especially wary of dealing with anyone who comes off as too professional and impersonal.  There are several steps you can take to build this relationship with your existing clients and in the process sell annuities to them and their referrals:

• Try to get a full understanding of their financial situations

It isn’t enough to find out how much money a client has sitting in bank accounts and retirement investments.  Take the time to sit down with a client to understand the whole picture.  Where do they owe money and in what amounts?  What are their biggest fears about money?  When do they plan to retire and what type of lifestyle would they like to lead at this time?  When a client feels that you truly care about finding the best solution for them – whether or not it’s your product – they’ll be much more likely to work with you resulting in more annuity sales.

• Explain the terms of your annuities fully

A lot of annuity agents get a bad rap for glossing over the terms of annuity surrender periods and the fees associated with early withdrawals, leaving participants unaware of the risks associated with the investments.  And although these tactics may have helped them to make sales, the deception eventually catches up – many of these brokers are now being investigated by the SEC and may be subject to harsh fines and criminal sentences.  Instead, take the time to make sure your clients understand both the benefits and risks of annuities fully.  You don’t need to define every technical term in the fine print, just be sure that your clients are clear on what’s involved in the annuity. You’re likely to make more annuity sales to referrals when your clients feel they are fully informed.

• It’s the little things that matter

Sure, it may sound cheesy, but send that birthday card or Christmas card to clients that have purchased annuities with you.  They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and keep you in mind if they’re thinking about making further investments.  Also, take the time to make a follow-up phone call or two once a client has purchased an annuity to make sure that everything’s going according to plan and to see if they have any further questions.  Your clients will see you going the extra mile and feel more confident in the annuities they’ve purchased from you.  This is what leads to repeat annuity sales and referral annuity sales.

The real payoff from building a relationship with your client comes in the form of referrals and additional business.  People talk, and if they’ve had a positive experience with you, they’ll be much more likely to recommend you to other people they know that are looking for financial assistance and investment opportunities.

For a prospecting system that has you meet more clients, try ProspectMatch

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Carve Out a Niche for More Annuity Sales

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

The conventional wisdom in the annuity sales world is to bend over backwards, doing everything you can to please any customer that comes knocking at your door.  But in reality, trying to be everything to everyone can make you seem disjointed and disorganized to prospective customers.  In the third installment of the guerilla annuity sales principles series, we’ll explore why it’s better to establish yourself as the big fish in a small pond than one of the many fishes swimming in the big sea.

We’ve already talked about the benefits of establishing yourself as an expert in the annuity sales field, and to some degree, the idea of carving out a niche for yourself takes this a step further.  Instead of presenting yourself as a general annuities expert, consider creating your image as an expert in a specific type of annuities – variable, equity-indexed, or retirement – or for a specific target market, such as senior citizens, wealthy individuals, or families.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “Won’t I be giving up some sales if I specialize in a specific type of annuity sales or target market?”  To be fair, if you work in a smaller community or rural area, you may have to work as a generalist in order to find enough customers to stay in business.  However, if you live in a larger community, carving out a niche for yourself can have some surprising benefits:

• Less time weeding out unqualified prospects

When prospective customers know that you focus on providing specific investments for certain groups of people, they’ll only contact you if they themselves fit into your chosen niche.  In addition, separating yourself from the pack by choosing a specialty makes the process of earning referrals even easier.  People tend to hang out with others who are like them – if you prove that you’re the best qualified to serve one member of your target group, they’ll likely refer you to other people who might be interested in your services.

• Set yourself apart from the annuity sales competition

In metropolitan areas, there may be dozens of annuity sales agents and brokers all marketing the same annuities to the same groups of people.  In these situations, it can be difficult to prove that you’re the best choice for potential customers when they’re seeing similar advertisements from all the other agents as well.  However, if you set yourself apart by focusing on specific annuity types or target groups, you can advertise this fact to prospective.  When they come across your advertisements proclaiming your specialization, they’ll respond more positively if they fit into your target annuity sales category.

So how can you tell if specializing in a certain niche is right for you?  Take a look at the list of your past clients.  Do you see any patterns?  Are most of your clients in a certain age range or income level?  Do you tend to sell more of one annuity product than another, or are your commissions generally higher from the sales of one type of annuity over another?  You may be surprised to find that narrowing down your prospects to a certain target market or annuity type won’t cut into your existing client base at all!

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Be an Annuity Sales Magnet to Annuity Buyers

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

If you want to attract affluent and intelligent annuity buyers, here’s how to do it.

Get Interviewed in the Newspaper

Many advisors forget how newspapers work.  The people working for newspapers are journalists.  They don’t have a financial background.  So where do they get the information to write articles in the business section?  They interview people like you!  So why shouldn’t it be you?  You have opinions and ideas just like the next agent.  There’s s much misinformation about annuities, journalists really need people who can explain the straight story and the exposure will lead to annuity sales for you.

