Let’s start with a little exercise. Repeat after me:
- “You don’t need an annuity.”
- “An annuity is not the right product for you.”
- “Right now, an annuity doesn’t fit your needs.”
Feel better? Well, you should, because you need to be prepared to say this a lot as the popularity of annuities continues to ramp up along with ongoing misinformation about the product.
As long as Internet pop up ads or local radio ads “claim” 6 percent, 7 percent, 10 percent-plus guarantees (without mentioning the word rider), agents and advisors will continue to receive calls from potential customers wanting to find out if the annuity product is as good as the ad describes. I get tons of these calls wanting to either hear the truth or have me hopefully validate the dream they just bought.
The funny part about almost every call is that they always start out telling me what they think the product does, or what they thought they heard during the sales presentation. They will mention a bonus, or an unfortunate phrase like “it pays 7 percent.” It’s hilarious, and disturbing, because it always seems like they hang on to a couple of irrelevant bullet points. I always stop them during their regurgitated pseudo presentation and start asking questions about them (not the product), and what they really want the money to solve for. I could care less about any of the product details their brains are holding on to. The primary question that has to be asked and answered is: “What do you want the money to specifically do and solve for?”
Then after that question is asked, we, as annuity agents and advisors, need to do the one thing we can all improve on and be better at. That one thing is the ability to LISTEN.
Refer to a specialist
People who recommend annuities need to be able to listen to the clients and prospects, ask good qualifying questions, and hopefully match their goals with an annuity strategy that contractually solves for their specific transfer of risk need. If you realize that an annuity is going to be a square peg trying to be fit into a round hole, then you have to refer that business to another specialist that can provide an appropriate solution that you don’t offer.