I have always been told sales is similar to a teenager’s first car – if you turn the car off to get gas, you aren’t 100 percent sure it will start again. It inevitably does, but you really have to work at it.
The summer lull is over and many advisors tell me they don’t have a reason to contact their clients. The stock market continues to be bullish and clients aren’t complaining. Low interest rates don’t seem attractive enough to reach out to clients. There is a lot of complacency in our industry.
Let me give you a few reasons to contact your clients right now:
The stock market has reached several all-time highs in recent months. There are many signs that the market growth has slowed, or it may be ready to turn to a bear market. Signs such as high P/E ratios and dividend yields resemble those pre-financial crisis. Talk to your clients about sweeping gains off their IRAs using a tax-free direct transfer and lock in the gains from the account. You can protect your clients from a potential bear market and still keep them linked (subject to caps) to equity indices or asset allocation strategies.
The number one fear of Americans remains living past their assets and not having enough income. You can reposition your client’s portfolio, maybe making the portfolio more efficient, by implementing a deferred income annuity strategy. This will help take some longevity risk off the portfolio by making sure your client has income for the rest of their life, irrespective of their asset values.
Earlier this year, the 10-year Treasury reached an all-time low. While no one can predict when rates will rise, the Fed has signaled a potential increase in interest rate policy. This will eventually have a ripple effect on bond prices. Take the time to sit down with clients and talk about that risk. Annuities as short as a five-year duration provide higher yields than 30-year Treasuries as of today (Sept. 9, 2016). Now is a perfect time to diversify the interest rate risk and protect bond portfolio values.
Those are just a couple of reasons you should call clients today. If they don’t start your sales engine, you might have to keep trying to start that old car. Too often, we get lazy as an industry and think that because our clients aren’t calling us they don’t want to hear from us. I challenge you to think differently. I suspect our clients want to hear from us. In fact, they probably think that’s why they are paying us – to reach out and lead them through the complexities of retirement income planning.
Don’t wait for clients to reach out with a difficult situation. Take the initiative to reach out to your clients now and give them options to protect their retirement income savings.
Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of annuities at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”
Professionals have advice for everything, it seems. In the game of golf, they tell you to keep your head down. In real estate, it’s all about “location, location, location.”
In sales, trust and reputation are key to not only creating new relationships and helping new clients, but also in maintaining your current book of business.
As an insurance producer, how does trust and reputation help you find new clients? Well, primarily by referrals. Successful producers are trusted and own a good reputation, therefore their clients may be more inclined to recommend them to other people.
But what about your current clients? As their advisor, you can build even more trust, and grow your reputation by making annual policy reviews a must-do in your practice. What are the advantages of annual reviews?
I am certain there are many more reasons to include annual reviews in your practice, and I would like to include one more: You will likely surpass your clients’ expectations by showing them that you really do care. You will increase your persistency, and will grow your reputation and trust in your community.
Remember, head down in golf, location in real estate, and trust and reputation in sales!
I’m often asked where advisors are finding client funds for fixed and indexed annuities in our current economic environment. In my opinion, most annuity sales are coming from three sources: equities, banks or bonds.
As financial markets reflect increasing volatility, more and more advisors are suggesting that their clients take some of their gains from the last few years off the table. Clients are increasingly open to the idea of protecting their gains by moving some of their equity assets into guaranteed products such as fixed and indexed annuities. Investors who, during the past 14 years, patiently stayed in the market through two severe corrections, are anxious to protect themselves against another potential downturn.
I think banks are the most obvious source of annuity funding. With consumer deposit rates hovering at historic lows for more than five years, clients who’ve been waiting for higher rates are running out of patience. The quest for a higher return without principal fluctuation risk lends itself naturally to fixed and indexed annuities.
In bonds and bond funds, there’s an entire generation of investors who’ve never experienced a prolonged bear market. As advisors are looking at their clients’ asset allocations, many are looking for bond and bond fund alternatives that are not subject to principal deterioration if rates start to rise. Again, fixed and indexed annuities are often the best solution.
You should take a fresh look at your practice’s current client files. Chances are, annuity sales are waiting to be uncovered. Ash Brokerage is here to help you choose the appropriate fixed or indexed annuity for all your clients’ needs.
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