5 Steps to Establish a 401(k) Prospect List

Do you want to grow your 401(k) business but don’t know where to start? Here are five ideas to create a quality 401(k) prospect list through social intelligence to increase your 401(k) plan clients.

Sounds simple, right? Not so fast. If you’re only downloading the plan administrator’s name, ask yourself: Can I do more? We live in a highly connected technological age, so with a little creative data analysis, you can find better (and more accurate) information.

Step 1: Download your preferred plan sponsor prospect list from a quality 5500 data aggregator.

Feel free to refine this list; select a manageable search radius (20-30 miles from your office), preferred industries, plan size (think average plan size and up market). You can even search for red flags within plans such as corrective distributions.

Step 2: Search the named plan administrator on social media.

Keep in mind the Form 5500 data is “older” information. Most people keep their social media profiles up to date; and even if that person has changed jobs, they typically will immediately update their social media profiles with their new company information and title. Therefore, you can strengthen your prospect list by confirming that you are marketing to the right person who still works at the prospective company. During your social media search, keep your eye open for second degree connections and shared interests such as groups, associations, and schools.

Step 3: Find additional decision makers.

Rarely is a retirement plan decision a truly solo one because it affects all employees. When a plan changes to a new advisor, he or she could possibly affect plan governance meetings, investment analysis reports, benchmarking processes, employee education curriculum and more. As a fiduciary group, the plan decision makers should be conducting due diligence and documenting why they are making a change. Therefore, when you are establishing your prospect list, find additional decision makers who most likely will be part of the conversation and start to develop a trusted relationship. They might have titles like CFO, CEO, Director of HR, Controller, President, Owner, etc.

Step 4: Connect on social media.

There are two schools of thought on this. The first is to only connect with people you truly know. The other is to connect with everyone. Think about your business and what you are trying to accomplish through social media and select the strategy that best aligns with your business goals.

Step 5: Post, share, and like.

It’s time to demonstrate your retirement plan experience. As you continue to post and share about trends, regulatory updates, current events, and hot topics, plan decision makers will start to identify you as a professional retirement plan advisor.

A recent Fidelity study, “Plan Sponsor Attitudes,” found that 23% of plan sponsors are searching for a new retirement plan advisor, and the No. 1 reason for changing is to work with a more knowledgeable retirement plan specialist. Therefore, if you consistently demonstrate your retirement plan acumen via social media, those plan decisions makers will connect the dots and look to you as a trusted resource and hopefully, their new retirement plan advisor.

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the Founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing

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