Van Mueller's Monthly Newsletter: November 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 November 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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November 2023 – 7 Ideas and Views Newsletter by Van Mueller

Van Mueller

Successful Prospecting Is A Matter Of Timing! I would like to repeat that statement because prospecting is so vital to the success of all of us in this industry.

Timing Is The Secret To Successful Prospecting. That is WHY prospecting must be continuous. It is your most important endeavor 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

I don’t mean this in an ominous way. The mistake 95 to 98 percent all insurance and financial advisors make is to assume that prospecting is an 8:00 am to 6:00 pm job or that you only prospect a person or a business one time, when really, you must prospect the same people and businesses many, many times. We must ALWAYS be on the lookout to ask a question that might inspire anyone that we come across to ask for more information. We must come to realize that prospecting is the oxygen and life blood of a successful insurance and financial practice.

Then we must also grow to realize that building trust does not involve having great products or overwhelming our prospects and clients with enormous amounts of data and information. Causing fear WILL NOT inspire our customers to take action. Asking our customers if there is a more beneficial way for our customers to achieve financial and retirement success than what they are currently using is much more powerful than creating fear.

Causing fear WILL NOT inspire our customers to take action.

Our questions will build trust rapidly because they will cause our prospects and clients to review issues they know about and even better, the questions will bring clarity to issues they have not yet even considered. It is very powerful when you ask a customer about an issue that NO ONE ELSE has even broached the subject you are asking about.

Trust is built because you have taken the time to learn about the customer rather than having them learn about you. Believe it or not, customers learn about you based on the way you treat them.

I have committed the October, November, December, and January newsletters to increased prospecting. We must focus on the skills that give our practices the oxygen they need to survive and thrive.

In October, we covered these prospecting ideas. First, agents who are taught the 10-3-1 formula for prospecting, incorrectly discard or eliminate the nine people they do not sell. This could be a terrible mistake because they might be one phone call away from getting an appointment with one of the nine who you didn’t sell. How could that be possible? Because an external event happening in the world or an internal event happening to them or their families might now cause them to want additional information about any number of issues.

If you call or engage with these initial non-purchasers in an interesting and dignified way with an interesting question each time you engage with them, it will build familiarity in a wonderfully positive way. It is highly positive that if they do have some interesting issues to inquire about; they could even think of you first. Please remember, you are not trying to make a sale. You are building a career! You are doing that building one foundational piece at a time. It is so positive and so engaging there are people on the third or fourth call who will give you an appointment just to see what you are about.

Please remember, you are not trying to make a sale. You are building a career!

Understanding that prospecting is really and truly about timing makes prospecting much less onerous and even, possibly enjoyable.

Second, when I make a sale, I begin to set up a second sale almost immediately. Here’s what I mean. Let’s say I roll over $500,000 from a customer’s 401k to a new rollover IRA. Many agents stop there because they are satisfied with the sale. I don’t stop there. I congratulate them on their successful purchase and then I ask them if they realize that they have an enormous target painted on their back now because the Internal Revenue Service and the government can’t wait for you to die so they can become the biggest beneficiary of those funds? I ask if they realize that the Internal Revenue Service and the government will be bigger beneficiaries of those qualified assets than their own children? Do they realize that is why the government continues to work at delaying required minimum distributions? Required minimum distributions only net the government ten percent or less. If the children inherit, the government can collect 20 or 30 or even 40 percent. I then ask, “What if you could dramatically reduce or even eliminate the tax liability on this money while you were alive so your children wouldn’t even have to face that decision. Also, wouldn’t your money last longer for you if you lived longer than expected. Wouldn’t eliminating the tax liability make your retirement money last longer?”

Third, and this is easy. I never give up on a prospect even if they reject me or I determine that I do not have the right timing to have a meeting under a favorable circumstance. I actually say to these prospects that the timing is not right for us to work together. However, before I leave will you promise to remember two questions and then I will let you get on with your day? The first question is this: Please promise you will remember this question. When the economic disaster that’s being predicted reveals itself and you don’t get the help you thought you would get, or you really didn’t have another insurance and financial professional, will you promise to remember that I can immediately stop any harm that is happening to you. Please promise you will remember. More importantly, will you promise to remember that once I stop the harm, I can still put you in a position to take advantage of what’s happening rather than continuing to allow it to harm you. Please remember that. Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to visiting with you again in the future. I would estimate that in half the circumstances the customer really didn’t have another advisor, or they weren’t important enough to receive extra attention. They call me because I didn’t get offended, and I still offered them access to opportunity under any circumstance. It really works.

I never give up on a prospect even if they reject me or I determine that I do not have the right timing to have a meeting under a favorable circumstance.

