Now’s the time for 2016 Retirement Plan Prospecting!
When it comes to pension sales, the top advisors usually post their most impressive results in November and December. That’s what’s known as the pension season, as business owners implement qualified plans to ensure a tax deduction before their current fiscal year ends. For producers, it’s time to reap the benefits of their efforts. Plans and products get sold, and you quickly determine just how successful your year has been. But the work doesn’t begin with autumn’s chill — just the results. The real work usually began long before, when thriving advisors made their first contact with an accountant, financial advisor or business owner. Arguably the most underrated time to make that first contact is in the summer. It’s a time when much of your competition will be enjoying time out of the office. It’s also a time when business owners may still be smarting from paying their taxes, but they still have plenty of time to consider their options and implement a new plan before the end of the year.
So how do you prospect for pensions? We know you’re already expert prospectors, otherwise you wouldn’t be the successful advisors that you are. The question is where to apply those skills. Focus on centers of influence! It may be CPA’s, investment advisors, other insurance agents, or business associates. If you aren’t using our CPA seminar resource you are missing the boat. Whoever has a potential client’s ear and confidence, they are someone worth your time. CPA’s in particular have been a valuable source of referrals to many of our top advisors. Look for ways to set yourself apart from your competition. Try to compliment your existing block of business with door openers.
Begin by identifying sources of pension prospects. These are endless, and they cross your path every day. Potential sources include:
- existing clients
- your clients’ advisors, including CPAs and attorneys
- other agents (such as Property & Casualty or other life insurance agents that are not involved with the pension market)
- business owners whose services you use
- associates in civic organizations
- contacts in cultural or social activities
- your daughter’s soccer coach
Prospecting methods have grown through the years. Traditionally prospecting meant cold calls and mass mailings, which still work well, and if that’s what works best for you, we encourage you to use them. But now there are several additional methods as well. The internet has changed all aspects of our lives, and prospecting is no exception. We can help you gain access to website services that provide access to all recently filed IRS Form 5500’s. This form is filed annually for qualified plans. By accessing this site, and copies of the 5500’s available through this site, you can compile a list of businesses in your area which have pension plans. These plans may be potential clients for you – we frequently assist advisors with analyzing existing plans and propose changes which may be plan design or funding options. Proposing a new plan for a client might be what sets you apart from your competition. You may also want to consider new, creative ways to get your name in front of business owners. Host an event, volunteer at a school function, provide a service in your community. It’s not only a chance to be altruistic, it’s also a great opportunity to get your name circulated and let people know the types of products and services you can offer them. Our Retirement Services team is here to help you explore these opportunities. Contact us today to brainstorm the best way to prospect in your area, so that the end of the year is successful for both you and your clients!