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Most of you who have attended our training know that I am a disciple of Thomas Freeze and his “Question Based Selling” approach. Most of what I have learned from his tapes and courses I have adapted to our industry and we cover within our various trainings. Relationship Building is one of his areas of expertise. In his new book “Sales Force 2020” Thomas spends a lot of time updating his ideas for today’s world. Here is a brief overview from the master himself.
Traditional Relationship Building is Overrated
By: Thomas A. Freese
Being outgoing, gregarious, and friendly used to be the savvy salesperson’s ticket to penetrating new accounts. Today, key decision makers on your target list of prospects already have plenty of friends. And, given the sheer volume of solicitations that come in on a daily basis, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the next cold call that gets lobbed in the customer’s direction has only a very small chance of success.
Some of the reason sellers are experiencing such low hit-rates is self-inflicted, by using traditional catch-phrases like, “I would love to…”, or, “I just need a brief moment of your time.” Decision makers know you’re not just looking for a brief moment of their time. They also assume salespeople have quotas to hit and would really “love” to boost their commissions.
No doubt your intentions are good, as most salespeople are earnestly trying to provide value to their customers. The challenge is separating yourself from the countless other solicitations potential buyers receive on a daily basis, and then causing decision makers to “want to” engage with you.
Suppose if it were possible to reverse this trend. What if you could create an 80%+ success rate when reaching out to new prospects, rather than continue enduring the typical 90%+ failure rate? How is this possible, you might ask? Acquiring the skills necessary to fill your pipeline faster, and with more qualified prospects, is actually easier than one might think. But, it does require sellers to have an appreciation of next-generation selling skills, which is very different from just trying to ‘buddy’ your way into potential opportunities. There’s no magic, and God knows old-school sales tricks or gimmicks aren’t going to work moving forward. Instead, there are a few very important questions individual sellers (and entire sales teams) should be asking themselves, like:
When you’re on the receiving end of cold calls at home, I bet you’re not excited about giving information to people you don’t yet know and trust. So, why should we expect the old-school mentality of trying to “befriend” prospective customers, if that strategy no longer works on you or me? Hmmm…
Annuity Consumer Choice Campaign wants fixed indexed annuities out of BICE
Annuity supporters are fighting to ensure that fixed indexed annuities get treated the same as other fixed annuities and not lumped in with securities products under the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. The newly formed group, the Fixed Annuity Consumer Choice Campaign, or FACC Campaign, is gathering signatures for a petition to be sent to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta “urging him to delay implementation” of the fiduciary rule exemptions to July 1, 2019, and “fix the treatment of fixed indexed annuities.”
More than 1,800 signatures have been received so far, the group said.
As it stands now, fixed indexed annuities fall under the fiduciary rule’s best-interest contract exemption, or BICE.
Advisors “don’t know what their obligations are under state law” or what to do if they conflict with federal regulations,“That creates a unlevel playing field that inherently disfavors fixed annuity providers and products,” the group states on the website.
“Placing FIAs in BICE would have severe adverse repercussions for consumers by limiting choice in the IRA marketplace and would violate the spirit of the Harkin Amendment, which was adopted by Congress to distinguish regulatory treatment of FIAs from securities products,” the group’s website states.
The group’s chairman, Dwight Carter, president of Financial Security Associates, said in a statement that the new group is called “a campaign because we are singularly focused on protecting fixed annuities through both the regulatory and political process. We know it’s now or never for both our agents and our clients so we felt it was important to put together this very focused initiative.”
The National Association for Fixed Annuities, which sued Labor over its fiduciary rule, told the department in a comment letter that “the last-minute decision to unfairly and unnecessarily bifurcate the two general types of fixed annuities under two separate prohibited transactions exemptions — the best-interest contract exemption for fixed indexed annuities and PTE 84-24 for fixed rate annuities — will adversely affect retirement savers.”
