Cold Call/Prospecting for Rep

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Dec 24, 2009 2:49 am

So I recently took a position at a small investment firm in San Antonio, Tx. where I will be cold calling on business Retirement Plans(401Ks) trying to set up appointments for the rep I am working for/with.  I will pet paid a set amount for each appointment I set and then a set percentage of the fees received for each plan he closes(a pretty good percentage). He already has 10 or 11 plans under his belt. I will be calling on plans with between 500k - 5mil in the san antonio/austin area. He agreed to bring me on and seems like a real cool guy. I am still a student and will be graduating next December with a degree in Finance and this is the area of work I want to go into. He is offering me this position for now and said once I get in my final semester he will start training me on how to handle his smaller individual accounts and maybe even start letting me manage them before or once I graduate so I kind of have somewhat of a book right when I get out of school. He also said he will eventual take me to some of the meetings I set up and train me through the process of implementing the plan and all the other aspects of the retirement plan process.  He is an individual broker/dealer and has some other pretty good selling points....fees, service, performance....

So the bottom line is I was really posting to get some tips maybe and just some input on what ya'll think or some cold calling tips or just some tips in general.
 Will I be able to set appointments? will he close the plans? How many calls do i need to make in a day/week? Any tips/advice is welcome.
 I know it will be hard buy I can take rejection and I have thought up some pretty good responses for the "Not interested, were all set" response just to get a 15 minute appointment to review there current plan.



I'm really pretty excited to start and ready to take on the challenge.

Thanks in advance for any responses.

Dec 24, 2009 8:06 am

The only tip I can give you is to work hard. What you are doing is purely a numbers game and the more calls you make, the better off you will be. You mentioned that you were working on good responses to objections and that's something you will need to get better at as you make your calls.



Sounds like you are in some type of apprenticeship with a seasoned broker and he can teach you a lot about the business. If he's paying you for each appointment and a % of the fees collected, that's not a bad college gig.



Dec 28, 2009 3:40 pm

thanks for your input Omar.

and no one else...

Dec 28, 2009 3:45 pm

TC,

 
This will be a great learning experience - learning that it is a numbers game.  It seems like your boss is doing right by you, not just taking advantage of you.  If this is the case, and he continues to help you along,t raining you, paying you fairly, etc., I would suggest you just put your nose to the grindstone and work hard.  And learn everything you possibly can along the way.  You can't probably see it now, but 10 years from now (when you are a modest 30~ish years old, you will be counting your blessings.
Dec 29, 2009 5:28 pm

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

Dec 30, 2009 1:11 am

by sales cycle do you mean from contact to close...
 or do you mean it takes two years before they start looking for another advisor

Dec 30, 2009 11:45 am
Gaddock:

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

 
No, the bummer is that you think  the sales cycle is two years.
 
Ok, to be fair if you are going after the 401k at GE it could take two years. But for the average docs doing biz as an LLC, maybe a month or less. Same for Joe the plumber and Bill the builder. Small companies with maybe up to 100 employess don't have to be big complicated deals. We just like to think they are. And small companies loaded with a lot of high income employees - like hitting a rich gold vein noone else is looking for.
 
Admittedly i'm not a 401k expert. But i'm married to one. When she first started I advised the low IQ approach, the only approach I know. Call'em up and pitch it like a product. Ask those disturbing questions : Are you happy with your performance/are you happy with your advisor? Close for the appointment. Rinse/dip/repeat 200 times a day.
 
 
 
Dec 30, 2009 12:05 pm
BondGuy:
Gaddock:

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

 
No, the bummer is that you think  the sales cycle is two years.
 
Ok, to be fair if you are going after the 401k at GE it could take two years. But for the average docs doing biz as an LLC, maybe a month or less. Same for Joe the plumber and Bill the builder. Small companies with maybe up to 100 employess don't have to be big complicated deals. We just like to think they are. And small companies loaded with a lot of high income employees - like hitting a rich gold vein noone else is looking for.
 
Admittedly i'm not a 401k expert. But i'm married to one. When she first started I advised the low IQ approach, the only approach I know. Call'em up and pitch it like a product. Ask those disturbing questions : Are you happy with your performance/are you happy with your advisor? Close for the appointment. Rinse/dip/repeat 200 times a day.
 
 
 



A month!?  And I thought a 4 month sales cycle was fast.

Dec 30, 2009 1:24 pm

I am actually targeting the small businesses, mostly with less than 100 employees, with
500k - 5 mil in the retirement plan.


