Thanks for checking us out! We want to give you a little heads up… this blog post is over 2,000 words long. If you would rather watch Brian Rector’s 15-minute video presentation on this topic, please click here. Otherwise, we hope you enjoy the article!
The Edge Sales Process
Anyone that has spent any time looking at marketing programs in the last few years has seen at least 10 varieties of “Social Security” marketing. Every FMO has one, but many of them are missing a key component that turns the program from feeling like a “bait and switch” to a desirable and consistent marketing strategy.
Here at Able, we have spent a great deal of time and money developing and supporting marketing programs that are based around the idea of Social Security Optimization and Income Integration (that’s a mouth full!). We realized that what makes one program stand out from the other isn’t necessarily the message. The fact is that any Social Security program worth its salt is going to ultimately point to the income integration aspect of the conversation (and if you are using one that doesn’t you may want to re-think how your FMO is supporting you…).
We aren’t going to sit here and tell you that our Claiming Strategies program is vastly different than everyone else’s program. We could certainly state that and with conviction no less. We do truly believe that our program does have a few key features that few (if any) other groups are leveraging. However, the key to making a marketing program successful (regardless of the topic) is making the transition from prospect to client.
That is where the EDGE process comes in. This proprietary sales process, crafted by our very own Brian Rector, is a surefire way to take a person who came to your Social Security workshop (or came in through some other Social Security marketing program) and create the urgency that they need to not only plan for their Social Security but also work with you on their income plan.
It is important to understand that marketing with Social Security is not a fast conversion process. Anyone that tells you that they can convert a Social Security lead into an annuity sale in one (or even two) meetings is probably not being entirely honest. That isn’t to say that occasionally a sale will come that quickly, certainly if you meet with enough people you can and will close business that quickly from time to time. However, by in large, sales from these types of programs take at least 3 and most often 4 appointments to seal the deal. Without question, the number one problem with getting that conversion is the fact that many agents rush into the annuity/retirement planning conversation without first satisfying the original request of the prospect to understand their Social Security. The EDGE process can help eliminate the “body bags” by giving you a systematic approach to the appointment process. The best part is, that anyone can do it. You don’t have to have a silver tongue or super slick sales presentation to make this work. What you need are patience and deliberate planning.
The EDGE process is really quite simple. Educate, Deliver, Guide, Execute. That is it!
Reminder… there are about 1600 words to go in this post… If you would prefer to watch this as a video you can check that out here.
Appointment #1: Educate
When these leads come to us, they typically have questions on questions. They want someone to take the time to Educate them on what originally piqued their interest – Social Security. If you take the time during the first appointment to answer their questions and gather the information you need to generate a comprehensive Social Security Optimization plan you will find that setting the second appointment is easy because they will want to come back to have you deliver their report. In this first appointment, it is imperative that gather as much information as possible. If you are using one of our marketing programs the prospect should have been prepped to bring in much of what you will need for their Social Security report, and also most of what you will need for an income plan. If you’re not using one of our programs… maybe check us out. Having that info on the first appointment can make all the difference. Since you have read this far, you can go ahead and check out an easy to use fact finder that can help you with that. DOWNLOAD THE FACT FINDER –>>
Appointment #2: Deliver
In this appointment, you are going to be delivering what you promised to the lead. By now, they know who you are. They trust you (at least enough to talk to them about their Social Security). And (hopefully) they like you. This will probably be the longest appointment of the process. You are delivering on all of the promises you made to them and making that transition to getting the conversation focused on their whole retirement picture, not just Social Security.
This is the appointment where you are going to walk them through their personalized Social Security optimization report. It is important to spend time on this report. For many people (regardless of how much money they have) Social Security is extremely important to them. Even if they don’t have a desperate need for the income from it, many people feel quite strongly about making sure that they are getting the most bang for their buck.
You are going to see the most “fall off” after the 2nd appointment. If you get the prospect past this point, your likelihood of closing is going to go up significantly. The reason for this is that it is the crucial point in which you must make the transition from simply discussing Social Security to going over a complete income plan with them.
At this point, you have fulfilled the promise that you made to them in the seminar and/or first appointment. You have delivered their Social Security optimization report. It is at this point that you need to introduce the full-blown retirement planning report. We use (and all of our active agents have fully subsidized access to) Retirement Analyzer Pro. This software is one of the leading retirement planning software platforms available. Our recommendation is that you show the prospects a sample of that report.