The “essential change” to further the goals set forth in President Donald Trump’s Feb. 3 memo requesting that Labor review the fiduciary rule “is to return fixed indexed annuities to PTE 84-24, as was the case in the Department’s proposed rule issued in April 2015,” NAFA said.
“NAFA has maintained throughout the rule making process that both fixed rate and fixed indexed annuities should be subject to PTE 84-24 under the rule, and we have argued that the decision to switch fixed indexed annuities to the BICE reflected a fundamental misunderstanding by the Department regarding the features and similarities of these two types of fixed annuities.”
Here are 10 reasons to consider a fixed annuity:
Call ISN Network @ 1-800-338-1892 x 1
for any information on annuities.
The Labor Department is proposing to extend the January applicability date of its fiduciary rule by 18 months.
In a filing with the court in the case being brought against Labor by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta told the court that on Wednesday, Labor submitted to the Office of Management and Budget proposed amendments to three exemptions: best-interest contract exemption; class exemption for principal transactions in certain assets between investment advice fiduciaries and employee benefit plans and IRAs; Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-24 for certain transactions involving insurance agents and brokers, pension consultants, insurance companies, and investment company principal underwriters.
The proposed amendments extend the transition period and delay of applicability from Jan. 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019.
Notification of Labor’s OMB submission becomes publicly available the morning after submission.
Micah Hauptman, financial services counsel at the Consumer Federation of America — a staunch advocate of Labor’s fiduciary rule — told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday that while specifics of the 18-month delay proposal have yet to be released, as CFA “made clear” in its Monday comment letter in responde to Labor’s request for information, “retirement savers need and deserve the full protections of the rule on Jan. 1.”
On that date, the Federation says, “the full protections” of BICE, the principal transactions exemption and amendments to PTE 84-24 are currently scheduled to be implemented.
“Without complete implementation of these prohibited transaction exemptions (PTEs), the full protections and benefits of the fiduciary rule won’t be realized, and retirement savers will continue to suffer the harmful consequences of conflicted advice,” the consumer group wrote.
“Unfortunately, by posing the question about whether there should be a further delay, the department is creating unnecessary uncertainty and confusion in the market. More concerning, it is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy: Firms, in anticipation that a delay will be granted, are likely to stall their compliance efforts, which the department is then likely to point to as the justification to delay.”
Investors, the group argued, “will suffer the consequences.”
Published 07/24/2017 – by Brian Anderson
In the latest restructuring move involving major life and annuity carriers, Prudential Financial unveiled a new organizational structure on July 20 intended to extend its customer reach and facilitate pathways to new markets.
In announcing the changes, the Newark, N.J.-based company said the new structure better reflects its strategic focus on leveraging its mix of businesses and its digital and customer engagement capabilities to expand its value proposition for the benefit of customers and stakeholders.
“Our strategy, enabled by our culture of teamwork and collaboration, sets us on a path to serve a broadening range of customers as the leading provider of integrated financial wellness solutions. It does so in a way that benefits from and contributes to our success as a global investment manager,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential.
“Prudential has always operated with a ‘customer first’ philosophy,” said Stephen Pelletier, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Prudential’s U.S. businesses. “To further improve outcomes for our customers, we have formalized an organizational structure that allows for greater agility and integration in how we engage, serve and deepen relationships with our customers throughout their lifetimes.”
Under the new structure, which will become effective in the fourth quarter of 2017, the company’s five U.S. businesses will be aligned under three groups oriented to the needs of specific customers. Each group will have a leader focused on understanding customer needs, experiences and expectations, and applying that understanding to capture growth opportunities within and across businesses.
According to Pelletier, the structure maintains foundational strengths, builds on new and existing capabilities, and anticipates the emerging needs of customers within a changing market and an evolving workplace. “It provides clear leadership and accountability, and facilitates resource allocation to capitalize on growth opportunities, while continuing to provide transparency at the business segment level,” he said.
The announcement comes in the wake of other recent restructuring moves and rumors by major carriers as they deal with the prolonged low interest rate environment, SIFI designations and other regulatory challenges:
About Prudential: Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2017, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.