Top Annuity Advisor Shares a Sales Secret

John Olsen. Credit: Olsen

John Olsen, one of the people who wrote the book on annuities, says the secret to selling annuities is to give up on trying to sell annuities.

“Rule No. 1,” Olsen said in a recent email interview, “The planning engine is always driven by the client’s needs, and never by a possible product solution.”

Olsen is president of Olsen Annuity Education in Kirkwood, Missouri, and an author of “The Advisor’s Guide to Annuities.” Earlier in his career, he was president of Olsen Financial Group, which sold annuities, and president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

Today, he works as a consultant and expert witness, and he does not sell annuities. But he has sold many annuities in the past, and he notes in his biography that he is not for or against annuities. “They’re just tools,” he says. “Like a screwdriver or a hammer.”

What It Means

From Olsen’s perspective, it’s important to look at the client’s situation to decide what tool can do the job.