But how do you get them to interview you?  You get attention from the press by sending them a continuous stream of your ideas in the form of articles or press releases.  “I’m not a writer,” you say.  You don’t even have to write a single word.  It is possible to have others to do the writing for you and many writers are set up to provide this service to advisors (place free ads at www.guru.com, www.elance.com, www.freelancewriting.com).  You provide the idea and they do the writing.

Once you have the article or press release written, send it to the business editor.  Sometimes you get a response immediately but don’t panic if you don’t.  Most reporters will file your annuity article for future reference.  Keep sending new ideas at regular intervals and eventually, the editor will realize that you may have some useful ideas and will call you for an interview or request an article from you.

One mention in the newspaper won’t make you rich.  In fact, hardly anyone will see your name mentioned on page 16 that particular afternoon.  The true power of getting published is that when you send prospects and clients copies, they quickly deduce that you must be the local annuity expert because your name is in print. Prospects will wonder why their current advisor has never been mentioned in the paper and you’re immediately perceived as the superior annuity agent.

Send copies to senior groups and associations as this may help to get you invited to be a speaker.  Go ahead and send your article to a rented list of affluent seniors in your community (every library has a copy of SRDS list source for any list you ever need).  You will get calls as many seniors seek someone they can trust, and fewer people in the financial services industry seem worthy of their trust these days.

Write a Book (or annuity booklet)

An even better way to establish yourself as the trusted annuity expert is to write a book.  In America, authors are the ultimate experts.   You can accomplish this without writing a single word.  Just as you can hire someone to express your ideas in a written article, you can also hire a writer to put them into book form.  In fact, as little as 8 hours of dictating your ideas into an audio recorder can supply a financial writer with enough content to write your book.  That’s basically how all busy people write books.  Do you think Donald Trump or Hillary Rodham took months off to write their books themselves?

Send your annuity book to the CPAs and estate attorneys in town and to the press.   Then follow up with your monthly annuity newsletter.  Before long, you will get unsolicited referrals from these professionals and calls form the press for interviews.

Get your annuity book into Barnes and Noble and then call each Barnes and Noble location area and offer to do a talk in the local store.  For each date you have a talk scheduled, rent a list of wealthy seniors in the nearby zip codes and invite them (enclose an order form to purchase your book in case they cannot attend).  You now have an interested audience of great prospects who get the chance to check you out in a non-threatening environment.

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Javelin Marketing: It’s Unacceptable for Annuity Agents to Earn Less than $100,000

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Let’s do some math on annuity sales.  As far as I can tell, most equity indexed annuities pay the agent 8% commission.  So to earn $100,000 in a year, you need to sell $1.25 million of annuities.  Since I know agents that have sold that in ONE CONTRACT, it’s unacceptable that over an entire year, you don’t sell several millions of annuities. Simply unacceptable. 

$1.25 million is $100,000 per month.  There are 20 workdays in a month.  You can easily sell one contract for $100,000.  It might even take you a whole day if you need to drive to meet your prospect, make a presentation, take them to lunch and socialize. So what the heck are you doing the other 19 days of the month?

I’ll tell you what’s crazy.  I see annuity agents write a $100,000 policy and then they take the next day off as a reward.  NO!!!  Keep up the momentum and kick into high gear.  It’s by chaining winning days together—several days of $100,000 sales that you have a $500,000 month. If you want to take a day off, take it AFTER you hit $500,000 for the month. 

Here are the reasons that annuity agents fail to earn at least $100,000 a year and how to correct these errors:

1. You’re lazy and you don’t prospect.  Do you expect the phone to ring because you are a nice person? If you don’t have at least 3 prospecting campaigns going, get out of the business and get a government job.  Just quit now.  Or, select any three of these prospecting methods and get going:
Mailers
Seminars
ACTIVE referral system (don’t wait for referrals)
Subscribe to an annuity lead program
Cross referrals with a long term care agent or P&C agent
Email program

If you are depressed then do to the shrink and get some anti-depressants.  There are NO excuses except the ones that come out of your mouth.

2.  You don’t know how to sell.  Overconfident agents tell me all the time, “I’ve been selling insurance for 30 years, I can sell.”  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing something, most people cannot sell. They’ve never had a minute of training and they don’t even know what they don’t know.  Immediately get trained.  Enroll yourself in one of these classes:  Dale Carnegie, Sandler Institute, SPIN Selling.

3. You ignore a basic rule of the universe—ACTIVITY GENERATES RESULTS. Stop sitting on our butt.  Do something, anything!  The more active you are working in and on your business, the more results you get. 

4. Hang out with successful annuity agents and copy what they do.  Why try and figure out how to be successful when you can just copy what successful people do?

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