What everyone ought to know about annuity seminar attendance

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop

In the past 10 months, I've gotten a lot of calls from agents, advisors and planners who are telling us that between all the bad publicity about annuity dinner seminars and this crazy economy, the attendance to their events has sharply fallen off track. They've tried working with other marketing groups, used different direct mail houses, changed their invitations, tried using postcards and unfortunately, nothing seems to be working. They want to know if the people who are using our systems and coaching are having the same problems. The answer I give them is, "The people I work with are still getting extraordinary results!"

What are the agents, advisors and planners we work with doing that is different from everyone else? It might surprise you to know that they aren't really doing anything that's different, they've just learned a few little "insider secrets" that make them a little bit better and much more successful.

While I'm not about to give away all of our proven techniques and insider secrets that help us to consistently fill annuity dinner seminars with all the right prospects, I will give you 10 of the biggest reasons why most agents, advisors and planners are having trouble getting seniors to attend their annuity dinner seminars.

The first problem is that most agents, advisors and planners are looking for quick, short-term results. They're unwilling to put in the initial extra effort to establish a program that will generate consistent long-term results. The only way they are getting people to attend their seminars is by running newspaper ads, sending out postcards, or sending "wedding style" invitations. It's definitely the most expensive way to generate annuity leads and it's one-dimensional. You never know who's going to show up. You don't know whether you'll attract the right prospects. You don't know who else is inviting these same people.

The second problem is that most agents, advisors and planners have not identified who the best prospects are for their products and services. Who do you have the best chance of selling? As an example: Are your products and services better suited for retirees with CDs, or for retirees who have their money invested in the market? And, whom do you work best with?

The third problem is that most agents, advisors and planners are trying to attract people to their event by promoting the latest hot new sales idea. In all of their correspondence and at their seminars, they are talking about Roth IRA conversions, transferring wealth, annuity owner mistakes, safe money concepts, advanced tax planning, understanding living trusts, asset allocation, advance care planning, asset protection for seniors, strategies for preserving wealth, and financial strategies for uncertain times. If you want to attract a lot more seniors to your dinner seminars, then you must help seniors to solve an immediate problem they have, like outliving their money. Provide a lifetime income they can't outlive and consistently deliver that special message to your best prospects.

The fourth problem is these prospects have never heard of the agent, advisor or planner. Most agents, advisors and planners are doing very little, if anything, to become the most recognized, trusted and sought after financial expert in their local community. With all the bad publicity about annuity dinner seminars, do people trust and want to work with a complete stranger? That's why you need the services of an image branding specialist, like Forest Wallace Cato.

The fifth problem is most agents, advisors and planners don't know how to separate themselves from the competition. Aren't you in direct competition with the banks, accountants, attorneys and brokerage houses? If you want to attract more of the right people to your seminar, then you must find a way to stand out from all of your competition. Why should people go to your seminar, versus the one your competition is offering? What's in it for them?

The sixth problem is most agents, advisors and planners are promoting and selling a specific hot new product during their seminars. You need to stop selling products for the highest commission possible and instead think about what would be in the best interest of your prospect. In an era of recession/depression, retirees want guarantees. Retirees don't care about your products, they want to know you understand their problems and can provide them with real help with their finances.

The seventh problem is most agents, advisors and planners have not earned the right to receive referrals. If all you are doing is pushing annuities and providing the latest hot new products, aren't you the same as everyone else in their eyes? So, why should these people refer anyone to you?

The eighth problem is most agents, advisors and planners are not conducting annual reviews. If, once you make a sale, your client never hears from you again, then why should they buy more from you, or refer people to you?

The ninth problem is most agents, advisors and planners are not staying in constant contact with their friends, family, prospects, referrals and existing clients. People buy when they're ready to buy, not when you're ready to sell. So, if you are not constantly in front of them, then they'll buy from your competition.

The tenth problem is most agents, advisors and planners don't know how to establish a true joint venture relationship. They may be able to set up a passive system that gets other professionals to refer a few people to them, if those professionals happen to think about them, or if their clients ask for a referral. They don't know how to set up an active system that gets professionals to invite all of their best clients to their events.

Most of the agents, advisors and planners I talk to have tried purchasing leads, preset appointments, using information booklets and free reports, client newsletters, direct mail, postcards, joint venture marketing, dinner seminars, educational workshops, asking for referrals, articles for the newspaper, press releases, being a guest on a local television or radio program, lead groups, etc., without much success. The reason they are struggling with these annuity lead generation methods isn't because they don't work; it's because they never learned the insider secrets and tricks of the trade to make these proven methods work. They didn't follow through. They tried one method at a time. They were looking for one quick way to generate a consistent flow of annuity leads, instead of learning how to combine each of these proven lead generation methods into a complete annuity marketing program that will consistently put them in front of more of the "right" annuity prospects.

Does this sound like a lot of studying and hard work? It is, initially. However, in many cases it's actually a lot less work (and less expensive) than what you are doing right now! And, once you set up a complete long-term annuity marketing program, you'll find that within a few months, you'll be working a lot less to attract, set appointments with and sell the right annuity prospects. You'll be spending a lot less money on your marketing, be making more annuity sales and you'll be much more profitable.

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