You probably have many clients who enjoy the guaranteed income options provided by annuities. You might also have clients that have life insurance, but they don’t know the many tax-free income options available with Index Universal Life Insurance. What if you could show them a product that combines the best of both products? Well, you can.
The Life of the Southwest’s FlexLife IUL with a Lifetime Income Benefit Rider can provide various income options while still offering the death benefit protection of traditional life insurance. Your client can access thecash value in the policy in two ways: tax-free loans or guaranteed income for life using the LIBR. In addition to being the only carrier with a LIBR on an Indexed Universal Life policy, LSW also has an impressive mix of living benefits included at no extra cost. Why should you have to DIE to use LIFE insurance? By electing to use the Accelerated Death Benefit Rider, the insured is protected from chronic, critical and terminal illnesses.
What triggers using these benefit riders?
- Chronic Illness: If you can’t complete 2 out of 6 activities of daily living for at least 90 days, then you can accelerate benefits under this rider.
- Critical Illness: If the insured is diagnosed with cancer, end-stage renal failure, have a severe heart attack or stroke, or undergo major organ transplant, then you can accelerate a portion of the death benefit with this rider.
- Terminal Illness: If the insured is terminally ill with less than 24 months to live, then they may accelerate benefits under this rider.
The FlexLife contract also uses the power of indexing to grow the cash value. Your client has the option to choose between index crediting methods – four based on the S&P 500 and one based on the MCSI emerging markets index. The client can also choose the funding of the contract through level annual payments, a single premium payment, or by maximizing their payments to provide significant tax-deferred cash value growth.
Over the past two months, I have been meeting with a prospect about his retirement planning. The sales process consisted of many phone appointments and four face-to-face interviews. This particular gentleman has a fair amount of money, a broker, another financial advisor, an attorney, and (this is my favorite part) he has an engineer-type of personality. I enjoyed working with this person for a number of reasons, but primarily because he was open and honest.
During our first phone conversation, he said he would read everything I showed him in great detail. He was also sure to mention that that the materials were subject to review by his other investment advisors and his attorney. He then said, “If what you propose is better than what my other relationships can offer, then I will do business with you.” What a way to start!
After I hung up the phone, I knew I had my work cut out for me. As I stated before, I met with this man four times, and each time we had an appointment, I knew I needed to be on top of my game. Each time, he reminded me that he was going to talk to his other advisors and get back to me. I can recall points during the sales process where I had to push back and really challenge the prospect to think about what I was offering and what he currently owned.
The major turning point happened when I asked the client to look back at his other investments and consider if he would own them again. We re-examined his ultimate goal – safety, growth and a contractually guaranteed retirement income. I then asked him, “Does your current plan accomplish all of these goals?” Of course his answer was, “No. It doesn’t.” I then asked, “ Do you know a better way to accomplish these goals?” He paused for a moment and then nodded in agreement. A few minutes later, we wrote up two annuity applications.
This sales process was a great learning experience for me. It reminded me to be persistent, professional, and ultimately, to challenge the client to really think about his current financial position. Making a sale is a process and requires working through each meeting to properly address concerns and questions as they arise.
Business Succession Planning: Are You Talking About It?
Many financial advisors make it a goal to work with business owners as a part of their financial practice. However, some advisors are still missing the opportunity to discuss succession planning with their small business owner clients and prospects. Often times, within a family or small business, discussing the worst case scenarios (going out of business, death of key employee, etc.) are swept under the rug because no one wants to confront these uncomfortable issues. All the while, the business owner recognizes the need for a plan but does not act…unless they can get a little nudge from you in the right direction.
Did you know that 70% of small business owners think about succession planning but have not put the necessary plans in place?1 In addition to the importance of succession planning with a small business owner, the personal retirement and portfolio needs of the owner are equally as important. You should be sure to cover all the bases when meeting with the prospect about their needs. These needs can include life insurance and estate planning, as well as retirement income planning.
Think of a business owner’s needs like a railroad: one rail is business succession planning and the other rail is retirement planning. The rails are headed in the same direction, and most business owners are going to pull into the “station” (i.e. retirement) unprepared to pass on or sell their business and enjoy retirement. If you have any small business owners you are working with, give your Business Developer a call to discuss their needs and finalize a workable solution: 800.734.0076.
1. Mitigating Risk and Capitalizing Opportunities,” Market Facts Quarterly, LIMRA 2011.
Have you ever noticed the variety of people who work on the showroom sales floor of a car dealership? There’s usually someone for everyone! You see the well-groomed businessman, the girl-next-door-type, the no-nonsense lady who’s been around forever, the cowboy, and the beach bum who can high-five and hang-ten with the best of ‘em. This is just good marketing – different people respond to, well, different types of people and approaches.