The positioning on this is crucial. There isn’t a tricky way to get them to say yes. We have found that a simple question does it just fine. If you show them a fully integrated sample report you can say “Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, I also can provide you with this tool that will take all of the information that we have put together for your Social Security optimization report and couple that with the rest of your retirement picture. This report takes a great deal of time for me to put together, so my only request is that if you choose to move forward beyond this point and get this complete retirement planning report from me that you just make me one promise. I would like to ask you to promise me that if I go through all the effort to create this report for you that you won’t take the report and have someone else implement the plan. If you choose to not implement at all, that is certainly your prerogative, and we can part ways with no issues and no pressure from me; but if your intent is to take what I show you and have someone else put the plan in place, I would rather not go through all of the efforts to draw up this report for you.”
It is at this point that you will discover if the prospect has any intentions of working with you. You may find out that their brother-in-law, nephew, sister, etc. is a financial planner and they would never be able to work with you. At that point, it is easy to say, “I appreciate your time, and I am glad I could help you, but this is where it ends…” How you end the relationship (either temporarily or permanently) at that point is entirely up to you.
More often than not, people will be ok with moving forward. At this point, you should have most of what you need (if not all of it) to do a complete retirement planning report. If there is anything further that you need, now is a great time to run through a quick fact finder (you can still DOWNLOAD THE FACT FINDER –>>). Once you have all of the pertinent information you need you will be able to schedule appointment #3, Guide.
Appointment #3: Guide
This is where the rubber meets the road. If your prospect has assets, it will be at this point where you can start talking to them about re-positioning some of them to meet their retirement goals. In this appointment, much like appointment #2, you will be delivering a report. Only this time you will be delivering a report that can help guide them to a better retirement. We recommend that you put together two scenarios for this appointment. One with “where they are at now” and one with your proposed solutions. We like to leave specific carriers out of this conversation for the time being. You can simply show them the shortfalls in their retirement using math and science. Illustrate for them that while they have saved for retirement, because of the dangers of inflation, longevity, the cycle of returns, and market volatility they might not be as prepared as they thought. You can illustrate your value by showing them the second scenario where you have put some of their assets into vehicles that help combat those for risks of retirement.
It is at this point that you could close. Some agents are able to close on the 3rd appointment and get applications signed. Often, however, people will want to do their own research on the plan you are proposing. We encourage this! Tell your prospects to take the information that you have shown them and do some checking online (you know they’re going to anyway, might as well demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.) Of course, it is imperative that you utilize products and carriers that are reputable and aren’t going to create issues for you when the prospect is doing their research. Encourage them to not make any decisions until they have gotten their questions and concerns (discovered in their own research) address by you. Now you are ready to set appointment #4, Execute.
Appointment #4: Execute
You have made it to the last step (at least most of the time…)! By now you have met with these folks 3 times (4 if you had them at your seminar). You have answered the questions that they had about Social Security and hopefully generated enough of a relationship with them to start writing up some applications. In this appointment, you will need to be prepared to answer the questions that they have inevitably come up with from their independent research. You can make this much easier for yourself by leveraging high-quality carriers that make it tough to poke holes in the plan you are proposing.
When you have answered your prospects questions you can move forward with your normal closing process of writing up the applications. Occasionally you will have to spread this out into a 5th appointment, but if you have laid the foundation well, these prospects should know, like, and trust you enough to take the next step forward to becoming clients.
Wrapping it up
Phew! You made it! We know this is a long post, but this topic is SO important because so many people are struggling with converting Social Security leads into sales. Again, Brian Rector put together a 15-minute presentation that explains this very well. You can check that out here. We hope that this process is helpful for you. Whether or not you are using marketing with Able Financial Group, this EDGE sales approach can definitely help you eliminate some of the disconnects that so many agents experience with Social Security leads.
As with any sales process, it is only as good as you make it. Simply following this outline will not guarantee success. You do have to take the time that is required for each individual prospect. Some of them are eager to take you up on the retirement planning help, others will take longer to close. One thing is sure with this process… No one can say you did not deliver on the promises that you made during the seminar and/or first appointments, and that alone should help you get more premium written.
If you need or want more help on The EDGE process, feel free to reach out to us here at Able. We are standing by ready to help you with everything from Sales processes like this, to marketing programs that can help you get in front of more prospects, and of course case design that can give you the confidence you need to write more business.