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 May 2020 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.
As you read through this month's newsletter, share the ideas that resonate most with you in the comments - and tell us which of Van's perfect sound-bites in this article inspired you most! This one's a doozy.
Reprinted with the author's permission.
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May 2020 – 7 Ideas and Views Newsletter by Van Mueller
I started April’s newsletter with this sentence: “In less than 30 days the coronavirus COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it forever.” I chose my words carefully. Many others who are less careful about their words use this sentence. In less than 30 days the coronavirus COVID-19 has ENDED the world as we know it forever. I know you think I am trying to be “cute” here, however, I am not. The second sentence should never be used.
This is the most important time ever for our industry. We have to stop messing around and accept the vital role we play in the recovery, transition and future growth of our world and our people. Our customers are not looking for “pitches” or “presentations.” They definitely do not want to learn about “products” or interest rates, cash values or premiums. Our customers are looking for understanding. Do we realize what they are struggling with? Do we understand that they do not understand why this is happening and what the future implications of these events are? Is there a way to prevent these things from happening to them and what if they could be in a position to take advantage of all of these future occurrences? Do we, as insurance and financial professionals, understand how worried our customers are? Do we understand the stress our customers face every day?
This is the most important time ever for our industry. We have to stop messing around and accept the vital role we play in the recovery, transition and future growth of our world and our people.
Here’s my question to our industry; How can we discover these feelings in our customers if we are doing all the talking?
We must ask great questions! Here are a few: If it were possible to never lose money ever again, would you want to know about it? If you could be in CONTROL of how much income tax you pay rather than letting the government be in CONTROL of how much tax you pay, would that be valuable information? If inflation does increase again because of all the money printing, are there strategies that would prevent a reduction in your standard of living? Could you even take advantage of inflation to increase the value of your assets rather than allowing their purchasing power to be reduced? Is there a way to never outlive your income? Will you have to work forever or is there still a way for you to retire with dignity and financial security? How can you invest and at the same time protect yourself and your family if you have less discretionary money than you have ever had? Is there a way that you and your family or your business will get what you worked your entire life for, rather than Wall Street, the Internal Revenue Service, the government nursing homes or hospitals? Are there strategies that will help you accomplish that? Are you sick and tired of being worried and afraid? Would you like to enter every one of these downturns confidently rather than fearful for the rest of your life? What if all it took was to develop a strategy that would allow you to win, no matter what happened, wouldn’t you want that? And, when would you want to get started?
Remember I said our customers were looking for two things. First, and most important, they were looking for understanding. That is accomplished by asking great questions and listening to the answers. In addition to understanding, our customers are searching for help. They don’t understand what is happening. They don’t know why their savings are gone. They don’t know, why in America, they are hungry. They haven’t fully realized the danger to their retirement accounts, and they don’t know if they will have a job to return to. They want help.
In addition to understanding, our customers are searching for help. They don’t understand what is happening. They don’t know why their savings are gone.
Ask every American who has ANY money just a few questions and they will come to understand that YOU can help them. Don’t assume they know anything. Never lose sight of the fact that Americans, especially now, are much more concerned with loss than they ever are concerned about missing out on gain. Studies show that our distress is far greater when we fall from a better situation to a worse one than we ever can enjoy rising from a worse situation to a better one. Americans strive for certainty. They desire security. They want to prevent or ever expose themselves to loss of reputation, health, fortune or rank in society. We are the only people that can accomplish that. This is a perfect time to ask EVERY American these questions. I believe you will be astonished by their answers. The response to these questions will change the way you advocate for the rest of your career. You must ask enough people so you will come to realize that the overwhelming majority are not looking for extravagant gains. They desire fair gains with designed in certainty and that those fair gains will be protected from catastrophe. Again, only we can do it.
Would you agree that most people are more concerned with loss than missing out on gains?
Sound off in the comments!
I believe we can inspire our customers to take action by asking just a few questions.
Here they are:
1. What if there was a way to guarantee that you would never lose any money? Would you want to know how that could be accomplished?
2. What if because you didn’t lose any money, you could access that money every time something bad happened and take advantage of the opportunity rather than being hurt by it? Wouldn’t that be an amazing strategy?
3. What if you could do the above things with reduced or even completely eliminated income tax liability? Wouldn’t that be a spectacular strategy?
4. Here’s a surprise. What if you could use those same dollars that you are using for financial and retirement success, for protection as well? Wouldn’t that be a more effective and efficient use of that money than what you are doing currently?
