When it comes to annuity appointment setting, the most effective technique by far is the Drop-By System. However, if you’ve totaled your car, broken both legs and must resort to a phone call, I’ve always taught my agents that the best way to engage your prospect on the phone is to open with a statement that is anything but your typical warm fuzzy, “How are you today?” Your statement must (1) make them sweat a little and (2) pose a problem which is at the same time a benefit of owning an annuity (without saying the word ‘annuity’). Note: This formula works with any product.
For example, “Hello, Mrs. Jones? My name is _______, from the _____ agency down the street, and I’ve been trying to reach you because I find that some of my retired clients are paying income taxes on their social security, and they don’t need to. I’m a financial advisor in the area and I can show you how to reduce or eliminate income taxes on your social security. I’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes with you unless you keep me longer. There’s no charge. I’ve got Wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 on thursday afternoon be better for you?”
Your prospect’s responsibility at this point is to say, “No thanks, I’m not interested,” or maybe something not so kindhearted. You’ve just interrupted her world. However, you’ll do much better at annuity appointment setting if you understand that a ‘No’ is simply a latent reaction from childhood. In our formative years, the one word we heard more than any other was the dreaded, “No!” It’s what we got almost every time we asked for something:
“Mommy, can I have a cookie?”
“Daddy, can I drive the car?”
Your job as a professional salesperson is to understand that humans are hardwired to respond to practically any proposition with the word, “No.” It’s how our circuits work. Negative responses can range from a simple ‘no’ to a blistering harangue. Your steadfast, automatic response must be to pull the plug, short-circuit the connection, neutralize the way your prospect’s mind works.
Try the old ‘feel, felt, found’: “I can certainly understand how you feel, mrs. Jones. A lot of people I talk to including a few of your neighbors felt the same way at first. But after they understood the problem and how simple the solution was, they found they were saving hundreds of dollars a year in unnecessary taxes.” By pouring water on your prospect’s natural resistance, you weaken their response and, at the same time, maneuver the phone call into a back-and-forth conversation.
Now you’ve earned the right to continue: “…You see, we find that a lot of people simply don’t realize that a portion of their estate that they want to leave to their children and grandchildren will be eaten up in probate court, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m a financial advisor in this area and I can show you how to fix that. I’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes with you unless you keep me longer. There’s no charge. I’ve got wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 this Thursday afternoon be better for you?”
Get ready for it. Here it comes again: “No thanks,” she says, “we’ve already got a financial advisor who’s been with us for years.” Mrs. Jones is only playing her part in this annuity appointment setting rivalry. At the same time, she’s telling you exactly how she wants you to get her to say yes. Pay attention to her words. This time you’re going to, first, neutralize her objection, then use her exact words to identify “… THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT THE MOST FROM OUR SERVICES.”
For example, “I can certainly understand how you feel, mrs. Jones (neutralize). However, the people who benefit the most from our services are the ones who already have financial advisors. See, a good financial advisor, just like a good doctor, will often advise you to get a second opinion. I’m a specialist in this area and I can show you how to avoid the expense and delays of probate. I’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes with you unless you keep me longer. There’s no charge. I’ve got Wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 on thursday afternoon be better for you?”
At this point, if you don’t hear a click and a dial tone, you may hear a slight wavering in her voice. Her “We-already-have-a-financial-advisor” line worked with the last salesperson. What’s up with you? Now she has to either think about her response or default to the old standby, “I’m not interested.” If she responds with anything but “I’m not interested,” she’ll be telling you how she wants you to get her to say yes. These responses can include,
“I’m too busy right now.”
“Our son-in-law takes care of those things.”
“We’ve already got all the insurance we need.”
“I don’t have any money.”
“I never accept telephone solicitations.”
You must stay one step ahead of your opponent by preparing your script for all possible scenarios. Sit down and write them out in your own words. Use the above script as an outline and insert the gist of her response in the appropriate places. Then follow up with another problem for her to worry about which is also a benefit of owning an annuity. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Annuity appointment setting is a game of wits and circular logic. The more you differentiate yourself from the last three telemarketers she sent to the insane asylum, the more successful you’ll be at appointment setting and, ultimately, selling annuities.
Finally, if you’re dealing with an indifferent, uncreative type who just can’t come up with anything but, “I’m not interested,” try this:
“Mrs. Jones, it’s okay if you’re not interested. I just want to ask you one question. Work with me here. Imagine that everything you’re worth – your home, your savings, your investments, everything – was going to be taken away from you first thing next week. And let’s say I called you just like I’m doing today, and told you I could protect your financial future in a responsible way so that none of those bad things would happen. Would you still tell me you’re not interested, or would you let me sit down with you and show you how it works before anything like that happens?
You see, we know that many people, maybe even you, have a lot of their life’s savings sitting in the bank, or in stocks and bonds, or in real estate, where it can be attached by a judgment in a civil court of law… And it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m a financial advisor in this area and I can show you how to fix that. I’ll spend 10 to 15 minutes with you unless you keep me longer. There’s no charge. I’ve got wednesday morning at 10:00 available, or would 2:00 this thursday afternoon be better for you?”
Get the picture? You need to eat, sleep and breathe annuity appointment setting.