How Can Financial Services Industries Benefit From Appointment Setting?

Financial service industries recognize the impressive profit increases when they utilize b2b appointment setting for their sales campaigns.

Financial industries such as banks and insurance companies are aware of the remarkable increase in their profits when they make use of b2b appointment setting for their sales campaigns. When the sales representatives spend most of their time selling (instead of prospecting) that’s when productivity soars high.

It is quite a simple concept, actually; if your business organization utilizes the services of a telemarketing company, then you allow them to set the appointment for you and all you have to do is to close the sale.

The difference between presenting and selling in person versus b2b appointment setting becomes the major key to success for any sales team. The latter minimizes the company’s wasted time, effort and company’s resources running after mismatched leads at the most inopportune time. Professional sales appointment setters allow your own top sales personnel in doing what they always do best, and that is to demonstrate, negotiate with the prospects, and ultimately close the deals with most of the top producers more than replicating or increasing their production.

These telephone experts conduct appointment setting by performing cold calls and establish qualified appointments for your sales team with the accounts you really want. Utilizing a targeted list, these professionals are the ones who schedule meetings for your sales representatives with those who acquired a real interest in your offerings and the power to buy from you.

If your financial service organization depends all the way in your inside sales team to set appointments, you may not realize it, but you may be losing some serious financial resources. Statistics show that most typical lead generation and appointment setting service companies would make use of the phone four times more frequently and set as much as 3 times the number of sales meetings as compared to an in house sales staff.

The accomplishment or success of any business firm most especially on financial business institutions such as banks and insurance companies relies significantly on the steady flow of increased sales. B2b lead generation and appointment setting services that perform business to business telemarketing would fill your sales pipeline with new quality leads, generate new revenue, raise morale and especially enhance productivity. And did I say, reduce wasted time? Obviously-the last one seems to be the most obvious benefit of outsourced telemarketing services.

Okay, after all that being said, you can try conducting a test if it really works for your company. Employ the b2b telemarketing programs of a lead generation and appointment setting service provider for at least one month and then you could compare the output they produce with those of your own “homegrown” staff. Then, monitor and take note of the number of new sales actually delivered. After that you can decide what’s best for your organization. You know what will convince you to be a believer? The return on investment which puts the money in the company’s books and in the end, it can determine if indeed employing b2b telemarketing services from an appointment setting company can improve the general efficiency of your sales process.

Franchising, Industrial Base, Service Industry and Thoughts

Many folks are concerned that we are losing our economic and industrial base in the United States and one only has to tune into Lou Dobbs once a week to consider the implications and unfortunate trends. Not long ago someone emailed our Online Think Tank on a Topic concerning the Franchising Industry and our Industrial Manufacturing Base in the United States and asked a dubious question indeed:

I am worried. We have no sustaining industrial base in this country.

My reply to this astute observation and common comment was: Yes, I am concerned, we have over regulated our manufacturing right out of the country, starting with raw materials on up to completed products. What does this nation make? Hamburgers and Pizzas, so I would hate for over regulation to kill those industries too; wouldn’t you – thank god we still have those. On this franchising topic we must consider the value of the Franchising Sector in job creation and circulating money and keeping the flow in our own nation. The individual then asked:

Can we survive as a service economy through franchising?

Probably not entirely, some discuss a knowledge based economy, but that is somewhat a misnomer, because the same nations which have taken our manufacturing are stealing and ripping us off blind on our intellectual capital, innovations and inventions.

Franchising is viable, but not if we force the business models of all types of industries into a single box of regulation, I hold with Greenspan’s comments when he stated: “the problem with making a new regulation, is that the temptation to create follow-up regulations is just too great” and that creates job security in bureaucracy. Nothing should be less secure than a job in the Blob in my humble opinion. Still the questions kept coming:

Where will Americans work?

Our current dilemma is self-induced, and is the result of the law of unintended consequences of making humans weak, fat, dumb and happy. With unemployment so low everyone who really wants a job can have one. We need more robots right now, but when along comes a downturn, we will certainly wish we had not killed the Golden Goose that has made us so prosperous.

Will we lose more and more of our middle class who will fall into the ranks of the poor?

There are issues to keep track of and it is a serious business of course. If we are to equalize the whole world, then Americans will come down as everyone else comes up, but we can if the middle class is lost and China falters, who holds up the game? The answer is to bring up the rest of the world without destroying all we are and all we have built in this greatest nation ever created in the history of humankind.

Will the World continue to invest in our stock market and our government bonds?

