Don’t Deride DC Dabblers

Ever heard the term DC Dabbler?

A DC Dabbler is an Advisor that goes out and builds a network of relationships.  They serve their network every day, and every 12-18 months someone in their network needs help with a 401(k) plan.

The nick-name Dabbler simply refers to the fact that the Advisor generates revenue from multiple sources other than 401(k) business, and most are not actively prospecting for 401(k) plans.

Are DC Dabblers a fringe group of Advisors?  We don’t think so.  As of January 2019, 95% of Advisors with one of the largest broker dealers in the country are DC Dabblers.  So this is not a fringe group of Advisors to overlook.  DC Dabblers have relationships with decision makers and get the call when a plan is started or improved.

The DC Dabblers we talk to want to be as effective as 401(k) specialists.  They do this by leveraging trusted expert service provider partners like TPAs and recordkeepers to help them build best-in-class solutions for clients.

And this is where we see an opportunity shift in the 401(k) retirement plan market.  Historically service provider partners focused their time, efforts, and resources on 401(k) specialists (5%).  In passing, DC Dabblers were handed a business card and asked to call when they have an opportunity. Tools created to help the 401(k) specialists might be offered but are not what the DC Dabbler needs to move opportunities forward.  So the entire exchange is a low to no-value exchange for everyone, the DC Dabbler, the sales rep and the client they serve.

Service provider partners willing to create and provide the tools DC Dabblers need to close, create or qualify an opportunity, prepare a winning sales presentation or provide service activities for the 401(k) plan will create a new channel of referrals and sales for their product or services.

We applaud the work DC Dabbler Advisors are doing to positively impact employees and employers.  It’s a team effort that serves everyone.

Job well done!

Andy Hudson, Step Strategic Marketing,

Chris Barlow, KnowHow 401(k),

Golden Anniversary of My Paper Route

50 Years Lessons Learned

I’ll never forget the day in 1969 when my Mom told me that she had arranged for me to become a paper boy.  It wasn’t my idea to spend less time playing and become more responsible.  I was eleven and my Mom had five other kids in the house.  She was looking for ways to keep us busy.  When I sold my route two and a half years later I had doubled deliveries and revenue.  I learned many lessons fifty years ago that still apply today.

  • I learned that I had within me the will to succeed. I didn’t know during the first couple of days, and especially the first Sunday if I could physically do the job. After early assistance from my older brother and ongoing encouragement from my parents, I learned that I could do the job by myself.  And from then on it was a matter of continuing to show up. This laid the foundation of all of my future successes.  The feeling of accomplishment and freedom was and still is addictive.
  • Your customers complain if you don’t deliver.
  • If you don’t collect you don’t get paid. And it was OK to be aggressive with late payers.  I paid for the papers before delivering them.  I was going to get my money.
  • Persistence allows you to improve, make work lighter and build a successful business.
  • It’s always good to be the guy with money.

After being a paperboy I went on to be a school janitor, shoe shine boy, dish washer, landscaper, liquidator, Financial Advisor and then a series of 401(k) marketplace sales positions.  All positions taught me lessons but none provided more than my paper route.  Thanks Mom.

Christopher H. Barlow

Managing Director

KnowHow 401(k), LLC

January 2019


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