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 annuities folks who could use a hand, here are my five most important tips to the successful sales and marketing of annuities.
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 too long to settle on buying 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 some 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 and your interactions, and you’ll get there quicker.
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.
Proper Capitalization Will Make You More Effective
It’s not uncommon for someone new to the annuities business to spend a good bit of time working with a prospect pool, qualifying the best leads, and building that necessary trust and rapport before they can get to 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 won’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.
You Must Bridge the Gap Between Consultations and Sales
One of the most important sales tips anyone can offer is that you must 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 a continuity to the process.
- Setting a concrete follow-up.
You might create continuity by telling your lead you’ll need to reconvene the discussion at a later time, even if you’ve gathered enough info to make recommendations. Make sure your sales script covers how you’ll set a concrete appointment at the conclusion of your first call for your second contact with the prospect.
Learn to Use the News to Your Advantage
Everyday, news affects the wider world we live in. The Brexit vote, an economic crisis in Greece, a bad year for auto sales. 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, and so they don’t act when it could be to their financial betterment to act.
Consider annuities marketing materials for your clients and leads that explain the news. Update them on what has happened, but more importantly, why it matters for their bottom line. The volatility that followed Brexit wasn’t a good thing for certain investor groups, but those with annuities didn’t have to worry. You’d be surprised how much new business that kind of collateral can bring in.
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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