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How Professional Designations Can Help You Sell Annuities

Published on March 5, 2009 in selling annuities by Bob Richards

The business of selling annuities is very competitive.  Not only are you competing with other annuity agents, but also with the possibility that the money from a potential client could be deposited into an IRA or a different retirement plan altogether.  Obviously, you want to be the one that the client entrusts with their money, so you need to find a way to make yourself stand out to sell annuities.

One way to show that you’re an expert in the financial field is by earning specific professional designations.  Think about it – when you’re looking for a new health care provider, would you trust anyone without the “MD” designation?  If you’re an annuity agent and you don’t have a professional designation, you may find yourself losing clients to agents with better credentials.  Just having your insurance license may not be enough to make a living selling annuities.

Some of the better known professional designations include:

• CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
• ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant)
• MSFS (Master’s of Science in Financial Services).

Each of these designations has different requirements you must meet before you can begin using it.  The CFP designation is one of the most widely recognized in the industry, although you’ll need to take several courses and pass a board exam before you can use the credential.  The ChFC, on the other hand, requires some coursework, but no exam, while the MSFS credential comes from completing a two-year graduate level program.  All of these will make you a far more competent financial advisor and significantly impact your annuity sales.

In addition, there are many professional designations for annuity agents who focus specifically on selling to seniors.  Some states don’t allow annuity agents to use these designations – depending on the wording – so it’s important to check with your state board before you pursue them.  These designations include:

• CSS (Certified Senior Specialist)
• CSRS (Certified Elder Planning Specialist)
• CLTC (Certified in Long Term Care) – this professional specializes in planning for care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

For more information on the specific requirements of each credential and the schools that offer the necessary training courses, visit www.brokerworldmag.com.  Depending on your schedule, you may be able to find courses can be taken either online or by correspondence.

At first, these courses may seem expensive – especially to someone just starting out in the annuity business.  But by earning a professional designation, you give yourself several advantages:

• You learn more about selling annuities and marketing annuities. The classes go beyond what you can learn on the job or in a basic college course.  For example, if you earn the CLTC designation, you’ll learn much more about long term care and nursing homes than you would just sitting behind your desk.

• If you want to market to a specific group like seniors, a credentialing program can help you learn more about how to tailor plans to them and their unique needs.

• Professional designations build trust with clients.  When a certain set of letters appears after your name, clients know you’ve taken the time to learn more about how to help them with their financial needs, and will reward you with increased business.

• Often when someone sees a designation after your name, they’ll ask you, “What does it mean?” This gives you a perfect opportunity to market your services to clients you never would have met otherwise.

If you sell annuities, compare earning professional designations to the steps an educator takes to advance in their career.  Most school principals begin as teachers with bachelor’s degrees.  Later on, they earn master’s degrees – usually in administration – to learn more about working as school principals.  As you progress in your career, you may find that you need the additional education and qualifications provided by a professional designation course to advance in the field of selling annuities and generating fixed annuity leads.

47 thoughts on “How Professional Designations Can Help You Sell Annuities

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  2. Gustav Klimt Paintings says:

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  3. Thanks for the advice on Annuities, i personally prefer to use qualified people. In fact, even if i dont know what the letters after the name stand for, i still am impressed by it! Perhaps that is silly, but most people think like that. For this blog, which i think is excellently written, you could make use of the breadcrumb plugin to bring all these insightful articles together.

  4. Bill Tilley Structured Settlements says:

    I have been marketing and advising on structured settlements which are an annuity product for several years and while I have received disignations I have never really included them on my marketing or business cards. I find it is up to you to engender trust and you can only do that by being trustworthy and by always recomending the right solution to your prospect even if it means sending them elsewere.
    Never chase commisions, build relationships and the revenue will follow.

  5. Yeah, i agree with previous comment - in Annuities, as with most other businesses, customers are not generally too informed about the industry and give alot of trust to those with the right brand and image.

  6. Avatar says:

    to TwitFan: They are more informed than you think. Maybe you had too little contact with the population.

  7. I guess one of the most important aspects is that those who are selling have a great understanding of what they are doing and can break everything down in to the terminology the rest of us can understand. When something can be explained in real terms it makes it a lot easier to make an informed decision.

