What’s the best way to get started selling annuities?

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop


What’s the best way to get started selling annuities? How do I increase my leads, apointments and sales? Those are two questions that we’re asked almost every day by agents and advisors who want to start selling annuities or increase their sales. They're simple enough questions, but they have very complicated answers.

There are many great, proven lead generation systems out there to help you get started in the annuity marketplace. There are some very good, reputable marketing companies that offer systems using direct mail, postcards, newspaper ads, seminars, free reports, booklets, and the list goes on and on. Or, you can always buy Internet leads, preset appointments, etc.

The great part is that by using the lead generation systems listed above or purchasing leads, you can have more leads than you’ll ever need. All it takes is a little money.

Many of you are probably saying to yourself: “Now wait just a minute, I’ve tried many of the above methods and the leads we got weren’t any good!”

That is why we said the question is simple, and the answer is very complicated.

You’re right, most of the insurance agents and financial advisors who use these types of leads aren’t getting the appointments and sales results they need and want. However, for the most part, it isn’t a problem with the leads.

You may not want to hear this, but in most cases the leads are fine. It's just that you weren’t taught a simple way to turn those leads into appointments and then close sales from them.

We can cite example after example of insurance agents and financial advisors who have tried seminars or leads systems from XYZ Company and had no success with them. And yet, there are agents and advisors who swear by those same seminars and lead systems, and they're collecting millions of dollars every year using those leads.

We can also cite numerous examples of agents and advisors who were struggling with their leads and who, by making some minor changes to their approach and their sales interview, are now earning $25,000 to $80,000 per month.

Here are two real life examples of people who made some minor changes:

Example No. 1: Agent "A" was doing annuity seminars and earning about $5,000–$7,000 per month after expenses. He had 35 people at each of his seminars (20 buying units) and was setting appointments with 25 percent to 35 percent of the attendees. He was also closing 25 percent to 35 percent of the sales appointments. Generally, he was getting one or two sales per seminar.

Without changing how he got people to attend his seminar, and without changing the actual PowerPoint presentation, he was able to increase his appointments to 70 percent to 90 percent of the attendees, and close the same percentage of those appointments. In one month, he went from earning $5,000–$7,000 per month after expenses, to earning $30,000 per month after expenses. A year later, he was earning $50,000 to $60,000 per month.


Example No. 2: Agent "B" was working annuity leads. He was generally closing 25 percent of his sales appointments. Without changing his leads or his sales presentation, he started closing 70 percent of his appointments.

So, what made the difference in these two examples? These agents learned to stop telling prospects what they should do during the seminar and sales appointment. Instead they started helping the prospects to sell themselves on what they should do. If you tell a prospect something, they may or may not believe you. Remember, in their eyes, you are just another salesperson trying to make a sale. If you want to set more appointments from your leads and sell most of the people you meet with, then you have to get your prospects to tell themselves why this works, why it's important and why they should take action — now. And, that's about asking questions.

For example, when most financial advisors are talking to retirees, they assume that if the prospect has a CD, then they are unhappy with the interest rate they are getting. So, they might ask: “Do you have money in CDs?” If the client says yes, then most advisors jump right in and say: “I can show you how you can get a much better return.” The advisor then goes on to tell the prospect about a great new product or idea they have to make them more money. The prospect automatically says: “Let me think about it.” Why? Because no one likes to be sold.

If you want to set more appointments and close more sales, then start helping prospects to identify their own problems, and then help them to come up with their own solutions.

Example
Agent: “Mr. Prospect, if you don’t mind me asking, do you have any of your money in CDs?”

Prospect: “Yes.”

Agent: “Are you happy with the interest rate you’re getting?”

Prospect: “It could be better, but it’s OK. I like the safety and guarantees, and I have access to the money when I need it.”

Agent: “If you don’t mind me asking, are you using that money for an income?”

Prospect: “Yes.”

Agent: “Are you using any of the principal?”

Prospect: “Yes!”

Agent: “How do you feel about that?”

Prospect: “It’s a problem, we’re afraid we won’t have enough money.”

(More discussion and questions about running out of money)
Agent: “Does your current income allow you to do everything you’d like to do?”

Prospect: “No, it would be better if I had more income.”

Agent: “If you had more income what would you like to do?”

Prospect: “I like to visit more with my grandchildren.”

Agent: “If we could come up with a way to get the income you need in order to visit you’re grandchildren without digging into the principal, and you could still have the same safety and guarantees as a CD, would that be better for you? ”

Prospect: “Can you do that?”

Agent: “From what I see here, I think with you and I working together we can do it.”

Can you see the difference? We’ve helped the prospect to identify their problems, and we're working with the prospect to help them come up with their own solutions.

Is there any question that you will have a much better chance of getting the prospect to move their money to you? Isn’t the prospect selling themselves?

Now, are the two advisor success stories above just flukes?

We can sight over 50 similar results for agents and advisors we've worked with, just in the past year. Some saw spectacular results practically overnight and for others, it took six months or more to see the same results. It all depends on the experience level of the agent or advisor and how open they are to making changes.

Of course, there are always a few agents and advisors who believe they are already great sales people and who don’t believe they need any help with their techniques. They still believe all of their problems are the result of poor-quality leads.

These questioning techniques work for whatever products you are selling.

So, how do you learn this questioning technique? You can learn by trial and error, or you can invest in a reputable sales trainer.

Most agents are getting 10–20 sales leads per week and only setting two to four sales appointments. They are lucky if they close one sale per week, which barely covers the cost of the leads. Is it worth investing a few dollars in order to set eight or more appointments from your current leads and close five or six sales per week?

It’s up to you. You can keep searching and wasting your hard-earned money trying to find the ultimate lead generation system or a company that has the best leads. Or, you can invest in yourself and learn to ask better questions to get the most out of your current leads.