Ya'll have all actually been very helpful and appreciate all the replies...keep it up

 

Dec 31, 2009 9:39 am
Moraen:
BondGuy:
Gaddock:

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

 
No, the bummer is that you think  the sales cycle is two years.
 
Ok, to be fair if you are going after the 401k at GE it could take two years. But for the average docs doing biz as an LLC, maybe a month or less. Same for Joe the plumber and Bill the builder. Small companies with maybe up to 100 employess don't have to be big complicated deals. We just like to think they are. And small companies loaded with a lot of high income employees - like hitting a rich gold vein noone else is looking for.
 
Admittedly i'm not a 401k expert. But i'm married to one. When she first started I advised the low IQ approach, the only approach I know. Call'em up and pitch it like a product. Ask those disturbing questions : Are you happy with your performance/are you happy with your advisor? Close for the appointment. Rinse/dip/repeat 200 times a day.
 
 
 



A month!?  And I thought a 4 month sales cycle was fast.

 
It ain't rocket science, call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
 
That said, and not to say that the 401k biz isn't lucrative, we've moved away from it. Too many moving parts, very service intensive. Wifey morphed to 401k rollovers.
 
The obvious business plan would have one leading to the other, yet unless you're doing this with lots of companies with lots of employees or with really big companies, beyond the scope of tc's target market, the number's just aren't there. Better to focus on the rollover end where the big dough is. And again, it's simple, straightforward, and has few moving parts. Call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
Dec 31, 2009 10:34 am
BondGuy:
Moraen:
BondGuy:
Gaddock:

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

 
No, the bummer is that you think  the sales cycle is two years.
 
Ok, to be fair if you are going after the 401k at GE it could take two years. But for the average docs doing biz as an LLC, maybe a month or less. Same for Joe the plumber and Bill the builder. Small companies with maybe up to 100 employess don't have to be big complicated deals. We just like to think they are. And small companies loaded with a lot of high income employees - like hitting a rich gold vein noone else is looking for.
 
Admittedly i'm not a 401k expert. But i'm married to one. When she first started I advised the low IQ approach, the only approach I know. Call'em up and pitch it like a product. Ask those disturbing questions : Are you happy with your performance/are you happy with your advisor? Close for the appointment. Rinse/dip/repeat 200 times a day.
 
 
 



A month!?  And I thought a 4 month sales cycle was fast.

 
It ain't rocket science, call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
 
That said, and not to say that the 401k biz isn't lucrative, we've moved away from it. Too many moving parts, very service intensive. Wifey morphed to 401k rollovers.
 
The obvious business plan would have one leading to the other, yet unless you're doing this with lots of companies with lots of employees or with really big companies, beyond the scope of tc's target market, the number's just aren't there. Better to focus on the rollover end where the big dough is. And again, it's simple, straightforward, and has few moving parts. Call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
 
OK I stand corrected on Joe's 3 employee that has a health agent for a rep. you're probably right. If your going for firms with assets it's an average 2 year business cycle to close. IF EVER. It's not just Joe's decision at most firms there is a board and an established relationship that typically will have multiple lines of business with the firm and cross relationships. Beyond that their is one time a year they take new bids. You have to first get in the door to be able to be on the list to present LET ALONE GET THEIR CURRENT PLAN DOCUMENT. Then the politics of one of the board member has a friend in the business that he hands off your brilliant proposal too and takes the case off your back. All that's if your even able to get past the people in human recources that are not in a position to make a decision but will tell you they can.
 
IF your wife is a 401K "expert" then she's a rep for a firm that goes in with the broker after he's pursued the firm for the 2 year cycle to assist with the presentation ans attempted close. Then finally get an answer after human relations, COO, CFO and the other board members make a choice.
 
As for the GE comment "2 year business cycle" is idiotic. They are 100% self insured and funded they don't work with a broker. They creat a department. 
 
"Call em, close em"   nonsense.
 
Bondguy should stick to bonds.
 
Going after Joe Schmo's account isn't worth the call. I would guess that's why you don't do it anymore.
Dec 31, 2009 11:48 am
Gaddock:
BondGuy:
Moraen:
BondGuy:
Gaddock:

The bummer about 401k business is the sales cycle is around two years.

 
No, the bummer is that you think  the sales cycle is two years.
 
