Close the Sale: TPA and Advisor Joint Service Model

Close the Sale: TPA and Advisor Joint Service Model

The best sales presentations I ever participated in as an Advisor were those where all members of the sales team; TPA, product Wholesaler and myself were in-tune with each other’s message and effectively communicated to the plan sponsor how we would work in concert to serve them and the plan participants.

I encourage TPAs and their Advisor partners to create a joint service model which effectively communicates to the plan sponsor and the plan participants the activities delivered to them throughout a given year. The calendar is the structure for your joint service model, because both your firm and the Advisors activities are calendar based.

Meet with your Advisors, and ask them to outline their specific initial and ongoing service activities with frequency, including:

  • Initial Trustee Meeting
  • Develop Investment Committee
  • Develop Investment Policy Statement (IPS)
  • Develop Education Policy Statement (EPS)
  • Employee Education: Group and One-on-One
  • Monthly Check-up Call to the Plan Sponsor
  • Quarterly Investment Management Reports
  • Annual Survey of Employees
  • Annual Trustee Meeting

Now combine the top activities you deliver for the plan sponsor throughout the year with those listed by the Advisor. Customize the service model based on information gathered during profiling. The written version is then combined with a visual calendar highlighting dates or periods with the service activities you each are delivering throughout the year.

A joint service model can increase sales and retention of plans for both your firm and the Advisor. The better you and the Advisor can communicate your partnership and shared responsibility to serve the plan, the easier it will be for the plan sponsor to decide to hire you. Close those sales!

Contact me for a sample Advisor Service Model for use in building your joint service model, cbarlow@knowhow401k.com

September 17th, 2015

Your 401(k) Plan Clients Are Being Called: What are They Telling Your Competition about You?

Your 401(k) Plan Clients Are Being Called: What are They Telling Your Competition about You?

Your 401(k) plan client decision makers are getting called and meeting your competition with their impromptu stop-byes at a greater volume this time of the year versus any other. We are in selling season which began July 1st and runs thru October. This is the time of year plan sponsors are more aware of their plan because of the recent filing of Form 5500 and audit if they have over 100 eligible employees, along with their understanding that they have the time to improve the plan for the first payroll in January. What are they telling the Advisor prospecting them? Are they giving the Advisor the opportunity to discuss the plan or are they shutting them down.

This may be how you obtained the relationship. You may have relentlessly attempted to contact the then prospect decision maker impressing them with your persistence and value add message. They finally relented and picked up the phone when you called to show their admiration for your persistence. You opened a conversation with them and effectively demonstrated to them that you are a professional and worth a moment of their time. Your competition is attempting to do the same.

So what are your 401(k) plan clients telling your competition about their plan? This or an appropriate variation is what you want them to say.

“Our plan has its issues but those responsible for service and operations do a great job. Our Advisor is proactive and checks-in often keeping us informed. She is well liked by our employees and they look forward to seeing her several times a year. Our operations manager at the provider knows her stuff and when we need something, she or a member of her team get it done.”

It’s tough for your competitor to communicate or demonstrate that they would deliver a higher quality of service, so they will attack the plan features and fees. Developing with the plan sponsor a simple service model and effective delivery of its activities along with ongoing communication with them is what you do to earn the above statement and shut down your competitors during any time of the year. Continued success earning that comment from your plan sponsor clients.

August 6th, 2015

Welcome to Selling Season!

Welcome to Selling Season!

Whether you are Product Manager, National Sales Manager, Wholesaler or Advisor the four month period of time from July thru October is the time you make your numbers for the year. Employers are most inclined to improve their company retirement plan for January 1st, 2016 at this time of year we call the Selling Season. Employers seem to be conditioned and comfortable discussing a retirement plan improvements now for the 1st of the year implementation.

Plan sponsors with a calendar year end plan are more aware of their company retirement plan at this time of year because Form 5500 is due by July 31st, (unless a 2 1/2 month extension is sought).  And if the plan has over 100 participants the plan audit is being finalized to attach Schedule H to their Form 5500.

This is the time of year for all prospect facing sales professionals to continue to be in contact with plan decision makers. Hopefully you have been in communication with plan prospects over the past months and possibly years leading to this selling season. Those numerous communications prove your determination and make it easy for the decision maker to remember you. Prospects will still vacation over summer, but as each day progresses your persistence and timing can be most rewarded.

July 2nd, 2015