|To gain success early in your financial planning career, call ProspectMatch 866-452-8354|
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|To gain success early in your financial planning career, call ProspectMatch 866-452-8354|
A lot of insurance agents are unfamiliar with Internet marketing and don’t understand how to do it. One of the easiest ways to to use the Internet for insurance lead generation is to use Google Adwords.
Adwords allows you to create your own advertisements and choose important words to match your ads to your audience and generate annuity leads or insurance leads. You set the cost of your advertising by bidding the amount you pay only when insurance prospects click on your Adwords ad. This is named a “pay-per-click” program. Any agent caring to advertise a business with Google can enroll for their insurance lead generation. Google also offers a local option so that you promote your business only locally.
Google AdWords is fairly easy to use and they also offer training seminars and one-on-one assistance to set up your account. You produce ads that Google shows next to regular search results. For example, your ads show when a prospect researches keywords you’ve selected (e.g. term insurance, buy insurance, best insurance, deferred annuity) that you want to promote to gain clients. That way, when people look-up these phrases and click on your ad, they become you fresh insurance leads. Simple so far.
As opposed to most advertising, you don’t pay Google when it exposes your ad; you pay only when an insurance prospect clicks your ad. If a web surfer searches Google for say “annuities”, Google displays your ad alongside articles and news about annuities. If somebody searches Google for your important phrases (those that you select), you know they’re in all likelihood looking for your services and may likely be a good annuity lead. AdWords can thus be a great alternative when you want to direct your ads to a specific audience, such as prospects seeking life annuities.
AdWords is good for a small marketing budget. Even though Adwords may be an economic insurance lead generation, option, know that there are LOTS of others targeting popular key phrases like “life insurance” or “annuities.” AdWords doesn’t charge a set price per ad; you bid on the important phrases that you want to link to your ads and those bids are competing against others (e.g. other insurance agents or even insurance companies). If you bid higher than others who bid on the same key word, your ad will probably appear near the top of the sponsored ads and will appear more often (i.e. better position so you get more clicks and more leads). If you bid less, then your ad won’t be seen as much.
For example, if you set a upper limit bid of 45 cents for the phrase “deferred annuities”, and the next highest bid is 33 cents, Google gives your ad preference among the sponsored links it displays when somebody searches “annuities” and it is likely your ad will be seen (displayed) more. But with a popular targeted phrase like “deferred annuities”, in all likelihood the high bid is 15 dollars per click and your bid of forty-five cents will make it so that your ad is never shown, i.e. not very robust insurance lead generation.
To decide which ads get displayed the most, Google takes into account the bid and also accounts for the number of people who click through each advertisement, giving preference to the more popular ads. You cannot, therefore, buy the top spot unconditionally just by bidding more but your bid is the most important element in determining how much exposure your ad obtains and ultimately, how many insurance leads you get.
The trick when you get accustomed at using Adwords is uncovering key phrases where you have low bid competition but you get good traffic i.e. a lot of the right visitors. Once you hit on the sweet spot of key phrases for your insurance agency, you have a solid avenue for insurance lead generation.
If it all sounds like burdensome work, get ProspectMatch to manage it for you.
To gain success early in your financial advisor career,
call ProspectMatch 866-452-8354
Many advisors and insurance agents feel it’s important to educate their prospects. There’s an idea that if you educate your prospects, they can make good financial decisions. We at ProspectMatch disagree.
I have 18 years of education, 20 years of experience and various credentials. My prospects will never know a fraction of what I know, no matter how many hours I spend educating them. It’s my job to know what choices they should make and tell them so. I come from the securities industry. In that industry, the professional is responsible for the client taking the correct action. If my client wants to buy stock options and that’s not suitable for them, I will be held liable if I allow them to make that investment. Therefore, it becomes my judgment to know what they should do.
Our research at ProspectMatch indicates that, as explained above, it is the professional’s responsibility, because of his experience and knowledge, to recommend choices for the investor/insurance buyer, not to give them a menu of options and a ton of information. More importantly, we know that in your sales communication, you will have far more procrastination if you let the client make the choices.
Of course, you still need your prospect’s agreement for your recommendations. So rather than educate them by telling them (the usual mode of education in this country), please educate them by asking questions. They already know the answers and you can have them educate themselves.
We teach the following method of selling at ProspectMatch. Here’s what educating (and selling) by asking questions looks like:
Professional: What are your plans when your health changes?
Just by asking questions, this “sale” and the prospect’s education is mostly complete. Notice how much more efficient this is than “telling,” handling lots of questions and potential objections. At ProspectMatch we know that when prospects see the solutions for themselves, they cannot object to their own insights.
