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Retirement Planning > Retirement Investing > Annuity Investing

Want a sale? Harness your client's anger

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This column is an excerpt from Jack Marrion’s new book “Sell More Annuities: Change Buyer Behavior”

Fear is a proven marketing technique that is also used successfully by annuity providers. Today, it’d go something like: Show the stock market average in January 2008, show the stock market average in January 2009, show a white-haired, wrinkled person selecting a buffet dinner from a dumpster, reveal the current yield on the no-market-risk-to-principal fixed annuity; sign here. Fear causes consumers to make risk-averse decisions and this helps annuities, but what if the consumer is too afraid?

The headlines of late may make consumers so fearful that any decision may be viewed as too risky. Which emotions cause people to be less fearful and more risk-seeking and thus open the way for a sale? Happiness is a proven one — happy consumers are more optimistic and open to taking a chance — but it is tough to sell happiness when the TV is talking Great Depression II. However, anger is another emotion that causes people to be both risk-seeking and optimistic and may result in a decision to buy.

It may not sound right that anger and sadness are on opposite poles, but the reason is simple. Sadness is often largely about loss of control. You feel you are powerless to change the situation, you are a victim, and everything is going downhill regardless of what you do. Anger is about taking control of the situation and deciding you will do something to “show them” and this makes one willing to take a chance.

The annuity producer can tell the reluctant prospects that they should not accept what is happening to them, but that they can fight back. The consumers’ $100,000 IRA may now be worth $60,000 after the stock market’s drop–but the producer can find them a multi-year annuity that guarantees their $100,000 will be back in 10 years and reverse a losing situation! The consumers’ advisor offers no guarantees but is hopeful the consumers will not outlive their investment income — you will guarantee them a 5 percent or 6 percent lifetime income today, and even more if they wait — and the consumers will always be in control!

The message to the reluctant consumer is to get mad, refuse to be a victim and get back at “them” by using the keep-control-solution — a fixed annuity!