Beyond the Traditional: 4 More Ways to Win 401(k) Business

How paying attention to timing, regulatory change, and incremental planning can boost advisor loyalty.

Throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities for advisors to tap in to what plan participants are focusing on and create conversations that engage them. Yet timing is everything.

For example, participants may be focused on taxes in April, so why hold a tax session with them in October? Likewise, why have a conversation with participants about raising their plan contributions in a month far removed from when their annual raise occurs? And June is usually wedding month, so having that conversation about a joint retirement plan doesn’t quite make sense in December.

Yet even the best-timed conversation has limits. It’s not enough to be in front of your participants when these events are occurring. No matter how eager your participants are to reduce their tax bill, the tools to do so need to be there, as well.

What’s an advisor to do?

Fortunately, there are ways advisors can enhance their approach that will go further to entice business and improve plan participants’ peace of mind. Here are a few options to consider:

Perfect Timing

If holding a participant information session in October is your usual method of reaching out, try adding one more session between February and April focused on taxes. Or one more session as new regulations are about to be implemented. Getting in front of your plan sponsors and participants at a time when they’re seeking specific advice elevates your services and builds some serious loyalty. Plus, winning new business by adding these special sessions to your list of services frames your advisory as one that really considers the participants’ needs.

The Incremental Plan

But even the best-timed advisory meeting won’t serve as your only tool in bringing in new 401(k) business. Prospects want to see how your services compare to other advisors’ services. One great way to do that is to help your participants increase their annual contributions in a way that’s barely noticeable. Work with them to add an incremental increase of 1% (or more if they’ve had a promotion or more significant raise).

The Regulation Maze

Most plan advisors stay on top of regulatory changes, even in a time when the changes come in rapid-fire fashion. However, few advisors illustrate to their clients and prospects that attention to detail. When a significant change is about to occur, get in front of your plan sponsors and participants with the details and how it impacts them. Also, use social media to engage potential clients on the regulatory landscape. Be seen as the advisor who is actively monitoring and addressing issues as they arise.

Relationship, Relationship, Relationship

People buy from people. They don’t stay loyal to companies unless there’s a personal connection. Be that connection. Focus the core of your business on building strong relationships within the communities you serve. Offer regular correspondence throughout the year that shows you understand the challenges and questions both employers and participants have.

Put the emphasis of your business on helping first, selling last. Create a persona of expertise around your practice just by answering questions thoughtfully and from a perspective of “we” or “you” statements, not “I” statements. Keep the spotlight on your clients’ needs.


Advisors, how do you go beyond maximizing benefits?

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