The payoffs to educating selling by asking questions are enormous. They increase your sales success in five ways:
1. Questions direct your prospect’s thoughts. When you speak, your prospect’s mind wanders, he thinks up objections, he questions the validity of your facts, he questions your credibility and he may even think about what to have for dinner. But when you ask a question, you get laser-focused attention. We have been continuously trained to answer questions as accurately and completely as possible, starting from the first grade. Correctly answering questions is even the basis for most television game shows. So when you ask questions, you take advantage of your prospect’s cultural training to provide their full attention and best answer.
2. Questions allow you to find out the necessary facts (ethically important for any advisor and legally important for securities licensees to comply with the “know your client” rule).
3. Emotional questions allow you to determine the “emotional facts” (your prospect’s likes/dislikes). If you don’t know how your prospect feels, you cannot make a recommendation that feels “right.”
4. Questions increase your stature and credibility in the prospect’s eyes. The fastest indicator of a person’s intelligence and caring are the questions they ask.
5. Questions allow you to maintain control of the conversation because the person asking the question controls the conversation, while the person answering has lost control.
How to Sell Annuities to Prospects Who Don’t Want an Annuity Investors seeking to invest money usually don’t look for an annuity. What investors want are the benefits that the annuity delivers. Similarly, people don’t walk around wanting a root canal. What they do want is relief from tooth pain. This most important distinction between the product and it’s benefits means that if you start talking to people about annuities rather than the benefit of annuities, you will forfeit a lot of sales. Our company ProspectMatch matches prospects with financial professionals and we have always found been dismayed that financial professionals only want leads of prospects seeking information on the products and services sold by the financial professional. In other words, the average annuity agent only wants us to match him with prospects that have expressed interest in annuities (annuity leads) , people that can be an annuity sale. Other prospect types have interest in financial planning, mutual fund investments, life insurance, etc. yet most annuity agents are not interested in these other prospects. This is frankly not very smart. Investors frequently don’t want the securities they buy; what they truly desire are the benefits of their choices. No one goes looking for life insurance, annuities, root canal, brain surgery, etc. What these buyers desire are the benefits of these necessary evils. People with money desire to minimize taxes and secure their principal (benefits provided by a fixed annuity), financial protection for their family (benefits provided by life insurance), teeth that don’t hurt (benefits provided by a root canal) and to remain alive (benefits provided by brain surgery). If anyone went to the physician and the physician said “I sell brain sugary–let me tell you about it,” people would run away, fast. But that’s exactly what you and other annuity agents do selling annuities. So don’t be surprised when prospects don’t return your calls. However, successful annuity agents have an interest in these prospect types I mentioned above, those prospects that have interest in their finances (e.g. financial planning, mutual funds, tax reduction) but have not expressed any interest in annuities. The rich agents know that people buy annuities who started off saying they did not want an annuity (because they had no idea what it was). Here’s the logic of the rich annuity agents in cultivating and selling to a wider group of prospects: 1. When people express interest in a financial product or service, it does not mean that they will buy that particular product or service and it does not matter. The rich agent merely wants an appointment to explore the motivations of a prospect who takes initiative and determine if the prospect’s desires fit with the products/service the agent offers. 2. A prospect who takes initiative (e.g. completes a form on the Internet with all of their contact information) means that the prospect is motivated to seek a solution. That’s the important part–talking to a prospect who takes initiative and action. The rich annuity agent wants to speak to any motivated viable prospect and has sufficient confidence that if an annuity will help the prospect achieve his goals, the agent will have a sale. And that agent is also okay finding out out that there may not be a fit with the prospect and ends the meeting in 5 minutes. The end result is: meeting more people with motivation selling more annuities getting more referrals How many clients have you lost because you have failed to cultivate a general interest from a motivated prospect desiring to take financial action?
Insurance professionals tell us at Prospect Match that insurance marketing, obtaining new business, is their #1 challenge. However it is silly as every day, a large number of people send checks to Fidelity, to Vanguard, to USAA, Prudential, Hancock, as well as other financial services companies that don’t even have a sales staff. So there is not any lack of potential customers; it’s that life insurance agents, annuity agents, financial planners, stockbrokers–they mainly run after prospective buyers rather than pull them in, as the large businesses do.