  8. I am all for education. The more knowledge someone possesses is usually a great benefit. The fact that the designation have been earned would not be the end all for me in the investment industry though. More importantly I would want to see what the advisers track record is in the annuity arena. Has he or she provided sound advice and a good return? That would be my #1 concern.

  9. indirload says:

    find it is up to you to engender trust and you can only do that by being trustworthy and by always recomending the right solution to your prospect even if it means sending them elsewere.
    Never chase commisions, build relationships and the revenue will follow

  10. Keller Carpet Cleaning says:

    I don't think it is as much about the number of letters you can put after your name as it sit the ability to develop trust. When the client comes to trust you then they will invest with you.

  11. Fred Doleac says:

    Annuities are confusing for the average consumer and the provider must focus on the education of the consumer of the product and benefits. Focus on benefits - it is easier for us laymen to understand.

  12. webhotel says:

    Well selling of annuity is really hard job and one has to face very tough competition but the way you ve mentioned that designation can help you in this and make an ease I think!

  13. Sohbet says:

    Talk to an expert on annuities or structured settlements depending on your situation.

  14. I feel like financial certifications have taken a bit of a hit lately with the Madoff scandals and whatnot, but you're definitely right it is so much easier to sell annuities when you have some kind of certification backing you.

  15. I would have to agree with Fred. I am pretty astute when it comes to investing but I have never really gotten the whole annuity thing down. It seems there are a lot of things you need to be aware of.

  16. Raju says:

    Good post. Thanks for the opinion on Annuities; I personally favor to use skilled people.

  17. I've never really known what to think about designations. In the real estate world, you see a zillion different designations. I don't think the general public knows what to think about them all. I cringe when I see a realtor with 10 different designations and they still don't have their brokers license. I think the general public recognizes a brokers license as being superior to a handful of designations. I realize that the designations make the professional better at what they do, but I think the main objective is to make your self more marketable.

  18. poker says:

    I would have to agree with Fred. I am pretty astute when it comes to investing but I have never really gotten the whole annuity thing down.

  19. Karen says:

    find it is up to you to engender trust and you can only do that by being trustworthy and by always recomending the right solution to your prospect even if it means sending them elsewere.
    Never chase commisions, build relationships and the revenue will follow

  20. ethan johson says:

    Thanks for the advice on Annuities, i personally prefer to use qualified people. In fact, even if i dont know what the letters after the name stand for, i still am impressed by it! but all most people think like that. For this blog, so i think is excellently written.

    RFT14
    Xp62

  21. I am a psychotherapist and have many different designations. Mine is a very specialized field and these designations are needed so that the public can identify the correct professional for their needs. I would assume this is true for many different services when someone is trying to hire a professional.

  22. Andung Journal says:

    The majority of professional designations in insurance have continuing education requirements. None of them guarantee that the designation holder is a financial expert.

  23. Letters after your name will add up more annuity sales. Most people would rather hire or believe people who are expert on a certain that field. We can actually consider that this as a lifetime investment.
    This is a good post. We are learned a lot from it.

  24. [email protected] homes says:

    There is still the need for additional education and qualifications for one to achieve mastery of skills. But there is also the side of building a relationship of trust and confidence between clients and agents that no prospecting system can replace.

  25. Hayabusa says:

    A designation, while perhaps educating you beyond the lame training you got from your company or broker-dealer, will not generally create an instant rapport with your clients or allow you to set appointments more easily. It will not make you infinitely smarter than the competition, nor will it make you well-known and admired by all.

  26. Marios K says:

    Good post. Thanks for the opinion on Annuities; I personally favor to use skilled people.

    add url

  27. danna says:

    Some credentials may improve personal income. Some may enhance professional influence, credibility, and effectiveness in organizations. The ability to realize records management program goals in organizations is often related to the respect and level of influence that records managers have. Professional credentials--derived from educational attainment, work experiences, and certification--may facilitate respect, power, and authority within any professional realm, including records management.

