Friday, September 7, 2007


Tidbits, trends, and trivialities around the profession...

First off- a big thank you to all who emailed me recently. I had some good, helpful feedback from agents and reps. There was a lot of goodwill extended to the KINKY FRIEDMAN As Marketing Guru story and a clamor for more Kinkyisms. I suppose I will have to come up with part 2. My main dude TODD V. had some good feedback on the new website.
Gracias, Todd- live long and PROSPER.

The Missing Link..

My Jersey dude, Sonny Goldfin, says the hyperlink I included with the story on his success with United First Financial is not working properly.

"There is some problem on the website. You can still get the correct information about this fantastic opportunity, but you need to contact me in order to find out more about signing up," he says.

If you want to find out about the value-added service you can provide to your clients which will have them singing your praises- email Sonny at Be sure to include UFF- Fan Blog in the subject line so it will get past the spam filters.

The Last of the Independents? CROCK RULES!

If you are an agent focused primarily on annuities, you probably know that certain regulatory agencies and PR-seeking insurance commissioners are working day and night to get you under their thumbs.

A growing number of states now interpret the act of moving money that was in any securities-based account into a fixed annuity as giving "investment advice," and are pursuing agents with a vengeance.

Are there really that many bad apples in the financial services barrel or is this yet another knee-jerk reaction to a not-so-pervasive problem? I don't there are that there are that many baddies- most of them would be out of business in a couple of years, wouldn't they? The government prowls about like a snake- seeking whom and what to regulate. ( Sorry- my anarchist side is showing..)

While the motivations may be a bit dubious, the powers behind the move to make annuity guys and gals extinct are relentless in achieving this goal. Too much money and too many egos are invested to stop the "No Insurance Salesperson Left Alone" program.

"BM ", a young agent on the other coast, sees the handwriting on the wall. He emailed me about how to become an RIA (without pulling out too much hair in the process).

I have personally been contacted by a couple of people claiming they have easy, affordable, and fast systems to help agents become RIA's. However, only one of them has really stood out as being the potential frontrunner- REGISTERED INDEPENDENT ADVISORS.

A few days ago, I had a great conversation with Tami Lucius, who heads REGISTERED INDEPENDENT ADVISORS. She says that her company has developed the most streamlined, comprehensive system to help agents navigate the complexities of the RIA process. She also assures me that FAN readers will be treated with the utmost degree of loving kindness as befits their status as the smartest, wittiest, and best-looking of all blog readers.

Email me and I will put you in touch with the RIA folks who can guide you through the morass of bureaucracy and perhaps save you from extinction.

Seminar Direct Picks Up the Pieces

Tina Dixon, guress of direct mail, purveyor of perfect printing, and all-around good egg reports that SEMINAR DIRECT has acquired some of the assets of now-defunct, Houston-based POSTMARK DIRECT.

The most important assets acquired, according to Tina, were some of PD's top-level employees. This will give Seminar Direct an even more competitive advantage in producing professional collateral, seminar invitations, and direct mail campaigns.

As always, FAN readers will be escorted down the red carpet by Seminar Direct and given deals on pricing. Call Tina- say you saw it on FAN- and get an info packet and seminar-planning calendar- absolutely FREE. 888-629-1919.

(Sour) Grapes in the Midst

When I was a kid, I can remember getting unsolicited packages in the mail containing Easter or Christmas cards. The cards came from this or that charity and usually included an invoice.

This, of course, was a marketing ploy designed to make those of us who aren't used to not paying for things we get, pony up. On a large scale, this campaign must have been a roaring success, but in my mom's household such tactics were met with disdain .

The merchandise, instead of being returned to sender was often confiscated with the justification: "I didn't ask for it so I don't have to send it back." Legally, this was true.

Mom never ranted and raved about getting "junk mail" which really is in the eye of the beholder- she just did her thing and got on with her life. She considered unsolicited mail to be as minor an inconvenience as Junebugs on the front porch. Sweep them off and move on- life is too short to sweat minutiae.