In an independent sales practice, you need to inject as much variety as possible – not in personal manners necessarily, but in the mechanics of the business. For instance, I really like to do a bi-monthly generic email blast to my entire file of contacts. This email is nothing too heavy – just a “touch” email that has at least one substantial idea for their consideration. It is usually about a paragraph long, at the most, and I consistently get significant replies from these spontaneous blasts. Sometimes, they even yield fresh appointments and sales, and they are definitely worth the twenty-minute investment.
However, as you already know, not everyone likes to communicate via email – especially the people who don’t own a computer! So, if you are relegated to use just the phone with a certain segment of your prospects, then be prepared to use it well.
Always be prepared to leave a voicemail that will stand out from the run-of-the-mill variety that people expect to hear everyday. Use a quippy quote or employ a folksy style to pique their curiosity – and hopefully to grab their interest. Before you dial the number, make sure your own mood is upbeat and your voice is energetic. Then, work your own phone number into the recording as early as possible. I always repeat my phone number in succession whenever I give it, and then I give it once again at the end of the message. I also thank them in advance for the courtesy of returning call.
This activity does not take a lot of time, and obviously, it doesn’t cost a lot of money either! This quick marketing exercise reminds all of your prospects and clients that you are still here, and that you are still thinking about them.
Remember – if you have specific questions or comments about this subject – Contact your business developer – 800.734.0076
Vince Lombardi, revered as the greatest coach in the history of the NFL, was renowned for his emphasis on fundamentals. Often, in speeches to his players, he would focus heavily on the fundamentals of the game. He always pushed them to get back to the basics. Many of Lombardi’s ideas and quotes have been used throughout sports and business alike.
Sometimes, I feel like I need to get back to the basics myself.
As advisors, we live in a world of constant change – market movements, regulation, compliance, products, products, and more products! As financial professionals, it is our job to stay on top of these changes and to instruct our clients appropriately.
As important as it is to take care of my clients, I have to ask myself, “What about my responsibility to myself as a salesperson?” Well, that’s where – every now and then – I just have to force myself to go back to the basics. Investment and regulation climates may be ever- fluctuating, but people are still going to be people.
People will always love to buy, and they will always hate to be sold. They will, at times, make decisions emotionally and will do business with people they like and trust. Your clients need to be educated, but they can also easily suffer from information overload.
There are so many variables in the sales process, rendering even the most brilliant of advisors’ success directly correlated to their sales skills. This is why sticking to a well structured first appointment is so important. Every advisor that belongs to Tucker Advisors has access to our first appointment process. This is the culmination of insights from literally thousands of hours spent in first appointments from multiple, successful advisors. Review this process again and again – and then use it! It can help you become a better advisor – and make more sales.
When the score is close, it is interesting to watch the waning moments of a professional ball game. The players and coaches of the team that is behind always have a predetermined, well-conceived strategy to utilize every waning opportunity to the best advantage possible. Even in situations that seem hopeless, that strategy properly implemented may very well secure the victory in a game that seems lost. Just ask the Denver Broncos who lost a playoff game last season when the Ravens executed just such a plan at the end of the game. The key to such success is devising the strategy beforehand and then being prepared to energetically execute that plan if it becomes necessary.
In our business, we have all faced situations when clients depart our office leaving us feeling that there is no hope for a sale. It is in these situations that we, like a good coach, also need to have a carefully devised plan that will allow us the possibility of still securing a sale – even though the immediate circumstances appear bleak. And like a successful coach, our key to a future sale is to have a strategy in place that will give us a second opportunity.
Such a successful strategy begins with having and presenting a warm and friendly manner without being gushy or appearing insincere. Maintaining a professional attitude does not mean that you are aloof and insensitive to the human side of your potential clients. Many times, the folks we meet have serious life burdens. Yes, being genuinely “warm and fuzzy” is ok, and it is even more meaningful if you can offer hope and help solve their financial challenges. People will remember that you cared about them and will be much more willing to respond positively to you in future contacts.
A successful plan for a second or even a third time at bat with any prospect should also include these strategies:
- Be thorough in fact finding: This not only creates the foundation for a sale today, but also provides information and reason for future contacts and sales.
- Stay in contact with your prospects: An occasional call, note, or card related to some specific information gained in your initial interview is appropriate, but don’t overdo it.
- Send meaningful notes: Consider some inexpensive mailing service like SendOutCards to make it easier and inexpensive to keep in touch using personalized cards instead of some impersonal “drip” system”.
- Stay positive: Maintain a positive, friendly attitude toward the people you talk with as they are leaving your office, just as you had when they arrived – even if they do not write business with you initially.
Having a plan in case you do not make a sale today does not mean you are planning for failure. It means that you are planning for success—even if it might mean waiting patiently for a long time. With no plan, however, you are much more likely to give yourself only one time at bat.