Better Prospecting: Navigating the sea of annuity marketing methods
February 23, 2010 by Kim Magdalein
If you have an insurance license and have inquired about annuities from any marketing organizations, you have, no doubt, been deluged with annuity marketing methods. It is easy to get caught up by the “idea of the week” from various marketing organizations. Beware, not everything you see or hear is valid.
A few years ago, I went to an annual event that featured dozens of marketing organizations, insurance companies and support programs. All of them were the “very best.” Each one was “all you needed to be successful.” While most were legitimate, some were not. Unfortunately, when you try something new, as I’ve stated before, you’ll spend time, resources and money going through a learning curve. This learning curve can be very discouraging to an enterprising agent, especially if the process leads to a dead end. While I was at the conference, I was invited to a roundtable discussion with half a dozen proven and highly successful producers. We convened for several hours. While some of the discussion was productive, I found it to be a fishing expedition to find “secrets to success.” One of the “top producers” offered a marketing approval that he claimed worked well for him. When I questioned him on the details of his program, he stumbled through his explanation. His idea sounded good, but in practical application, it was doomed to failure.
Because there are numerous annuity prospecting programs, proper due diligence is essential. Here are a few criteria to study:
1) Have you heard of it before? You don’t want to be the guinea pig experiment. You also don’t want to be used to sell a few annuities until the next sucker comes along. The proper prospecting method should have a proven track record.
2) Can you speak to one or more uninterested, non-participating users of the prospecting method? They will give you the good and bad about the program. Since there are no magic bullets, hard work will follow. What are the procedures that may be difficult to implement?
3) Have you been referred to the method by a practitioner? Excellent!
4) What is the promoter of the program getting out of your participation? The promoter’s deal may be perfectly acceptable, but they may be getting something for nothing.
The methods that have been most successful with consistent results are: 1) Seminars; 2) Referrals; 3) Direct Mail; and 4) Drip Mail, including newsletters, both print and electronic.
Prospecting procedures will also include other steps:
1) Initial Contact. The initial contact to make an appointment may be successful. If you are able to make an appointment initially and get sale right away, the follow-up procedures (e.g., annual reviews) will gain additional sales.
2) No appointment/no sale follow-up prospecting. After you have established a personal contact with a prospect and have identified him or her as a qualified (has money) prospect, then follow-up procedures may renew the appointment for further sales efforts. Just because you don’t get the sale the first time doesn’t mean you won’t get it later if you keep the door open. A good one-card system can help with this or a contact management system.
3) Cross-selling other products is, of course, another way of staying with a client over the years. Whatever procedures are used must be consistent and persistent. The law of large numbers still plays a huge role in the success cycle of prospecting for annuity sales. The scope of your prospecting should include some type of large number effort initially to get the ball rolling with real momentum.
Kim L. Magdalein is a producer and owner of PresentYourPractice.com. He entered the industry in 1985, and went into private practice in 2001 serving the Jacksonville, Fla., retirement community. He has personally presented hundreds of seminars and created a thriving practice. He created Present Your Practice in 2004 to serve producers with seminar productions and methods for optimizing seminar attendance with qualified prospects. He can be reached at (800)909-9894.