Big corporations use a really easy marketing and advertising technique. They toss out bait like an offer for a booklet “How to Rollover Your IRA” by running a full page ad in the NY Times. Within the next forty eight hours, they likely get a couple thousand responses. And now they have the couple thousand men and women who are really interested in what they offer. Individual financial sales professionals, on the other hand, hunt after individuals they have no concept are interested. They do everything from cold calling to networking to begging for referrals. Prospect Match sees that most of these methods are not productive as these sales professionals still report an inadequate flow of new business. But, the individual financial professional can instead use the exact same effective methods of the large firms (at a tiny fraction of the cost)
You don’t require a huge budget for efficient insurance marketing usng the ProspectMatch method. You simply need an offer informational documents like the big players do. For instance, check out the Sunday newspaper. You will likely see some large advertisements presenting booklets such as “Three Ways to Have a Stressless Retirement” or “5 Mistakes to Miss When Moving Your IRA.” Fidelity, Merrill Lynch and others get thousands of calls from motivated and engaged potential customers. How come you run after potential clients rather than have the exact same approach of having prospects call you?
You don’t to have thousands of dollars to advertise in the Sunday newspaper. You are able to use the Internet for a really low cost. You may use Google Adwords pay-per-click advertising or run text ads on certain web sites. For example, doing a look-up on “Columbus Ohio senior” disclosed 6 Internet sites that cater to older persons in that city. Seems like an excellent place to run an ad for your pamphlet “The Good and Bad of Annuities.” The prices for these ads ranged from $20 to 50 dollars per month when I last checked– really affordable. I started my own business precisely this way with a $52 ad in a senior citizen newspaper advertising such a brochure. I was then talking to the curious people instead of making use of a shot-gun method trying to get in touch with anyone that would listen.
Here’s what happens using the ProspectMatch method. The prospect calls for your brochure. You send it. You follow-up in 2 days having a non-threatening phone call inquiring on the benefits of the booklet. You inquire and have the prospect reveal their interest or problem, what motivated them to obtain the brochure. When you have sales skills or talent, it is possible to convert a significant fraction of these inquiries into appointments. By the way, when I invited these men and women that ordered the pamphlet to my seminars, 33% attended. Now you realize the way to discover responsive potential customers for a tiny investment.
Now that’s not a challenging strategy to do insurance marketing, is it?
If honest with yourself, you’ll admit that you have lost more investment or insurance sales over your career than you have closed. While at first this may not seem true because your brain likes to interpret the past to your benefit, most prospects don’t do business with you. What do you have–300, maybe 400 clients? And over the years you have spoken to 3000, maybe 4000 prospects? Most of them have said “I’ll think about it and disappeared. Your financial sales efforts have been largely wasted. It’s a conceptually simple matter to improve your financial sales batting average. Selling financial products successfully is dependent on your explaining the financial product from the prospect’s point of view, not your point of view.
Let’s take the following example of selling annuities. When I ask insurance agents why prospects resist buying annuities, I am told, “they don’t want to lock their money up.” HUH? Every annuity I have ever seen is perfectly liquid–the policy owner can cash it in at any time. There is no locking the money up. When I make this statement, the agents then tell me that the annuity funds are locked up by the surrender charge. “No,” I say, “the money is perfectly liquid” and if the prospect thinks it’s locked up, that idea got into their mind only one way–you put it there. Because YOU view the surrender charge as locking up the prospect’s money, that’s what you communicate and you lose the sale.
These two issues are distinct:
1. having perfectly liquidity (as every annuity does, can be cashed in at any time)
2. the owner paying for that liquidity feature, let’s call it an “impatience penalty”
So we see that the money is NOT locked up, its just an issue of the prospect being sufficiently patient to take advantage of what annuities offer. In fact, I sell annuities from a different aspect.
Once I present the benefits of the annuity, I tell the prospect “but this is not for you unless you are a patient investor because only patient investors can get these benefits.”
Prospect: I’m patient, really, this is for me (interesting how people want what is being taken away from them)
Me: You better be because it costs you if you’re not. Look what happens (as I show them the schedule of impatience penalties). If you’re not patient and you want to take your money out in the first year, it costs you 6% of your balance, so this is not for you unless you’re patient.”
Prospect: No problem, once I make a decision, I stick with it.
Now, the prospect is trying to convince me his is patient and won’t incur the “impatience penalty.” Of course, because you’ve been selling financial products from your point of view, you’ve been calling this a surrender charge because that’s what the insurance company told you to call it (you’ve been brainwashed to think like the financial products tell you to think). You tell me which phrase has more meaning to the prospect: “surrender charge” or “impatience penalty.” And which would you rather do–convince prospects as you have been that the surrender charge is no big deal as you try to twist their arm to buy OR have the prospect convince you that they are indeed patient enough for your financial product?
It takes some hard thought in a quiet place to determine how your prospects view the world and how you can best sell financial products and services to them. I can assure that without making this effort, you will continue to lose most financial sales opportunities because prospects don’t share your point of view.