I think the solicitations I get from the Cato Institute are a good read and very compelling marketing. My husband would trash them. Similarly, when he gets ads from Guitar Center, I attempt to toss them and get a harsh reprimand. My husband WANTS to know about the sale on amplifiers he will never, ever purchase or about the latest model of Taylor guitar which costs more than my car. As Todd V. pointed out-unsolicited email or snail mail is only annoying if it is something that doesn't interest us personally. Some men I know can't wait to get the Victoria's Secret catalogue. I, on the other hand, trash it in a pique of jealousy. (lol)

All this is leading up to a big gripe I have. That is that a handful of agents and advisors have managed to shut down my blog e-newsletter because they have decided it is SPAM and spam, as we all know is evil.

In one laughable instance of hypocrisy- a fellow who ranted and raved about my innocent email asking people to opt in or opt out, actually sent me an unsolicited email advertising HIS website!
Did I report him? NOOOOOOOOOOOO, although the temptation was great. The nerve of him- trying to sell me something! I mean, selling is wrong and shady and greedy isn't it? I hit the DELETE button and moved on down the line, knowing that it is my fault he sent me the email.

It is particularly ironic to me that some of guys and gals who spend half their lives trying to persuade retirees to entrust their life savings to them to "invest" get so utterly bent out of shape when a sales letter or information blurb arrives in their IN box. They swear up and down they never did anything to attract what they call SPAM (even though I have emails saying "put me on your list" from the same people who turned me in to my ISP as a spammer. Go figure..)

Now I am going to do something SHOCKING- I am going to defend Larry Klein here. OMG!
When I was working in eclectic Larryland, I never could understand why advisors and agents, would run over themselves whenever Larry had a new money-making idea, and then call me up and complain ad nauseum about all the marketing emails they subsequently got.

Granted, Larry sometimes overdid it, but sheesh- you guys are the ones wanting cures for what ails your sales. Larry merely followed up and DRIPPED on you after you went to a webinar or downloaded a free report, etc. You all said,"Larry, teach me how to do what you do." Well, HE DID and then you complained.

I have said it before- if you don't like what you read on the blog- post a rebuttal or stop reading. You don't want to read products and services reviews or comments from your fellow advisors- UNSUBSCRIBE to the e-newsletter. Hit delete. Move on.

This blog started because an agent rebuked me for my post-Klein negativity and encouraged me to do something helpful. It was not started so I could become a bigtime gurette and charge outrageous money for adspace. If it wasn't for my husband working extra hours (and griping about it, mind you) I would starve trying to make a living from this.

I am proud to say I haven't taken a penny of money for touting someone's product or service Any one of the people on this blog will tell you that they never paid me anything to write them up here. Instead, I asked them to provide discounts and freebies to BLOG readers. I told them that if I got negative comments, I would not suppress them. I am trying to remain as independent as possible. I try as hard as I can to retain some objectivity.

To all of you who opted in- and there were many- I thank you and apologize for the delay in getting the next issue out. To all of you who took the low road and self-righteously branded me a spammer- grow up.

The time you waste writing me vitriolic emails saying how "my state has some of the most stringent anti-spam laws in the nation" or lecturing me on the nuances of the CAN-SPAM law (about which you know nothing) could have been better spent trying to attract and retain the clients you keep saying you don't have. At least now we know why.. You are too busy crusading against evil to do anything which might make or save you money. To you I say, " OPT OUT- delete, and go away." I don't want to waste my expensive and precious bandwidth sending you stuff you will never appreciate because you know everything already.

Why should a few sour grapes be allowed to arbitrarily decide that other agents and advisors cannot have access to something they might find useful?

'Cause this is America, dammit-land of ten million maladjusted squeaky wheels who get to run things, sit in trees and chant, and make the rest of us drive ten miles out of the way to avoid running over spotted newts.

There, I got that off my chest. I hope that those of you who want to get updates via email and who WANT to find out about new stuff, will email me at I will turn these in to the ISP to prove that yes, people are getting something out of this effort and that they should release my account.

Otherwise, I am bound to say "SCREW IT!" and just stop trying.

Grouchily on the San Joaquin,


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