Van Mueller's Monthly Newsletter: March 2023
We look forward to the Van Mueller newsletter every month. It's chock-full of sound bites, sales tips, and eye-opening statistics. Here are our favorite parts of the March 2023 edition. We're sharing the full introduction, and 2 of the 7 monthly sales ideas. If you like what you read, we encourage you to click here and become a subscriber.

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March 2023 – 7 Ideas and Views Newsletter by Van Mueller

Van Mueller

This month, I would like to correct a few misconceptions that people might have about great salespeople. Let me state this emphatically: You CANNOT become a great insurance and financial professional unless you become a great salesperson first.

Being a great salesperson must be a desired objective. I am proud that I am a professional salesperson and I work and practice to increase and improve my sales skills every day.

Becoming a professional salesperson is vital for success in our business. I know many representatives in our industry with magnificent credentials, yet success eludes them because they aren’t in front of enough people, or they don’t know how to share their knowledge with prospective customers. They lack sales skills.

Our primary responsibility is to inspire people to take action. Can we accomplish this with great products? No. People don’t care about or really understand products. Do people give insurance and financial knowledge a high priority in their lives? No. Americans have many other things to worry about. Can we WOW them with our spectacular personalities or our good looks? No. Those characteristics will not be enough to make them trust you.

Our primary responsibility is to inspire people to take action. Can we accomplish this with great products? No.

We achieve success in our business because we use professional sales skills to inspire people to take action. Then, we follow through to help our clients achieve the successful results they expect from us.

The people in our industry must understand; it is not our products, because we have outstanding products. It is not current events, because our world will always provide challenges. The number one reason preventing our industry from achieving its potential is a lack of professional sales skills possessed by the people who are selling our products.

First, many of the people in our industry believe that explaining and illustrating lots of bad news will inspire our prospects and clients to leap to action. Actually, the opposite occurs. People deny, or even ignore bad things and terrible news. They do something worse. They shut down and they do nothing.

Instead, great salespeople ALWAYS explore the opportunity that is created by the bad news. We must always be selling the opportunity. Our prospects and clients race towards opportunity. This helps our customers to make a decision.

Second, ask yourselves this question. Why don’t people buy from you? I believe the answer is clear. Our prospects and clients do not have organized thinking about financial matters and retirement. Because they are disorganized, they don’t know what information to give consideration to.

Great salespeople ALWAYS explore the opportunity that is created by the bad news.

A great salesperson will ask questions in an organized manner. This gives our prospects and clients the information they must consider in order to achieve financial success, and it helps to put their thoughts in order. Then they will feel confident about making financial and retirement decisions.

If you are not achieving the success you desire, I would invest immediately in bettering your sales skills rather than increasing your analytical knowledge.

Think in terms of having great conversations rather than analytical discussions about products, cash values or interest rates. Think in terms of advocating rather than selling.

As the institutions of government, Wall Street, the banks and unions increasingly fail to provide promised benefits, you become more and more relevant. If Americans are going to be okay, they must be able to regain and maintain control of their lives. They will most certainly need your help.

Shouldn’t you use questions and discussions about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, debt, healthcare costs, interest on the debt, etc. to inspire our prospects and clients to take action and undertake a process of discovery about their financial and retirement futures? Shouldn’t we also be careful not to overdo it? Isn’t the ultimate goal to always reassure our clients? Would they be pleased to understand that they can still control their future outcomes?

I always try to get an emotional reaction by discussing the fact that higher taxes and lower benefits are in every Americans future. I always discuss inflation and the terrible damage this “stealth” tax does to the purchasing power of Americans’ money. I continue by discussing volatility, with the understanding that this could lead to investment errors, perhaps serious errors. This Is All Done In The Form of Questions.

I always try to get an emotional reaction by discussing the fact that higher taxes and lower benefits are in every Americans future.

Many times, my prospects and clients will ask: “If we have all these problems, why should I bother to do anything? Your customers probably asks you the same question. Here are two wonderful answers that will help you get your prospects and clients back on track to financial independence.

The first strategy is to ask your clients this series of questions: “Have there been financially bad times in the history of our country and our world? (Yes) Were there any people who made money during those bad times? (Yes) Were the people who prospered the ones who planned for those challenges, or the ones who decided to just let them happen to them?” They will probably reply with the ones who planned. Then simply ask, “Which one do you want to be and when do you want to get started?”

