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A Tale of Two Offices

With the DOL conflict-of-interest rule, retirement plan opportunities are everywhere. For the expert, seasoned advisor, this is a golden marketing event. Today, 91% of retirement plans are serviced by retail wealth management advisors; it should be an easy conversation to influence plan sponsors about why they should work with an experienced professional.

Yet, it seems more challenging than ever for plan sponsors to distinguish generalist financial advisors from retirement plan experts. You can change this.

Digital Office

Seven seconds. That’s how long your website has to engage a plan sponsor. Also, 8 out of 10 prospects are going to research you. Prospects are going to visit your website. If your website is compelling, organized and easy on the eyes, that action could convert to an inbound lead. In a recent MassMutual study, 43% of plan sponsors said a good website is important and 41% said they would like to see a good value proposition clearly stated on it.[1. MassMutual Retirement Plan Referrals Study. Opportunities for financial advisors to obtain referrals from retirement plan sponsors, August 2016.]

Ask yourself: Does my website have a clear retirement plan-centric message? Does it have the words 401(k), 403(b), Cash Balance, Pension, and/or Retirement Plan on it? Is it easy for visitors to immediately understand what we do?

If your website needs a little refresher, don’t fret – the Internet is editable! Update your website, LinkedIn profile and biography. Small changes can go a long way.

Physical Office

Make a great first impression. You are a retirement plan expert and your marketing should reflect your professionalism, experience and integrity. If you begin a conversation with a handshake, business card and yellow pad, are you hurting or strengthening your brand?

Let’s demonstrate with an example. You go to a restaurant and the host greets you, “Hi and welcome to Henry’s Gastropub.” Then you sit at the table and your menu says, “Larry’s Produce.” The waiter explains that your food is from Larry’s Produce – and yet they specialize in sushi. Now as a customer, what are you thinking?

By standardizing your brand, you stop the confusion. You create a clear path that plan sponsors can follow, you build trust and credibility, and you improve the reputation of the entire retirement plan industry.

Click here to read more commentary from Rebecca Hourihan.

Your presented marketing materials should strengthen your brand. It is a way for retirement plan experts to differentiate. Show and tell plan sponsors how you can help them with their fiduciary responsibilities, plan governance, operational compliance, transactional oversight, plan design, investment monitoring, fee benchmarking, cost reasonableness, service provider analysis, retirement readiness and participant outcomes. With your years of experience, it should be easy for plan sponsors to understand how you service retirement plans and why they should partner with specialists.

We’ll leave you with one last thought. In today’s interconnected world, we all have two offices. The first is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5. When people visit, you have a nice boardroom, fresh flowers and complimentary refreshments.

However, you have a second office. It’s your digital office. It’s open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. People can visit anytime.

Now, one last question: How many clients actually visit your physical office?

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