Annuity advisors not offering enough option...
The 3rd Annual Guaranteed Lifetime Income Study has found that, even though most retirees and pre-retirees want a wide variety of retirement strategies presented to them by their financial advisors, they rarely feel these are provided. Consumers also believe that there is a responsibility on the part of financial advisors to guide them towards products offering guaranteed lifetime income. More than 50 percent saw annuity products as an option they would likely consider.
The survey found that only a third of consumers were very familiar with annuities, and even fewer understood that there were annuity products that would guarantee a certain income level for life. It would appear that there is a significant potential annuity sales market, but a “disconnect” exists between what consumers want and what their financial advisors provide. The fact that only 3 in 10 consumers surveyed have discussed guaranteed lifetime-income products with their financial advisors is a sign that potential annuity buyers are not finding the information they need.
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The survey and associated research were jointly produced by Greenwald & Associates, a full-service market research firm based in Washington DC, and CANNEX, a Canadian provider of consumer-market analytics to the financial services industry that is based in Toronto. The survey covered 1,105 consumers from the ages of 55 to 75 with a minimum of $100,000 in investable assets.
It is clear from the survey that consumers planning for retirement would like to consider a wide variety of options. Nine out of ten respondents desired multiple retirement strategies from their financial advisors and 60 percent believe there is a responsibility on the part of finance professionals to lay out guaranteed-income products like annuities to their clients.
Even though annuities are an option many retirees and pre-retirees desire, sales of such products are actually in decline. According to LIMRA, a financial services research organization based in Connecticut, a total of $222 billion worth of individual fixed and variable annuities were sold in 2016, a 6 percent decline from 2015. The low interest rates seen since the onset of the Great Recession have dampened the sale of annuities, as have the cost and complexity of products.
The best-known annuity program in the United States is actually Social Security, which is the foundation for the retirement years of most Americans. Annuities sold by life insurance and retirement companies can be a stable supplement to this universal program.
Among the survey’s other findings:
“The data shows when it comes to their investment portfolios, consumers are focused on risk assets including equities, but at the same time want to ensure that in retirement they will have the income they need to meet their needs,” said Gary Baker, president of Cannex USA, via a press release. “The lack of familiarity about specific products underscores the importance of providing advisors and their clients options to meet both needs.”
According to the research, potential annuity buyers are three times more likely to add such products to their portfolio when financial advisors present them as an option. This indicates that retirement advisors need to rethink their assumptions about what best serves their clients. It would appear that income-generating products simply are not emphasized enough, even though many annuity products are available.
“Americans are comfortable with the idea of working towards a savings goal as they approach retirement,” according to the Greenwald & Associates press release announcing publication of the study. “They are less used to the idea of working towards an income goal once we reach retirement. This makes it difficult to see how guaranteed lifetime income products might fit into one’s strategy for funding retirement.”
The gap between the desires of consumers of financial retirement products and the options presented by professional financial advisors needs to be more closely examined. Overall annuity sales remain flat, even as many consumers understand the value of annuity products as a part of their retirement strategy.
Misconceptions and myths about retirement may be holding many back from proper planning.
In an effort to understand Americans’ knowledge about retirement planning, Fidelity Investments conducted a first-ever Retirement IQ Survey in December.
The response was not encouraging. Many, including those 55 or older, missed the mark on key retirement questions, and adhered to several myths and misconceptions that could be holding them back.
“Although retirement may seem far off for many, there are retirement concepts everyone should know to ensure you’re able to fulfill the goals you have for yourself and your family,” Ken Hevert, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity, said in a statement.
“We encourage investors to think about the goals they want to achieve and develop a plan to get there, but it starts with knowing where you stand in order to identify opportunities to improve.”
ORC International conducted the online survey in mid-December in two phases: first, among a sample of 1,007 respondents ages 55 to 65 who are not retired; then, among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,047 adults comprising 512 men and 535 women 18 and older.