There is no doubt that there were people who were financially successful during those down times. Wouldn’t our prospects and clients like to be in that category for a change? You have the knowledge and wisdom and the finest tools we have ever had to help make sure that they are. This Is Powerful!

The second strategy I use to get my prospects and clients back on track concerns inflation. When we start talking about inflation and how catastrophic it could be, we actually discourage our clients. To encourage them, I use this dialogue to talk about inflation. “Do you remember the Jimmy Carter era inflation? Money markets paid 18 percent interest, home mortgages and auto interest rates were 12, 13, 14, percent and higher. The actual inflation rate was 14 percent. Did Americans survive? Of course, they did. Now, would you like to learn strategies that will help you and your family to take advantage of inflation, at least as it pertains to your investments and retirement? Wouldn’t it be nice, for a change, to be in a position to take advantage of a bad financial occurrence?

I then ask them one simple question. By the way, I never get a correct answer, ever, but that’s okay because the incorrect answer is the result I desire. Here is the question? “What is the number one goal you must achieve if you do not wish to be harmed by inflation?” Let them answer. It will be wrong. Then, emphatically ask then if they would like to know the answer. The answer is NEVER LOSE ANY MONEY! If you do, you will ALWAYS be playing catch up and will always be struggling to just get back to even.

How does that help you? You sell guarantees! If you help your clients build a financial foundation with guarantees, they will have a much better opportunity to win the battle with inflation. Then when you also apply strategies, such as laddering and products with guaranteed income riders, you can help your clients achieve financial and retirement success.

If you help your clients build a financial foundation with guarantees, they will have a much better opportunity to win the battle with inflation.

You will have success if you learn and practice conversations that inspire your prospects and clients to take action. Your results will increase dramatically if you learn, conversationally to draw out your customers concerns, answer their concerns and help them develop strategies that address THEIR concerns. Our clients have lowered expectations. They are, and always have been, more interested in the return OF their money than the return ON their money.

You will be respected and referred by your clients if you provide safe, secure, and positive results. Don’t underestimate this wonderful opportunity. Success and significance await any agent or financial professional who takes the time to learn and master these techniques. I have more conversations to share with you.

Have a conversation like this with your prospects and clients. It will make them think. It will make them give consideration to occurrences that they haven’t given consideration to. I have had the conversation I am about to have with you many times.

One day, everything is fine, and the next day you have nothing. Everything is fine and then it rains more in a day than it has in months. This causes floods that destroy everything. One day, everything is fine, and the next day there are hurricanes or tornadoes and everything you had is gone. One day everything is fine and the next day an earthquake kills more than 50,000 people. One day everything is fine and the next day a global debt crisis causes a global economic disaster.

The trauma is not limited to natural or financial disasters. One day everything is fine, and the next day the doctor diagnoses cancer. One day everything is fine, and the next day you wake up in the hospital after a heart attack or stroke or you don’t wake up at all.

Insurance and financial service professionals are the most important people on the planet because we are the only ones who can ask these amazing “What If” questions and then help provide solutions. However, we cannot and should not assume that people are already thinking about these issues and proceed immediately to a product sale.

Insurance and financial service professionals are the most important people on the planet because we are the only ones who can ask these amazing “What If” questions and then help provide solutions.

Let me share an example. During my speeches, I often ask someone in the audience if they woke up this morning and thought about dying. While it does happen in a few circumstances, for the most part the answer is, “I never think about that.” I ask another if they hope today is the day they are going to die. I ask another if they are hoping to become totally disabled today. I additionally ask another if they are hoping to be admitted to a nursing home today, Finally, I ask a young person if they wish to waste any more time being young. Wouldn’t they prefer to be old like me? The answer to all these questions is always, No?

If you are an insurance and financial professional and you are not thinking about these issues, why would your prospects and clients be thinking about them?

Don’t we assume at our professional peril, that out prospects are prepared to receive our solutions? Clearly, most don’t even know they have a problem. Take tax deferral as an example. Aren’t they more concerned with maintaining a job, putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their family’s heads?

To make sure my customers are clear about all the ways I can serve them I created a list which I include with every policy I deliver. It became so successful that I started sharing this information with prospects before my appointment with them. Many, many times when I had the appointment, they would bring up items they wished to discuss or ask questions about. What was also interesting was that they were unaware that I could be helpful concerning some of the items listed. The list was one of the keys that transformed my career. The list is entitled “You should call me if any of these things occur.”