  28. danna says:

    Designations like CRFA, CSA, and any other that can be earned in a few days might teach you some valuable things to help you help your clients, but they are, in fact, misleading to prospects as they imply a certain level of expertise that simply can't be achieved in a few days. All of that being said, don't be foolish... As long as the industry allows these designations to be used, you can't help but use them as they can be a powerful marketing/credibility building tool. However, I would strongly recommend, if a designation is important to you or your clients/prospects, that you take the time to get a 'real' designation so that, when the day comes, you are better prepared than the next guy...

  29. John Bagwell says:

    If you’re serious about understanding annuities and annuity marketing, I have trained an endless amount of "so-called" guru's over the last 12-years. Go to my new website and acquire free annuity marketing and insurance marketing programs. Click on: annuity marketing

  30. jim says:

    A professional designation is like a college degree in some ways. Having one does not necessarily mean that the designee has current working knowledge of the area in which the designation was given. It simply means that the individual was able to study for, and pass, the exams and likely attended required classes or covered course material. However, professional designations can make a difference in getting hired for a job or winning business from a potential client. For prospective employers and clients who are not familiar with the designee's experience and are unable to assess his or her level of expertise, a professional designation - especially one with CE requirements - can provide that extra detail needed to make the designee's case.

  31. david says:

    Determine if your agent has any professional designations. Most states or provinces also require agents to take continuing education courses to remain licensed in a given state or province. In addition to the courses required by the state or province, many agents take a series of courses and are awarded with professional designations. You may notice the following designations next to your agent's name indicating that a professional designation has been awarded for successful completion of a series of courses.

  32. mike says:

    When you make Professional Certification part of your personal training program, you acquire the skills you need to stay competitive. Annuity professionals who value their designations want to refer clients to those with the same level of knowledge. A large percentage of agent-to-agent referrals are made via the professional designation criteria.

  33. Robert says:

    Business is tougher. It’s tougher to win business and tougher to get done. Given the ever-changing business climate, you, as a business person, have to take steps to win the confidence of your customers, distinguish yourself from your competition and convince your customers that they want to do business with you. A tall order, some would call it a challenge.

  34. heidi says:

    I think it is always an "edge" to have certifications since sometimes, it means "credibility". I agree with danna that:
    if a designation is important to you or your clients/prospects, that you take the time to get a ‘real’ designation

    -- Dog Passports UK

  35. timberland says:

    I know little about the selling annuities. Thanks for your post. It is a good education.

  36. payday loans direct says:

    Good Post! But in the case of Annuities, as most of the business people or customers are not generally too informed about the corporate and provide extreme of confidence to those with the reputed or trusted brand in the market.

  37. Thanks for the very informative post about annuities...It would be very helpful for everybody..

  38. intercomnews says:

    Thanks for the advice on Annuities, i personally prefer to use qualified people. In fact, even if i dont know what the letters after the name stand for, i still am impressed by it! but all most people think like that.

    intercomnews

  39. bill says:

    Selling annuities solely depend on the reason for such an action, and the discipline within not to abuse the lump sum amount and use it to futile ways. Selling annuity is an option that will allow you to limit the withdrawal expense and get access to your annuity funds.

  40. Trailers and Reviews says:

    I finally thoroughly understand annuities thanks for the help.

  41. chris says:

    A reputable financial company can determine the fair value of the annuity payments. The company can also inform the person about the necessary documents like: the annuity policy documents, recent copy of the annuity checks - if annuity is in the payout stage, tax returns and other necessary documents. However, the company will charge a fee for the services rendered. Direct selling eliminates the middleman and saves fees on the transaction but makes the process of selling, cumbersome.

  42. dehumidifier says:

    Thank you for having this post about annuities. This is really informative and helpful to people like me. Again thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  43. Theresa says:

    Nice post! its interesting and very informative, i really enjoyed reading it, thanks for the opinion on Annuities; I personally favor to use skilled people. keep it up!

  44. Brittany says:

    Nice post! it is so helpful, thanks for having this post about annuities. very informative, keep it up!

  45. floating floor says:

    I didn't what the annuities are. But now I get somethings about the annuities ,thanks for sharing.a

  46. The business of selling annuities is very competitive, that's why I think it is important to have more and more levels of increasing specialization such as these in order to determine who is most fit to conduct operations with the general public. Although, we do run the risk of becoming too complex and having so many certifications that it becomes confusing.

  47. DomainPrincipal says:

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