Following are the eight questions Fidelity asked respondents, along with the correct answers and how often respondents got them right...complete the quick form below to download full report instantly!
Tips to Establish Rapport Over the Phone, at Your Prospect's Home or Your Office
If you can establish common ground with your prospects, they will like you, trust you, and buy from you.
What do you do to establish rapport? Are you sharp enough to find something besides business after you open to conversation? Here are some ideas you can try on the phone, at the prospects home, at your place of business or networking event.
ON THE PHONE: It's likely that you're calling to make an appointment, so focus on these 4 things:
1. Get to the point in 15 seconds
2. Be happy and humorous
3. Get to know something personal about the prospect
4. Nail down the appointment
You first begin to establish rapport by getting to the point! State the purpose of your call immediately. It's not necessary (and it's often a put-off) to ask the insincere "How are you today?" Just state your name, your company name, and how you can help the prospect. Once you've done that, there is a sense of relief of both sides. The prospect is relieved because he/she now knows why you've called, and you're relieved because of prospect hasn't hung up on you. Now you can go about the task of establishing some rapport and setting the appointment.
Try to use humor at least twice during the conversation (but don't force it). People love to laugh. A quick, clean 10-second joke can do more for buyer rapport than 10 minutes worth of sales talk.
You can gain insight by listening. Prospect mood, hometown, and personality will all be revealed in just a few minutes on the phone. I listen closely for speech accent. It gives me a clue about where my prospect hails from - a great subject if you're well traveled or come from the same place.
Listen for and be sensitive to the mood of the prospect. If he or she is noticeably short of gruff, just say, "I can tell you're busy. Why don't we pick a time more convenient for me to call?"
Establish prospect rapport before you begin your pitch. The best way to win the sale is to first win the prospect. If you find common subjects or interests with a prospect, you can establish a business friendship. People are more likely to buy from a friend a salesman.
AT THE PROSPECT'S HOUSE: This is the easiest place to establish rapport.
Look for clues as soon as you walk into the prospect's place of business. Pictures, plaques, or awards on the wall; magazines subscribed to that don't match the business. When you get in the prospects house, look for pictures of children or events, bookcase items, books, diplomas, awards, desk items, or anything that reveals personal likes and/or leisure pursuits. Ask about an award or trophy. Ask about a diploma or picture. Your prospect will be glad to talk about what he or she has accomplished or likes to or likes to do.
Try to engage prospects in intelligent conversation with open-ended questions about their interests. It's obviously better if you're well versed on the subject, but the point is to get prospects to talk about what makes them happy. Use humor. Humor builds rapport because it constitutes an agreement (when a prospect laughs). Getting the prospect to laugh will set the stage for a positive presentation.
AT YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS: When your prospective customer comes to your place of business, it is more difficult to establish common ground because you don't have the advantage of telling items that would be present in his or her surroundings. So, be observant. Look at clothing, car, rings, imprinted items, their business card, or anything that gives you a clue as to the type of person they are.
Be friendly. Ask open-ended questions. Try to find out what they did last weekend, or what they're doing this weekend. Ask about a movie or television show. Avoid politics and their personal problems. And don't lament about your personal problems.
People love to talk about themselves. Ask the right question and it's tough to shut them up. Your objective is to find a subject, idea, or situation that you BOTH know about or are interested in.
Be real. It's as easy to spot insincere salesperson as a skunk in your living room. Both smell awful
One word of caution: Be aware of the time when building rapport. The time you're permitted to spend building rapport has a lot to do with where you live geographically. In the Northeast, you may have as little as 30 seconds. In these situations I try to be direct immediately. Gain interest first. Then go for some rapport.
In the South, Midwest, Southwest, and West, you can spend 5 to 10 minutes establishing rapport. Don't lose sight of your mission, but, I can assure you the mission is most likely to be accomplished if you make a friend before making a presentation. The key is getting prospects to talk about themselves. This will give you a chance to find common ground, establish rapport, and increase your chance to make a sale.
NO RAPPORT, NO SALE!
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