Connect with more annuity clients Article added by Ryan Parker on December 26, 2012
Ryan Parker

Ryan Parker

St. Petersburg , FL

Joined: April 04, 2011

Americans who may be shopping for an annuity advisor are in many ways looking for the ideal marriage between their needs and goals and your abilities and efforts, so the competition is fairly heated. If you want to win over more annuity clients, you'll have to court them.

In this era of such economic volatility and financial uncertainty, Americans have never been in greater need of professional guidance, and that goes double when it comes to annuities. Many potential clients are, indeed, looking for the financial professional who can provide them with a multitude of solutions that only annuities can provide. But are you putting yourself in the right places to be found by the right people?

Managing a client's finances and effectively, their future, requires a good working relationship. Americans who may be shopping for an annuity advisor are in many ways looking for the ideal marriage between their needs and goals and your abilities and efforts, so the competition is fairly heated. If you want to win over more annuity clients, you'll have to court them.

But what, exactly, are they looking for in an ideal agent or advisor? While every individual has varying needs, there are a number of things you can focus on to start winning annuity business, a few of which are listed below.

Ask for referrals

Referrals are by far the easiest way to begin relationships with prospective clients. Start by asking your current clients if they have any family or friends who could benefit from your services, and ask if you could reach out to them. Many people will trust the advice of a family member or longtime friend over almost everything else, so if you can master this skill, you'll always have a pipeline full of annuity prospects.

It's also a good idea to build relationships with other professionals, such as accountants or attorneys, as you can develop a quid-pro-quo referral system with these other trusted professionals. What's more, by turning to your current clients and fellow professionals, you're likely to be referred to individuals who share many of the circumstance and goals as the bulk of your client base.

There are plenty of other places consumers turn for recommendations, such as online agent or advisor locating tools from nonprofit groups like the LIFE Foundation, or websites where peer review wins the day, such as Angie's List. Make sure that you're as visible in these locations as possible, and the referrals should start rolling in. Of course, this strategy is predicated on the notion that you've already established yourself as a trustworthy, knowledgeable and ethical professional, so if you're new to the industry, do some research into what it takes to appear on these lists, and then do it.

Speak to your education and training

It stands to reason that the more educated you are on a particular topic, the more trustworthy you appear. When speaking with prospects, inform them of your educational credentials and be sure to underscore the rigorous requirements you had to meet in order to earn them. Common designations prospects know to look for include the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), Financial Services Specialist (FSS), and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), so if you have them, be sure they're prominently listed not only on your business card, but also on every communication or promotion you issue.
You know better than anyone the dedication it takes to achieve these designations, so describe how much coursework was entailed, the difficulty involved with passing their tests and your commitment to ongoing continuing education. This demonstrates to annuity prospects that you're willing to go the extra mile to gain the skills and knowledge they'll be relying on you to deliver. If you're lacking in credentials, there's no time like the present to get some more education — it can only serve to help your practice grow.

Emphasize your specialties

Sure, you might also sell life insurance or long-term care insurance, but your specialty lies in annuities and the many ways they can be used to benefit your clients. With more people open to annuities as each year passes, the time is right to really let your specialty shine. So, if you specialize in using annuities to provide lifetime income and you sit down with someone who wants to talk about reverse mortgages, it becomes immediately obvious that their needs are best served by a different advisor, so no one wastes unnecessary time or energy trying to make an oddball relationship work.

One way to separate yourself from the myriad other annuity professionals is to really focus on developing, and then working, a specific niche market. If you specialize in using annuities to develop plans for divorced women, for example, and can effectively position yourself in that niche, you'll fast become the go-to advisor for divorcees. After all, who better to seek advice from as a divorced woman's perspective than someone who works extensively with women just like her?

Discuss your professional memberships or affiliations

It's easy for consumers to overlook this important quality when vetting insurance and financial pros, so this is your chance to step in and remind them of their significance. Arguably the most valuable benefit of having an annuity advisor who belongs to a professional group is that he or she must adhere to a strict code of ethics and commit to lifelong continued education. Sharing your code of ethics can have a powerful effect — especially with so many stories of corrupt annuity advisors flooding the media — and can even bring a great deal of peace of mind to your clients. Some important associations worth mentioning and explaining include the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), the National Ethics Bureau and the National Association of Financial Advisors (NAIFA).

Have an in-person meeting

Before deciding to take on a new client, have a trial sit-down focused on interviewing one another. After meeting with a prospect, you may discover their needs are beyond your scope of expertise, in which case you can refer them to a professional better equipped to serve them. This initial meeting will reveal their real goals and current situations, making it easier for you to determine if an annuity really is the best option for a particular individual. Furthermore, it's just human nature that you'll click better with some individuals than with others, and it's easier to work with clients with whom you enjoy a good rapport.
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