Well, if you look at the Chinese market correction, ouch. Our markets are stable today, but we need a market correction too, which is overdue and perhaps needs to be hovering around 12,800 on the Dow. Indeed, we also have a baby boomer demographic change to deal with, meanwhile China’s industrial revolution and labor issues cometh, along with angered populous over everything from wages to environmental poisoning from pollution. Lots to think about, but what is a Think Tank for anyway?

A Brief Look At The Pool Services Industry

In the midst of the Great Recession, the Wall Street Journal took an in-depth look at the costs associated with owning a pool. The article titled “Taking a Bath on Your Pool” punched in the numbers and made the following conclusions by citing industry experts and financial and real estate professionals:

– Initial costs of a pool are between $25,000 and $50,000 (size, type, location)
– Recurring costs, maintenance for example, range from $500 and $800 per year
– Other costs, such as the electric bill and insurance, can start from $100 per month

Following the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008, disposable income among households in the United States declined drastically. This meant that consumer spending on an array of goods and services, including home maintenance and renovation projects, dropped significantly due in part to job losses, a credit crunch and a paucity of competitive pricing.

One of the services that was and is still considered a luxury is pool services. For the past five years, homeowners that have been fortunate enough to own a pool began to clean it themselves, diminished the amount of times they cleaned the pool and even refrained from maintaining their pool entirely to save money.

Between the years 2007 and 2012, the industry experienced a near four percent decline and posted annual revenues of $3 billion. At the present time, it maintains more than 51,000 businesses across the country and employs approximately 63,000 employees.

A report published early last year by IBISWorld suggested that the industry is experiencing growth as more people head back to the workforce – and thus lack the time to perform their household chores – and earn back the money that was potentially lost during the recession.

“A decline in unemployment is not only expected to boost disposable income levels but also reduce the amount of time consumers have available to maintain swimming pools and spas, further boosting demand for the services provided by this industry,” stated Kathleen Ripley, IBISWorld industry analyst, in a statement.

In addition, the report projects that businesses’ clientele base could flourish since the construction sector is modestly growing and consumers seek to install pools and spas in their homes.

Unfortunately, as more consumers learn to be fiscally prudent, owner-operated and small businesses face heightened competition, but not from their fellow competitors. Instead, they face the risk of losing customers from do-it-yourself pool maintenance equipment that has become quite successful in the marketplace in the past few years.

Nevertheless, owning a pool is a tremendous luxury to have because it creates new memories, is perfect for families and adds value to the home – many homebuyers in the south expect the home to have a pool. In the end, swimming pools provide excellent benefits for exercise for both the adults and children, is great to host summertime pool parties and enjoying a late-night swim is one of the top advantages of owning your own pool.

It might not be the best time to take a dip in the northern region of the U.S. right now – in the south it’s always a great time for a swim – but it’s a fantastic aspect to have in those sweltering late spring and summer months where the temperatures can hit the triple digits.

How Expatriates Are Exploited By The Offshore Financial Services Industry

Every year around the world, greedy financial advisors and international insurance companies persuade expatriates to invest an estimated $5,000,000.00 or more in offshore savings/retirement schemes that are little better than a swindle

Imagine an advertisement couched in the following terms:

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Advertisement

COLOSSAL INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE LTD

Expatriates – How to Save For Retirement

For regular savings toward retirement our Offshore Pension Plan is the perfect vehicle. Here are the great features:

1. You contribute, say, $1,000 per month over the next 25 years.

2. If we achieve, say 10% p.a. growth your fund at maturity should, in theory, be worth about $1,065,308

3. But our charges will have swallowed up around 47% of the $300,000 you contributed. That means about $140,000 of the growth is lost to you.

4. If you stop payments, for any reason whatsoever and at any time during the first 23 months you get not a penny back; we shall keep all the $23,000 you had paid in.*

5. If you stop payments at any time for any reason whatsoever we shall hit you with a substantial penalty. For instance, had you paid for, say, 7 years and then cashed in, the amount you would get back is uncertain but is unlikely to exceed the $84,000 you had paid in over the seven years.

6. You can reduce your monthly contribution at any time. However, If you do so we s hall continue taking our charges as if you were still Paying at the original level. That means if you reduce the $1,000 per month to $200 per month we will keep levying the charges that would apply to a contribution of $1,000 per month.

7. You can increase your contribution at any time but if you do we shall apply to the increase a fresh ‘initial period’ – i.e. the period during which you would get little or nothing back if you stopped payments.

8. You could stop payments at any time and leave the fund invested with us but we will still, month by month, take out the charges to a total of around $140,000 (see 3 above).

9. There are offshore savings vehicles that give access to all the same investment areas but with much lower charges and no hidden penalties but we prefer not to tell you about these.

