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Annuity sales tactics may soon be back in media spotlight

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Word on the street has it that Dateline NBC is focusing its hidden cameras on seminars and appointments with advisors who sell annuity products to seniors.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. I applaud anyone who can help the industry get rid of the bad guys who give annuity products an unmerited bad reputation. That being said, I fear the angle that will likely be taken as Dateline goes undercover to investigate annuity sales practices. Dateline will uncover the most unscrupulous “free lunch” seminar advisors they can find. What we won’t see or hear about will be the many seminars Dateline’s people will likely attend that are completely ethical and informative. They will seek out the worst of the worst and portray this miniscule percentage as being widespread in an effort to alarm and enrage viewers.

Financial advisors and insurance agents who specialize in selling annuity products to seniors will be branded as a pack of predators who prey on unsuspecting seniors, pushing high-commission products that may well be unsuitable for an individual’s needs.

We know this is the exception rather than the rule, but don’t expect that to come across if the industry is eventually the subject of a Dateline NBC special. The only way it makes it to the air is if they do, indeed, catch unethical advisors using unscrupulous sales tactics to pressure seniors into buying the wrong annuity for their situation. There’s no story without the bad guys.

Meanwhile, the ethical advisors out there helping seniors make the most of their retirement funds – the vast majority – will receive yet another black eye from the media thanks to a handful of scam artists posing as advisors.

It’s another sales obstacle to overcome, but one that can be overcome by properly and thoroughly educating prospects about the capabilities and limitations of the annuity products you may recommend, and why they will work for them. Meet the objection head-on by admitting there are bad people out there and then calmly explaining the difference between what they do and what you do. You are the good guy, and you’re here to help.


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