Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chris Conklin's Insights are Popular on

Chris Conklin, Principal and Actuary at Insurance Insight Group, is a regularly featured columnist on where his life and annuity insights receive a lot of attention. One of his recent articles "Where three types of annuities fit in a client's portfolio" spent several weeks on the top of the "Most Popular" articles list and still sits high on the "Editor's Top Picks" list.

When you click on one of the links above, you can also sign up as a fan of Chris Conklin. When you register as a fan you receive notifications when he has a new article posted. His articles are targeted at providing insights to enable agents, carriers and marketing organizations to succeed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Perfect Annuity Prospecting: Seven Times with the Same Method

Michael Poirot, marketing director at Game Plan Financial Marketing, talks with numerous annuity producers daily to help them determine what prospecting methods might work best for them. He indicates that he has seen financial advisors have success with newspaper advertising, direct mail, seminars and radio shows.

He says it is always important to advertise a hot topic. Right now, financial consumer concerns are related to the economy’s instability and the collapse of the stock and real estate markets. Any advertising that talks about safety, guaranteed returns and attractive places to put money in today’s tough environment will have appeal.

Poirot also says the seven-time rule is key. “If you can’t afford to repeat your message to your target audience seven times, you need to find another prospecting method.”

For more, read Hit the Jackpot with the Power of Seven or Why Seven Times?

Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Add Comment” link below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Perfect Annuity Prospecting: Why Seven Times?

Many financial advisors try a prospecting method once or twice, determine that the results did not meet expectations and stop using it. That seems to make good business sense. After all, why would you want to spend good money after bad? But insurance marketing experts say repetition is key, even if the initial results seem disheartening.

Brian D. Mann is the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Partners Advantage Insurance Services and a multimillion-dollar producer. He finds that repeat mailings usually yield good results for his organization and for his personal practice.

“You have to stay in front of your annuity prospects in order to build credibility and to position yourself as having the expertise they need,” Mann says. “When a need arises or when something finally captures their attention, they will call you. You have to be committed and consistent in your marketing practices.”

If you think about it, driving just a few miles on a major commercial street presents you with hundreds of commercial messages from the businesses you pass. Plus, reading a magazine, listening to the radio, watching television and surfing the Web present you with hundreds more every day. The reality is that you are constantly bombarded with such commercial messages, so you are accustomed to mentally blocking out most of them.

That is why repetition is so important. Each time your message is repeated to the customer, whether it is in the same form or a slightly different form, it moves your target audience a little closer to responding to you, because they see a reason to become more familiar with you.

For more, read our first blog post: Hit the Jackpot with the Power of Seven. Our next post will discuss prospecting Seven Times with the Same Method.

Share your thoughts by clicking on the “Add Comment” link below.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Perfect Annuity Prospecting: Hit the Jackpot with the Power of Seven

Many a financial advisor has tried a wide variety of annuity prospecting methods without success. Open any industry publication and you will see advertisements touting the benefits of using direct mail, holding seminars, running newspaper advertisements or creating a Web site. Recently, more elaborate business strategies such as starting an income tax preparation service have become popular.

But many exasperated insurance professionals exclaim, “I’ve tried a bunch of those things, and none of them work!” And even many annuity marketing organizations seem to struggle to find an annuity lead generation system that works reliably for their agents.

So, what is the answer? Why do some agents have incredible success with annuity prospecting while others have none? Are all these vendors that claim to have effective annuity lead generation methods lying to us?

The answer, according to industry marketing experts, is that they all have the potential to work well.

For a prospecting method to work for you, it needs to fit your strengths and be properly executed. For example, there is no point holding annuity seminars if you are not a dynamic public speaker or you have difficulty befriending people quickly. It is fruitless running newspaper advertisements if you are often unavailable to answer the phone when clients respond. You will be frustrated by direct mail if your mailer is not compelling or your mailing list is not up-to-date and properly segmented.

But what if you feel you have been doing everything right yet still see poor results? Successful insurance marketing relies on several factors being aligned, including targeting the right market, having the right message and getting your audience’s attention. But if you ask industry marketing experts, many of them will tell you that a lack of repetition is a common reason why otherwise well-planned annuity prospecting campaigns fail.

Too many insurance professionals simply give up on a prospecting method too soon. They disobey one of the most basic rules of marketing: Your target audience needs to see your message three to seven times before they will take any action to respond. Our next four blog posts will explain this further.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

President Obama’s auto-enrollment retirement savings plan

President Obama recently proposed that employers without retirement plans should be required to establish an automatic retirement savings account (similar to an IRA) for all of their workers. The accounts would be funded by payroll deduction from workers’ paychecks.

Insurance Insight Group thinks this proposal makes a lot of sense. Workers have traditionally had a number of incentives available to them to encourage saving for retirement, such as the tax-deferral available in IRA’s and the employer-match available in many 401(k) plans. But it seems that the best way to encourage workers to save for retirement is the simplicity and automatic savings associated with payroll deduction. If it weren’t for payroll deduction, can you imagine how hard it would be for the average American family to pay their Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes?

President Obama’s proposal will also create opportunities for insurance agents. Up to now, insurance professionals have approached employers without retirement plans, trying to get these employers to offer 401(k) plans, SEP-IRA plans, or a variety of other plans to their employees. The insurance agents have been at a disadvantage because no such retirement plans are mandated by government, and also each of these plans costs the employer money both in plan contributions and administrative expenses. Under Obama’s proposal, employers without retirement plans would be forced to take action, and there is the additional incentive that these retirement savings accounts would be funded solely with employee contributions. So, the employer’s expense is limited to administrative expenses. To the extent that insurance professionals can offer these employers efficient solutions to this new mandate, they have an opportunity to earn ongoing commissions as these accounts are funded by employee payroll deductions.

For more on this, Insurance Insight Group's Principal and Actuary, Chris Conklin, answers a series of questions on this in an Q&A format posted on the Editor's Blog.

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