1. If they go into debt of any kind.
2. If they change jobs.
3. If they retire or are considering retiring.
4. If they receive an inheritance.
5. If interest rates go up or down in a substantial way.
6. If the stock market goes up or down in a substantial way.
7. If they pay taxes on their Social Security.
8. If they have to pay alternative minimum tax.
9. If they get married
10. If they get divorced.
11. If they have a child.
12. If they buy a house
13. If they buy or start a business.
14. If they win the lottery.
15. If they require long term care.
16. If they face a catastrophic illness like a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.

We mistakenly assume our prospects and clients know they need us. THEY DO NOT KNOW! Make sure you let them know by whatever means necessary.

This is the greatest time ever to do what we do. Americans need us. They need our ideas and our insight. Our products are the best they have even been, and yet we do not get enough appointments and we continue to prove our credentials by telling information rather than asking great questions.

Here are some ideas to help you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to serve more people and achieve greater success than you believe possible.

First: Goal Setting (with a twist)

Instead of planning how much life insurance, annuities, mutual funds, or health insurance you will sell, plan how much you will SHOW!

Many agents incorrectly assume that everyone knows all about our products. I assume everyone knows nothing about our products. My goal is to show as much about my products, to as many people as I can, every week I do not allow myself to stop selling until I share a certain face value of product every week. You will be astonished how many times people buy just because you showed them.

I do not allow myself to stop selling until I share a certain face value of product every week.

Second: Never Tell Your Prospects Your Opinion

Americans love to buy, but they hate to be sold. Don’t tell them your concerns; They don’t care. Instead, ask great questions in a conversational manner, and listen closely. Let your clients discover their own concerns. Clients are more desirous of solutions when they decide that they have a problem. Plus, their answers will give you the information you need to help then build the strategy that is right for them.

We eliminate many potential clients by offering out opinions. Ask ten people their opinion about the future of Social Security and you will get ten different answers. If your opinion agrees with one, that means you disagree with the other nine. Offering your opinion will probably not lead to a good result.

Instead, ask clients for their opinions, and then ask why they feel the way they do. Asking what they believe will almost always lead to a better outcome. Your success will follow.

Third: Have A Sales Track

Professionals NEVER wing it. The goal of these conversations is to explain how my products fit into the context of my prospect’s problems. These five issues are discussed in EVERY conversation.

1. Will taxes be higher in the future?
2. Will benefits be lower in the future?
3. Will raising taxes and lowering benefits fix our nation’s problems? Probably not. So, won’t the government have to print more money? What is that called? Isn’t that inflation? Make your clients say the words. Isn’t inflation a stealth tax? Isn’t inflation the most dangerous financial challenge that people living on a fixed income ever face?
4. Will there be increased volatility? What is your strategy to benefit from the good volatility and not be harmed by the bad volatility?
5. Longevity. What if you live longer than your money? What would that be like? Isn’t longevity a risk multiplier? Doesn’t it require increased strategies for taxes, loss of benefits, inflation, and volatility the longer we live?

Finally, don’t we have a responsibility to believe in and be passionate about our profession and share that belief and the passion with our prospects and clients. Isn’t that what they really buy?

Idea #6: Ed Slott: Secure Act 2.0 Is Overhyped

I agree. Read this article carefully. The government would hope that an American would never take an RMD ever again. The effective tax rates are miniscule compared to the revenue the government will receive when children or grandchildren inherit these assets. Someone making $395,000 has a marginal tax rate of 24 percent. However, their effective tax rate is 18.8 percent. The government is hoping that children and grandchildren will inherit in a lump sum so they can collect 30 to 40 percent. They desperately need the revenue. The 10 percent marginal tax rate has a 4.1 percent effective tax rate. The 12 percent marginal tax rate has an 8.6 percent effective tax rate. The 22 percent marginal tax rate has a 14.4 percent effective tax rate. The government cannot collect enough revenue at those effective tax rates to meet their requirements. They are encouraging lump sum transfers to heirs.

Title: SECURE ACT 2.0 Is Overhyped, Says Ed Slott (Financial Advisor, January 30, 2023)

Idea #7: HSA's Are a Nice Surprise

HSA’s are becoming an important tool in successful retirement planning. They can be used for healthcare expenses or retirement income. HAS’s provide another vehicle to hide preferentially taxed money in sizeable amounts.

Please read all the amazing facts about Health Savings Accounts. It will provide an additional tool for you to impress your prospects and clients with.

Title: 9 facts about HSAs that might surprise our clients (Journal Of Accountancy, January 24, 2023)

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