For insurance agents, cold calling annuity leads offers a great opportunity, but it’s not without its challenges.
The sales prospecting funnel is much longer than other insurance products, and annuities are complex — not to mention, a big investment. Your clients will have to trust you, and you’ll have to deliver the right product to suit their needs, every time. It’s a tall order.
For those new folks who could use a hand, here are 10 marketing and sales tips for annuity leads.
1. Annuity Sales Are a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Selling annuities isn’t a profession for those lacking patience. It may not take a new father long to buy a simple term life policy, but don’t expect the same from a prospect nearing retirement and looking for the right annuity investment for his nest egg.
This is a big decision for people, and that decision usually takes time. That said, there are some things you can do to help your prospect over the finish line.
To start, properly nurturing your leads can make a world of difference. A prospect needs to get to know you and to trust you. Demonstrate your intentions, your expertise, and your approach consistently in your marketing materials to “get there quicker.”
2. Your Prospect Must Be Able to Open Up to You
An annuity sale is made when you understand your client’s dreams and goals, particularly when it comes to retirement.
World travel, charity work, buying a winter home in Florida or Arizona. An annuity investment may be able to make these kinds of dreams possible.
But you’ll only know about them if your prospect tells you. It takes trust to get your prospects to open up to you, but it’s the only way you’ll know what they really want, and if you can find an investment tool to deliver.
3. Proper Capitalization Will Make You More Effective
It’s not uncommon for someone new to the annuity business to spend a good bit of time working with a prospect pool, qualifying the best leads, and building the trust and rapport necessary to generate a sale.
Again, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Capitalization — sufficient cash for your living expenses, business expenses, and peace of mind — is a must.
Money issues lead to stress, which can lead to poor decision-making. If your business or your personal affairs are under such stress, you’re not going to be at your best when it’s time to help your clients.
Your prospects don’t want to be rushed into a decision they may regret. You can avoid this situation altogether by being better prepared for any dry spells between sales.
4. Bridge the Gap Between Consultations and Sales
One of the most important sales tips anyone can offer is to find ways to bridge the gap between the consulting phase of your sales funnel and the presentation and sales phase.
Far too many annuity leads float away at this point, costing sales professionals time and money. All the same, it works best for most sellers to have two contacts with a lead, one to gather information and a second to present your annuities recommendations and ask for the sale.
The trick to bridging the gap can be individualized to suit your style, but it comes down to two points:
- Creating continuity in the process
- Setting a concrete follow-up schedule
You might create continuity by telling your lead you need to revisit the discussion at a later time, even if you’ve gathered enough info to make recommendations.
Tip: Make sure your sales script covers how you’ll set a concrete appointment at the conclusion of your first call.
5. Learn to Use the News to Your Advantage
Every day, news affects the world we live in.
The election, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, an unpredictable housing market. Whatever it is, the news can affect the world markets, which can affect American markets, which can affect the financial situation of your clients and prospects.
But many everyday folks have trouble piecing things together, so they don’t act when it could be to their financial betterment to do so.
Take for example annuity marketing materials that you distribute to your clients.
Update them on what has happened, but more importantly, why it matters for their bottom line.
The volatility that has come with the coronavirus pandemic has been unpredictable for certain investor groups, but those with annuities had more stability. You’d be surprised how much new business that kind of collateral can bring in.
6. Educate Yourself First
This doesn’t mean you should educate yourself about the basics of annuities (you’ve already done this). It means you should educate yourself as to your prospect’s personal and financial circumstances.
This goes along with tip #2 above about your prospects opening up to you.
The first contact isn’t the right time to ask for the sale. It’s the right time to ask questions that help you better understand your prospect. Build the relationship first. Make the sale second.
7. Look into Cross-Selling
Right now, you may only have annuities to offer your customer base. However, there are other opportunities that can open up a whole new world of business.
For example, you could begin to sell Medicare Supplements. This is a good idea because the same people interested in Medicare are those who are in a position to purchase an annuity.
Cross-selling allows you to make more than one sale to a prospect that you already have a relationship with. And as you can imagine, that’s easier.
8. Build Your Personal Brand
Selling annuities is all about trust. When your audience trusts you, they’re more likely to buy from you.
One of the top ways to build trust is by strengthening your personal brand. There are many ways to do this:
- Share your expertise on social media and a company blog
- Speak at local events
- Provide free advice to people in your area
As your personal brand grows, so does your audience. And then when someone is in the market for an annuity, you’ll be the first person that comes to mind.
9. Spread Your Sales and Marketing Wings
Entirely too many annuity sales professionals limit themselves to one or two sales and marketing techniques.
Yes, you want to do what generates the best results. And yes, you only have so much time and so many resources.
However, you should spread your sales and marketing wings by taking the time with strategies you’ve overlooked in the past.
Tunnel vision won’t get you anywhere except passed up by the competition.
10. Stick With It
This is the most difficult thing to do. When you’re not getting anywhere in a hurry (see above), you become impatient. And when that happens, you’re more likely to pressure the prospect or simply move on.
Don’t make this mistake. Stick with your process until the client tells you no or continually ignores your outreach.
It can take months of following up, conversations, and questions to reach the finish line. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but there’s a reward at the end of the process.
Annuities can be a great opportunity for agents, and a smart choice for many of your clients. Your skill explaining the complexity of the product, the marathon pace you’ll need to master, and the trust you’ll need to build with your prospects will determine if you succeed. It won’t be easy, but with these tips, you’ll be one step closer to annuities success.
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