Fourth, I actually help my customers learn all the times they should call me or refer me. When I deliver the policy or policies, I always read aloud the “You Should Call Me If…” form that I shared with you in the October newsletter. I read it aloud because I am helping my customer to learn all the ways I can help them. There are many times when I am reading this form to my new or existing customer, they respond that they didn’t know I did that or maybe one of the things I read to them is something they should look into. I then add if there is anyone who you know or care about that would benefit from information like this, please don’t hesitate to share me with them. Notice I didn’t say share them with me. I AM THE BENEFIT! They are doing a wonderful thing for friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers, whoever, by sharing me with them.

I also read the “You Should Call Me If...” form at every at every review. Actually, every time I am in front of a customer I read, out loud, the “You Should Call Me If…” form. Why? Please remember, isn’t quality prospecting really a matter of good timing? Repetition reminds my prospects and clients to have good timing.

Fifth, I am never an adversary. Customers must ask me to help them, or I will not. I ask my questions in such a way that the customer always responds with “What would you recommend?” Or “What would you do if you were me?” Or some sentence where they are literally asking me to help them. This dramatically shortens the sales cycle and allows me to focus only on people who are ready to take action with me. The added benefit is that customers want to share relationships like that with their friends and family. They share me many times with friends and family.

Sixth, I say thank you often. I say thank you to existing customers and to brand new clients. Only, I don’t just say thank you, I offer extra service to thank them for their business.

I don’t just say thank you, I offer extra service to thank them for their business.

I actually have scripts for multiline existing customers and multiline new customers. I have scripts for Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage existing and new clients and finally I have scripts for life insurance and financial professional existing and new customers.

The scripts have several parts. First, I ask if they are okay. With all the stress the world is creating are they okay? Next, I ask if they have any questions that they need answered. Finally, I thank them for their loyalty, or I explain how I appreciate their business and how their trust in me is important. I then respond that we want to be as loyal to you as you have been to us and the only way we can do that is to ask you some questions that will clarify for you if you have anything to be concerned about and could you be kept safe.

Then to get their attention again we share that there is something we just don’t believe we have done well enough in the past. Their ears perk up. What if you could actually be in a position to take advantage of what’s happening for the rest of your life, rather than be hurt by what’s happening. Even if you didn’t do anything, at the very least, wouldn’t you want to know how to take advantage of all this ridiculousness in our world?

I have been able to show agents how they can just about get an appointment with any existing customer of the companies they work for.

I have been able to show agents how they can just about get an appointment with any existing customer of the companies they work for.

Finally, I pay attention everywhere I am. I have conversations with the persons changing my oil, or the dry cleaner, or the people sitting next to me at any venue of any kind. I never talk about me. I develop questions that ask these people for their opinions. By the way, their opinions are the only opinions that matter. I then ask why they are not choosing the most beneficial option or options for their family or business. We end up having wonderful conversations about issues that many times the prospect didn’t even know were issues. I can’t tell you how many times this leads to the prospect wanting to have a meeting.

We have opportunities everywhere. All that is required is for you to develop some questions that inspire people to want to share their opinions with you. That is all that is required to dramatically increase your appointments.

This month I would also like to show you how to use the Social Security report “Wage Statistics For 2022” This is a report that the chief Actuary of Social Security provides every October. They have been providing this information since 1990. You will find a copy of the report with some of my notations attached to this newsletter. Below I have provided you with the link so that you can research other years and uncover an important pattern concerning revenue (taxes) and spending.

Here is some basic information. I will show you how to formulate questions so you can derive the most value from this information. I will provide those questions after the basic information.

  1. 56 million people, which is around 33 percent of all wage earners make less than $25,000 annually.
  2. 101 million Americans, which is 59 percent of all wage earners make less than $50,000 annually.
  3. 131 million Americans, which is 76 percent of all wage earners make less than $75,000 annually.
  4. 147 million Americans, which is 85 percent of all wage earners make less than $100,000 annually.
  5. 155 million Americans, which is 90 percent of all wage earners make less than $125,000 annually.

The information provided shares that 68 percent of Americans make less than $61,000 per year and that 50 percent make less than $41,000.

If you are married with two children and you make $75,000 per year, are you rich or are you living paycheck to paycheck?

There are several different ways to use the Wage Statistic information to inspire people to take action. Developing questions using this information is highly valuable. The information is valuable because it comes from trusted sources. Social Security is probably the most trusted source in government. Actuaries are probably the only trusted analysts. Why? Because they are only about math. Even if you don’t like their numbers, they believe math is truth. This is trusted information.

Social Security is probably the most trusted source in government. Actuaries are probably the only trusted analysts.

