The secret to setting appointments with nine out of 10 attendees

By Lew Nason

Insurance Pro Shop

One of the biggest problems many agents, advisors and planners have is setting appointments at their annuity dinner seminars and free educational workshops. Agents are always complaining that they are only able to set appointments with 10 percent to 30 percent of the attendees at their events. They'll tell us that most of the annuity prospects don't have their appointment schedule with them, so they can't set an appointment, or they just came for the meal, or they already have a financial advisor and just wanted to see if there was something new, or their attendees just don't have any money. And, then they'll tell us that out of the few people who do set appointments, over half of them end up canceling, or they just don't show up for their appointments.

Are you having the same problems?

Recognize that the vast majority of the people who attend your annuity seminars and workshops are dissatisfied with their current financial situation and/or financial advisor. They came to your event because they are looking for real help from someone they feel they can trust. The reason most agents, advisors and planners are having trouble setting annuity appointments at their events is they are not connecting with the attendees. And, if there is no connection, people will tell you to your face how great your presentation was, and then they'll make up any excuse not to meet with you.

Believe it or not, there are some very simple ways to immediately fix these problems. There are five critical insider secrets to setting appointments right at your annuity dinner seminar or free educational workshop. By applying these simple techniques, you can easily set appointments with 90 percent of your attendees, and they'll keep their appointments with you.
    1. First and foremost, you must be inviting the right people. Running ads in the local newspaper or sending out postcards to everyone who is 55 or older only guarantees you'll fill your seats. The problem is you will generally fill those seats with many of the wrong people. If you want to have the right prospects attend your event, then you must invite the people who actually need your help and the people you have the best chance of selling. Your best prospects are generally going to be middle-income families, not affluent people who already have an advisor and don't really need your help. If you are selling annuities, you'll want to invite people who are already retired or are just about to retire. (60 to 80 years of age)

    2. You must make every effort to make an emotional, personal connection with your attendees prior to, during, and after your seminar or workshop. People want to work with people they know and trust. You, or someone in your office, should be calling them to confirm their attendance and then call them two days prior to the event to remind them of the annuity seminar or workshop. You'll want to personally meet and greet everyone as they come in for your event. During your presentation, you should make eye contact with everyone, one person at a time. You'll want to make each person feel as if you are having a personal conversation with him or her sometime during your presentation. Then you'll want to visit with each of them after your presentation while they are eating to thank them for coming and to ask them if they liked the presentation and see if they have any questions.

    3. You must help the attendees to see and understand the financial problems they are facing today and how your information relates to their situation. It's not about your products, investment returns, credentials, knowledge or being a great speaker. If the prospect does not see and understand they have a problem and how you can help, then why would or should they take the time to meet with you? You must ask rhetorical questions during your presentation. Ask questions that will get the prospect to think about how what you are talking about relates to their situation. You are not looking for anyone to answer these questions, you just ask a question and then pause to let the question sink in.

    4. You must speak at a sixth grade level, then even the college professors will understand you. If you use technical jargon or use big words trying to impress people, you run the risk of making them feel inferior and/or confusing them. In either case, they won't set an appointment with you. Or, if they do set an appointment, they'll cancel or just not show up.

    5. You must never ask for an appointment. You must give them an opportunity to meet with you. If you ask or push for an appointment, you are a salesperson. If you give them an opportunity to meet with you, you're an advisor. There is only a subtle difference between the two, but a big difference in the number of appointments you'll set. "Is it worth 40 minutes of your time to see if..."
Remember: Annuity dinner seminars and free educational workshops are one of the simplest, quickest, and most profitable ways for you to increase your sales. You can have more prospects than you can possibly see if you apply the above five critical insider secrets. And, you don't have to be a great or polished speaker, or have a dynamic presentation.

One more insider secret: The only purpose of your annuity seminar or workshop is to set an appointment. Do not try to educate, or impress the prospect.

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