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Life Health > Annuities

7 secrets to selling annuities

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Have you ever tried to talk to a prospect about annuities and gotten a blank stare, or worse, a quick, “Not interested”?

Yes, annuities can sometimes be a tough sell. They are complex financial instruments that are not easily understood by the media or the general public. Therefore, convincing a prospect to buy an annuity can be a difficult, even arduous, process.

Yet here at, we talk to successful annuity salespeople and experts all the time. From those interviews we culled some of the best advice on how to sell annuities. Here are some of the secrets they shared that could help you boost your annuity sales.

After years of selling life and health insurance, Mike Volner of Volner Financial Group, switched his focus to fixed and fixed indexed annuities and has had four straight years of $20 million-plus in production.

“I’ve learned how they can be a financial cornerstone, whether you want your money to just sit there and grow or you need income.”

From “Mike Volner pushes away prospects. Yes, really.” Senior Market Advisor, January 2013

“Advisors need to be concerned about Europe because when that time bomb goes off it would put all local economic markets in some turmoil. I don’t know when. I don’t think anybody does. But I think we haven’t seen the worst of it. And advisors need to be aware of it because of the potential volatility in their clients’ portfolios, which again leads back to the safety and security of a lot of the things we do with our older clients like indexed annuities. People want safety and security, but they don’t want to sacrifice all their growth potential. Those can be very powerful tools to do that if they are used correctly.”

— Jim Brogan, founder and president of Brogan Financial

From “A day in the life of Jim Brogan, 2011 Advisor of the Year,” Senior Market Advisor, September 2011

“The solution for me and the baby boomers is to position myself in a fixed annuity/indexed annuity, which allows me to lock in the gains, have no losses and receive a guaranteed fixed rate of return of 6 percent, 7 percent or 8 percent with an income rider. That gives me the ability to receive a retirement income when I need it, which is guaranteed for life and has to stay tax deferred, thus allowing me to outpace inflation.

“I overcome the fear of surrender charges by telling them there is a price for liquidity. How much is peace of mind worth to you? Would you rather have 50 percent gains and no losses or 100 percent gains and 100 percent losses? Their final objection is wanting to keep their money in the stock market; I overcome this by the ‘Power of Zero.’ If the market crashes, they stay the same; when the market rises, they go up without having to start from the bottom and work their way up. Simply put they don’t have enough time to go back and earn the money they have spent a lifetime acquiring.”

— John Zidan, owner and president, Retirement First

From “Protecting boomers from themselves,” Senior Market Advisor, May 2012

Mark Pruitt, CEO, president and founder of Strategic Estate Planning Services, Inc. and Senior Market Advisor’s 2012 Advisor of the Year, said that after two years of doing workshops with prospects and clients, he has found that people want four elements in an investment: safety; growth; no or less taxes; and 100 percent liquidity at all times. Such a product “does not exist,” Pruitt says. However, he says that most people are willing to give up some liquidity for safety and growth and therefore, one solution could be a fixed lifetime income annuity.

Pruitt also says he educates clients on stock market performance over the past 100 years and how the variations in returns can impact a hypothetical nest egg. In particular, he says, clients don’t want to be in the stock market when drawing down retirement income. “This is why annuities fit,” he said. “They are guaranteed to keep up with inflation and provide an income stream for life.”

From “Safety first mentality leads seniors, boomers to annuities,”, January 9, 2013

“We can show [clients] that they can take control, turn off all the noise, and build their own pension and an income stream that won’t run out before they run out of breath. And they can give money to the kids.”

Younger seniors in their 50s are beginning to understand the importance of building a contractually guaranteed income stream with an insurance company with an annuity.

With the fiscal cliff dominating the headlines, it is a good time to focus clients on safety with a fixed annuity or a fixed indexed annuity. “With less at risk, they will lose less money. They can take control rather than being fearful.”

— Jeff Bucher, president and co-founder, Citizen Advisory Group

From “Safety first mentality leads seniors, boomers to annuities,”, January 9, 2013

Jack Keeter, president of Jack Keeter & Associates and the Jack Keeter Study Group, says before any sale can be made, trust must be established between the advisor and client. “People don’t need an annuity; they need good advice.”

From “Trust before the sale” LifeHealthPro, Nov. 28, 2012

 “We hear a lot about the retirement crisis, that the gap nationally is in the trillions of dollars. What the financial representative has to do is bring it down to a personal level: ‘You have a gap of $9,000. What does that mean to you as an individual?’ Now it’s an understandable number. So in 2013, it’s about guarantees, simplicity of the story and helping people understand on a personal basis how to mitigate the risks they face in retirement and how they leverage assets they’ve been accumulating to provide guaranteed income they cannot outlive.”

— Douglas Dubitsky, vice president, product management and development for retirement solutions, Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America


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