Fixed annuity salespeople are the “Peace Corps” of the financial services industry, and should be proud of what they do and the solutions they provide.
I get a lot of heat from agents and industry types from some of my opinion pieces because I do voice my frustrations with some of the bad things going on in the annuity industry. You can’t blame a person for caring, and my passion and outspoken nature is just an effort to protect what’s right about the fixed annuity industry. With that being said, it’s time for the fixed annuity agents of the world to fully understand the importance of their role and realize that they (we) can be a noble profession.
Selling certainty or selling guarantees?
I normally use the phrase “selling guarantees,” but was recently contacted by a 50-year industry veteran that had seen a lot of carrier carnage through the years and urged me to start using the word “certainty” in place of guarantee. He referenced past carrier issues along with a realistic outlook going forward and the more I thought about it, the more I think he is right. Once you utter the word guarantee and attach it to anything, you can always hear a grandfatherly voice in the back of your mind saying “there’s nothing guaranteed in life.” That little man on your shoulder is right, and the word “certainty” sounds better anyway and is commercially more appealing as well.
Fixed annuity people sell certainty. We sell the certainty of an income stream that you can never outlive. If you want to sound fancy, call it solving for “longevity risk.” We sell the certainty of you never losing your money and having full principal protection. We sell the certainty of a contractual death benefit that is guaranteed to grow at an annual rate to be left in full to your beneficiaries upon your passing. We sell the minimum guarantee of a policy if everything in the world goes wrong. We sell certainty. We provide certainty to a portfolio. We give people the certainty of what’s going to happen with their money. That’s what we do, and we the fixed annuity industry should be overly proud of that.
Who else can say those types of things, and mean it. Doctors can’t. Our beloved risk-maven stock gurus can’t. Depending on where you stand on religion, the only profession that can pound the table with passion like we can is a preacher. They are truly the only ones that know the end result of their “sale” and that can even be compared to our product certainty. I know that you evangelical types have fallen off of your chair and are getting ready to yell at me, but you know the point I am trying to make. For all of you atheists out there, forget the previous four sentences! Just kidding…but you get what I’m trying to say.
The next time someone asks you what you do for a living, try this answer out: “I sell certainty.” Three very simple words, but with an impact that is unmatched in the financial services industry. After you say that, then just shut up and see what their response is. It’s the ultimate elevator speech in my opinion, and truthfully explains what we do as fixed annuity advocates. We sell certainty. If a softball question comes back like “What kind of certainty?”; then my hope is that you can completely knock that one out of the ballpark. If not, then here are a couple of hints. Principal protection. Income for life. Legacy. Long-term or confinement care. The acronym is PILL, and those four things easily synopsize what we do.