5. Would you like an example? If you ever had a critical illness like a heart attack, stroke or cancer, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could use the values in this strategy to survive or transition your life without it being destroyed financially? Even better, when you died all the money you used for that purpose would be replenished for your family or your business income tax free. Would it be beneficial to know that if you never needed the money for this reason you wouldn’t have wasted one cent of premium on that benefit?
6. Here’s an even better surprise. What if you needed 90 percent of the value in this strategy to pay for long term care while you were alive or even better, what if you preferred to be taken care of at home instead of a long term care facility because of all the problems they are having currently. Wouldn’t that be a great benefit that you were in control of? Better still, what if when you died, all the money you used while you were alive could be replenished income tax free for your family or your business? Here’s the best surprise of all. If you never needed the money for that purpose while you were alive, you would not have wasted one cent in premiums on that benefit.
7. Finally, what if you could use the values to provide an income tax free retirement stream of income that you could use to supplement your current retirement income without adding any additional taxes? When you are all done receiving these benefits wouldn’t it be wonderful if what was left could be paid to your family, business or charity income tax free?
Do you understand that this is a way to plan for financial and retirement success while using the same dollars for protection?
Do you understand that this is a way to plan for financial and retirement success while using the same dollars for protection?
I then pause and I ask this important question. “Do you know anything else in the world that can do what I just described to you? Do you know a more effective and efficient way to use your money?” I have never had anyone say they had. I then ask this question. “If you think these events will continue to occur in the future, do you want to be in CONTROL of what happens or do you want Wall Street, the Internal Revenue Service, the government, nursing homes, banks and hospitals to be in CONTROL of what happens? Isn’t that really the difference between achieving financial and retirement success? Isn’t it deciding who will be in control and how to gain that control?
By the way, for anyone not paying attention, I just described how to use a cash value life insurance policy. If you were paying attention, I did not tell my customer ANYTHING. I ask if these would be benefits they would like. This is important. If they say yes, they don’t care what we put it in as long as it does all the things they wanted. For a while, it will be difficult or even impossible to sell ANYTHING as an investment. With trillions of dollars of monetary and fiscal stimulus, the market is only halfway back to its previous high. The Dow Jones fell from almost 30,000 to 18,000 and with between $5 and $7 trillion dollars of stimulus, has only made it back to 24,000 on April 27, 2020. Many financial analysts believe we will see another serious downturn when the markets come to the realization of how bad the economic damage really is.
What's your stock market prediction? Are we due for another steep downturn, or have we made it through the worst?
Tell us how you feel about our current situation!
I have a question for all of you: If the interest rates stay near zero or even go negative and the stock market provides zero returns for the next decade, how will we be able to help our customers build financial and retirement success stories? Won’t it be by developing strategies that allow for success under ANY circumstance? Isn’t that what I just described?
Our customers are looking for understanding and they are looking for help. It is the opportunity of a lifetime to be both beneficial and successful while doing it. It only requires a little practice. Instead of it sounding like a pitch or a presentation, shouldn’t it feel more like a conversation? Most people have great conversations about things they care about, things they know about or things they want to know about. If you stammer or stutter or seem unsure doesn’t it feel like a pitch to our customers? Ask yourself: Do you want to be mediocre at your profession or proficient at your profession? Isn’t practice the only thing separating the two?
Ask yourself: Do you want to be mediocre at your profession or proficient at your profession? Isn’t practice the only thing separating the two?
If it’s okay I would like to talk about all the interactions we are having with our customers. Most are no longer in person. They are on various forms of social media or on the telephone. No matter what you believe you do not present you best self on Zoom of GoToMeeting or Google Hangouts Meet or on the telephone for that matter. I am already hearing phrases like “zoom fatigue.”
Americans who are usually overwhelmed by four or five choices are being inundated with hundreds, even thousands of these little videos every day and they are becoming desensitized. That very reaction is already being analyzed by media of all kinds. Agents and advisors are forgetting this very important consideration. How do I know? Because they were forgetting it even when they were meeting with prospects and clients in person. Our objective is not to be the center of attention. We do not need to prove we are smart or that we really care or that we have the best products, interest rates, premiums or cash values. If that is our goal, they won’t believe us anyway.
On social media, on the telephone or in person our only goal should be to make the customer the star of the show! When you take the time to understand and then you develop strategies that are not complicated and provide the help that our customers desire, they will know you care about them. You won’t have to prove anything. They will reason it out that they are being helped. When the customer is the star, everything becomes easier.
