It’s a refrain that field marketing executives like William E. Kauffman, Jr., CLU, ChFC, hear more frequently these days from agents and advisors seeking to better serve their clients while boosting their own revenue.
Whether it’s a fixed or variable contract, an immediate or deferred product, annuities can indeed add a new dimension to an advisory practice. But as sales and marketing experts like Kauffman, vice president of financial products at Senior Market Sales in Omaha, Neb., know from extensive experience in the field, a robust annuity book of business isn’t handed to you. Rather, it’s built through preparation, dedication and resourcefulness.
These 10 strategic suggestions should help get you where you want to go.
1. Get educated
Advisors who do best in the annuity market know their products and their providers inside and out, says Bob Affronti, CEO of FSD Financial, a Tarzana, Calif.-based independent annuity and insurance wholesaler and marketing organization. “You should know which companies to go to and which products to use for each and every situation.
Matching clients to the best product depends on a whole lot of factors–age, sex and the types of features and benefits they want or need. It all starts with education.” IMOs such as Kauffman’s and Affronti’s can serve as good educational resources for agents and advisors, as can your peers, along with insurance carriers that offer annuity products.
2. Get securities licensed
The broader the array of annuity products an advisor offers, the better positioned he or she will be to provide clients with suitable solutions. So the investment of time and money to get a Series 6 and/or Series 7 license to sell variable annuities can pay big dividends.
3. Offer solutions to income and longevity concerns
No matter how diverse their circumstances and how differing their mindsets, says Kauffman, “just about all your clients who are thinking about or are in retirement have a need for [retirement] income planning.”
“I’d say 75 percent to 90 percent of advisors have clients who need longevity insurance–an income that’s guaranteed to last a lifetime,” Affronti adds. A single-premium immediate annuity can be the vehicle to provide that income, as can a variable annuity or a fixed index annuity with some type of guaranteed withdrawal or guaranteed income benefit.
Having allocated assets into the annuity to address the retirement income concern, notes Kauffman, “you can set aside other assets for continued accumulation. Given how long people are living these days, they need to continue building assets through retirement. People can’t just shift entirely from accumulation to distribution anymore when they retire.”
4. Mine your existing book of business
“Open up your file drawer,” Kauffman says, “and you will find all those clients you’ve sold health insurance or life insurance to probably need your help [with other aspects of their retirement portfolio]. They’re looking for fresh ideas, and you can be the one to supply them.”