So, lets start with wealthy Americans. Wage statistics shows that as a percentage, wealthy Americans are becoming fewer and fewer. As I have shared many times, America’s economic strength came from an enormous middle class. That middle class is being decimated. We are dramatically becoming a country of haves and have nots. The have nots are increasing exponentially. We even have discovered that more and more Americans who we believe are wealthy are actually living paycheck to paycheck. Almost half of people with incomes of $150,000 are living paycheck to paycheck. Can you imagine the financial and economic stress that Americans who live on less or even far less income are facing on a daily basis?

When I talk to wealthy Americans, I am talking about people with incomes more than $150,000. Why am I using that number? There are a number of reasons. Remember, earlier in the newsletter I shared that half these people at that income level are living paycheck to paycheck?

Now, here is something I know you won’t believe. Please do the math: Americans, over the age of 65, filing joint returns and making $150,000 of income are in the 22 percent marginal income tax bracket in 2024. Their effective tax rate is only 10.69 percent. Here is the math.

In 2024 Tax
Standard Deduction $32,000 $0
10% Bracket $23,200 $2,320
12% Bracket $71,100 $8,532
22% Bracket $23,500 $5,170
Total $150,000 $16,022

Effective Tax Rate $16,072 ÷ $150,000 = 10.69 percent

Do you realize that only 7 percent of Americans pay an effective tax rate above 10.69 percent? That’s what Wage Statistics shares.

Here are the questions I ask those seven percent to emotionally engage them in a conversation using Wage Statistics. I ask them, “Isn’t it amazing that the government asked you to do certain things to achieve financial and retirement success? Didn’t they ask you to live within your means and not have too much debt? You took care of your things so they would last longer. Didn’t they encourage you to not buy all the house you could afford, and didn’t you find a way to make your cars last one or two or three years longer, so you could put as much money as possible into tax deferred vehicles like 401k’s and IRA’s, 457 plans and 403b’s? Didn’t you do what the government asked? Do you think it’s unfair that now the government wants to come and take your money to take care of the people who weren’t willing to do what you did? Those people lived way beyond their means, built enormous debt, bought a new car every year or every other year and now don’t have the money they need for a dignified retirement and quality health care? So, the government is going to punish you for doing what they asked to reward the people who didn’t do what they asked by taking a lot of your tax deferred money? Are you okay with that? Are you going to leave it like that? What if you still had the ability to control how much the Internal Revenue Service and government took from you and your family? When would you want to get started? Before or after they take away your ability to do that? Customers become very emotional about these issues. They already believe income taxes are unfair and you just helped them realize that it is especially unfair to punish them for what they were previously asked to do.

Customers already believe income taxes are unfair and you just helped them realize that it is especially unfair to punish them for what they were previously asked to do.

I also use Wage Statistics for all the people who make less than $150,000. It is very easy. I explain that if we tax everyone in America who makes over $100,000 at 100 percent that our revenue will still be short of our government spending by one trillion dollars. I then ask, Will Americans let us be taxed by more than 50 percent? If we did, why would anyone work? If we only tax at 50 percent, we will have a $3.5 trillion shortfall. Since 93 percent of Americans only pay an effective tax rate of 10.69 percent or less, won’t the government try to increase that number if they need more revenue in the future? What if you could prevent that from happening? At the very least, even if you didn’t do anything, wouldn’t you want to know how to do that?

Wage statistics is an amazing tool provided by a reasonably well trusted provider of the information. It should be an important tool in your prospecting portfolio.

Let’s get started with this month’s sales ideas.

Idea #4: Referrals and Centers of Influence

This article explains how to maximize your referrals and then continues to explain that referrals from centers of influence are actually the most beneficial referrals. The article provides wonderful action steps that will help you build centers of influence. Please remember, building centers of influence is vital to a successful practice because it is an integral part of having enough appointments.

Title: How To Upgrade Your Referral Game (Financial Advisor Magazine, September 21, 2023)

Idea #5: Banks and Credit Unions Are Taking Advantage of Savers

It is nice to find an article in a national newspaper that can help us to inspire our prospects and clients to buy annuities.

This is an article I would carry around with you to make sure that our customers are aware that they are being unfairly treated at banks and credit unions if they are savers. Even though interest rates have increased dramatically, many banks have not increased the rates on their savings and money market accounts. This is especially unfair in light of the inverted yield curve that our economy has struggled through for almost a year.

Short term interest rates are higher than long term interest rates. Many short-term interest rates are above five percent and yet checking, savings and money market accounts continue to pay less than one half of one percent. It has been a real opportunity for banks to make exorbitant profit at the expense of savers. In fact, the government has been guilty of harming Americans who save by keeping interest rates ridiculously low for over a decade.

This is a real opportunity for us to show our customers how to lock in much higher rates for much longer time.

If I was you, I would share the contents of this article with every prospect and client that I could.

Title: Savers don’t realize they are ‘taken advantage of’ (USA TODAY, September 24, 2023)

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