What is happening and will continue to happen in our country is frightening, even overwhelming. Whether you believe it or not those sentiments are true for even someone like me. In the middle of April, I found myself feeling depressed. I was lethargic. I felt exhausted. I worried about whether I was giving good advice. I spent three or four sleepless evenings just staring at the ceiling wondering how I was going to deal with the enormous amount of changes that were unfolding at record speed right before my eyes.
I am sure many of you are having these feelings or are just feeling out of sorts or displaced by the events that continue to occur at a rapid pace. It took me around four days to fight my way through the actual sadness I felt.
First, I had to stop thinking about me and start worrying about all the people I needed to serve. I had forgotten that the fastest way to build self esteem was to do something for someone else. Then I reminded myself that Americans are more concerned with loss than they ever are at missing out on gain. I am like everyone else. Sometimes I think I have to prove I am great at making money for my customers rather than making sure they understand I have no equal when it comes to protecting their money. It took me a day or two and I was okay again. In fact, I was better than okay. I came across three things that lifted my energy level back to a level where I could be inspirational to my customers again.
I had forgotten that the fastest way to build self esteem was to do something for someone else.
First, this is a quote from Dr. Seuss: “When something bad happens we have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you.” We can choose. We all sometimes forget that important point. As the great philosopher “Yoda” declares “There is no try, there is only do.”
We can choose to be successful or we can choose to fail. Anyway you look at it, it’s our choice. That set me free. If I didn’t do well, it was because I chose not to do well. If I chose to do well it was because I chose to do what was necessary to do well. I was in control.
Other people, even events and circumstances did not control my life: I did. We all must learn that and reinforce that understanding as often as possible.
Second, the future does not belong to the best looking, to the smartest or the most powerful people. We are learning currently that the future belongs to those who adapt the fastest, who can transform themselves quickly so they can be positioned to serve the American people the best. This is the greatest time ever to be a life insurance agent. Can you adapt quickly enough to help the American people transition to a dramatically changed world?
We are learning currently that the future belongs to those who adapt the fastest, who can transform themselves quickly so they can be positioned to serve the American people the best.
Finally, I was watching an interview with the great actor of stage and screen, Nathan Lane, he shared that early in his career he had acted in a play with one of the greatest actors of all time, George C. Scott. He won an Academy Award for playing “Patton.” He is also my favorite Ebenezer Scrooge. Ten or fifteen years later they ran into each other again. Mr. Scott asked Nathan Lane if he had become a good actor. Not sure what he meant, Nathan asked what do you mean? Mr. Scott asked, “Do you still love to act?” He explained it was the only way to really be good at what you do. Nathan replied that he adored acting. Mr. Scott answered, “Good.”
January 23, 2020, I began my 48th year as an insurance agent. I cannot put into words how much I love what I do. In the middle of the month I worried whether I would lose this life I love so much: I lost my way. By remembering why I do what I do, and realizing that adapting to a changing world would allow me to continue to help a lot of people, I fell completely and madly in love with what I do again. Isn’t is the key to success in all of this?
Let's get started with the seven ideas.
Idea #1: Guaranteed Income Is the Goal
These are two very helpful articles for me. One article verified information I already knew. The average Social Security check is $1,507 per month. I finally got a breakdown of men versus women. A man’s average Social Security check is $1,627 per month while a woman’s is $1,297 per month. We must make sure women know this so they can properly plan for this. Also, the second article shared that Social Security only covers one third of household expenses. If Americans are hoping to rely on Social Security in retirement, they will be terribly mistaken. These articles provide Social Security information right from Social Security that will inspire people to take action.
Title: More Than Half Of U.S. Workers Interested In Guaranteed Income
https://insurancenewsnet.com/ (Insurance News Net, April 21, 2020)
Idea #4: Important Information about Social Security
Here are three articles you must have so you can take advantage of the opportunities for planning that the Secure Act provides. I provided Secure Act information in last month’s newsletter and these articles focus in on the “stretch” adjustment that the new law created. These articles walk you through a number of ideas that use both single and survivorship cash value life insurance to maximize IRA and 401k benefits for future generations and beneficiaries of these programs without the owner giving up control. You must have this information.
Title: 7 Jaw-Dropping Stats about Social Security
https://www.fool.com/ (The Motley Fool, April 10, 2020)
Title: 4 Hard-to-Believe Social Security Facts
https://www.fool.com/ (The Motley Fool, April 4, 2020)
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