(Throughout this article the $ sign stands for any major currency. e.g. EUR, GBP, YEN, AUD, CAD)

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The above “advertising” copy is very different from the hype in the real advertisements but it accurately sums up the typical features of International “Contractual Regular Savings and Retirement Plans” offered by some offshore insurance companies.

If they were advertised as above, would anyone ever buy them? Surely not. Consider some of the details:

1. Forty Seven percent of payments gone in charges!

2. All of your money confiscated if you stop contributing before you have made 2 years payments!

3. Crippling ongoing charges applied even of you reduce or stop payments.

4. If you increase payments a new set of charges and a new zero return period is applied.

And yet every year, thousands of expatriates are talked into joining such schemes.

Accurate figures are not available but reasonable estimates suggest that over $500 million is directed to such plans annually.

Who has the effrontery to market such nonsensical investments?

1. International Life Insurance Companies

These companies are mostly the offshoots of British ‘household name’ insurance Companies, and

2. Offshore Independent Financial Advisors

An Offshore Independent Financial Advisor is anyone who chooses to call himself an Offshore Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). Anyone? What about training? What about experience? What about background?

In most countries there is no legislation to prevent anyone setting up as an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). Offshore insurance companies make cursory, far from thorough, checks on background before giving agencies but they cannot check qualifications because none are specified.

For an experienced, sometimes unscrupulous, salesperson it is easy to “spin” the negative features into looking like advantages. He/she is usually a skilled communicator, subtle in gaining the trust of his ‘prospects’.

Why do so many IFAs take advantage of the expatriate’s vulnerability in a new and unfamiliar personal financial situation?

The answer, of course, is money. The salesperson is paid a percentage of the client’s first year premiums equal to 3 times the years of the contract. On top of that there is normally a 40% over-ride.

Actual figures depend on the amount being invested and the contract term but where an expatriate is saving $1,000 per month:

If the plan is for 10 years the salesperson’s commission with over-ride = $12,600

If the plan is for 25 years the salesperson’s commission with over-ride = $ 5,040

For no extra work, simply by extending the savings term from 10 years to 25 years the Salesperson/IFA/Consutant receives an immediate extra payment of $7,500. No wonder the consultant often pushes hard for the longer term often using falsehoods to achieve it.

With very few exceptions the financial consultant is self-employed. He/she receives no salary. In practice, the IFA works not for the insurance company, not for his brokerage but as a self-employed consultant retained to look after the client’s best interests.

Unbelievable as it may seem, the IFA does not have to wait for premiums to be paid in order to receive his commission. The insurance company calculates the commission that would arise gradually month by month from regular premiums over the term of the plan, then pays it all, the entire amount in USD, GBP, EUR, or YEN to the IFA just as soon as the client’s very first monthly payment is made.

The average period for which payments are actually continued on these plans is a little over 7 years. When the expatriate stops payments the penalties will probably come as shock. Almost certainly he/she will be sorry he ever heard of the deal.

A complaint to the insurance company will get nowhere. ‘”Sorry”‘, they will say “you bought the plan through your Financial Advisor who works for you not for us. Take it up with that Advisor”.

Complaining to the IFA will also be futile. Even if he/she can be found, no laws have been broken and civil action in a foreign country is likely to be hugely expensive and pointless.

It is easy to say the victim should have read all the small print in the policy rules but deciphering all the meaning of that small print is often difficult. Easy too to say that he was foolish to contract for 10, 20, 25 years or other long term only to find he had to stop payments within 24 months and lost all or almost all of his contributions.

But the expatriate life is full of uncertainty. Right now thousands of expatriates are fleeing Lebanon. How many will also face job changes? How many will unexpectedly have to stop contributions to contractual savings plans?

There are, of course, offshore insurance companies that, to their credit, refuse to market these types of high products. Likewise, there are Offshore Financial Advisers who possess the skill, knowledge and integrity to offer service of great benefit to their clients.

One might suppose that expatriates would be better advised to deal with advisers based where there is regulation of the financial services industry. But home based advisers are not subject to regulation on business conducted overseas. In addition, many home based advisers will lack sufficient breadth of experience and skill to deal with the requirements of an international clientele.

To sum up, expatriates are financially exploited by being enticed into saving through offshore contractual policies that are little better than a swindle, presented to them by ill trained but persuasive and unprincipled sales ‘consultants’ masquerading as professional practitioners.

How many expatriates might be at risk is uncertain but with an estimated 6 million Americans living and working overseas and other countries’ nationals probably amounting to a similar number, the total must be substantial.

Could anything be done about this abuse? Almost certainly it could. If the insurance companies simply abandoned contractual savings plans or at least did away with ‘indemnity commission’ the shady offshore advisors would almost certainly disappear because they would be deprived of the mechanism that gives instant high income for little effort.

Copyright 2006 Hugh Stevenson