Ok, to be fair if you are going after the 401k at GE it could take two years. But for the average docs doing biz as an LLC, maybe a month or less. Same for Joe the plumber and Bill the builder. Small companies with maybe up to 100 employess don't have to be big complicated deals. We just like to think they are. And small companies loaded with a lot of high income employees - like hitting a rich gold vein noone else is looking for.
 
Admittedly i'm not a 401k expert. But i'm married to one. When she first started I advised the low IQ approach, the only approach I know. Call'em up and pitch it like a product. Ask those disturbing questions : Are you happy with your performance/are you happy with your advisor? Close for the appointment. Rinse/dip/repeat 200 times a day.
 
 
 



A month!?  And I thought a 4 month sales cycle was fast.

 
It ain't rocket science, call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
 
That said, and not to say that the 401k biz isn't lucrative, we've moved away from it. Too many moving parts, very service intensive. Wifey morphed to 401k rollovers.
 
The obvious business plan would have one leading to the other, yet unless you're doing this with lots of companies with lots of employees or with really big companies, beyond the scope of tc's target market, the number's just aren't there. Better to focus on the rollover end where the big dough is. And again, it's simple, straightforward, and has few moving parts. Call'em, pitch'em, close'em.
 
OK I stand corrected on Joe's 3 employee that has a health agent for a rep. you're probably right. If your going for firms with assets it's an average 2 year business cycle to close. IF EVER. It's not just Joe's decision at most firms there is a board and an established relationship that typically will have multiple lines of business with the firm and cross relationships. Beyond that their is one time a year they take new bids. You have to first get in the door to be able to be on the list to present LET ALONE GET THEIR CURRENT PLAN DOCUMENT. Then the politics of one of the board member has a friend in the business that he hands off your brilliant proposal too and takes the case off your back. All that's if your even able to get past the people in human recources that are not in a position to make a decision but will tell you they can.
 
IF your wife is a 401K "expert" then she's a rep for a firm that goes in with the broker after he's pursued the firm for the 2 year cycle to assist with the presentation ans attempted close. Then finally get an answer after human relations, COO, CFO and the other board members make a choice.
 
As for the GE comment "2 year business cycle" is idiotic. They are 100% self insured and funded they don't work with a broker. They creat a department. 
 
"Call em, close em"   nonsense.
 
Bondguy should stick to bonds.
 
Going after Joe Schmo's account isn't worth the call. I would guess that's why you don't do it anymore.
 
Thanks for the put down Gad!
 
I'll bet you've never tried call'em/pitch'em/close'em. You really should before you put it down.
 
I used GE as an example of large companies that most rookies shouldn't try to approach. GE is a name everyone recognizes. I have no idea how they operate their plans nor do i want to know. It was a name pulled randomly out of the air. But thanks for the expert update.
 
I do know that there is not a fast way to get anything done in a large corporation. So, my advice, stay away. Hopefully tc heeds that suggestion.
 
The plans we have are right in tc's target market, a few hundred thousand to about seven million. Might be one or two that are somewhat bigger than that. So, realize up front, these are not the grand plans an advisor of your importance handles. They are the Joe Schmo's of the world and their little 50 employee, 3 million dollar plan,  plumbing and heating firms. For plans of that size my advice will and does work. How do i know? Because it's how my wife built that biz. No board meeetings, unless you count having a beer with Joe and his wife a board meeting. No 400 page proposals, simple 2,  5 and 10 pagers. And, a fifty pager if we were up against some asshole  who was intent on killing trees. Like i said low IQ stuff. Mostly selling from the heart, not the chart. It ain't rocket science!
 
And here's something else i know, it's a low return pain in the ass business. Very service intensive for the dollars earned. At least where there's lots of employees. So, the first cut in that biz was to limit our market to PCs and LLCs. Mostly medical practices. Lots of money per participant. And many more pockets of dough to go after. Very simple and straight forward. Most plans right in tc's target market, and again no board of directors, human relations department, 400 page proposals needed. Still, the rollover biz is so much more profitable for time spent. Thus the change in direction. In fact, we're working on a deal with another FC to handle the 401k biz for my wife so she can use her time more productively.  She'll still sell, but the other FC will service and maitain the relationships with PAs etc.
 
Gad, enjoy your board meetings, your 400 page proposals and everything else you do to make your life so complicated up there where only the big dogs hunt. For us, we'll stick with what we know works in our tiny little Joe Schmo world.
 
 
Dec 31, 2009 2:22 pm

Tit for tat on the put down bondguy. You rock on with yourself. Only telling you my experience doing employee benefits which I did for quite some time. It's my believe if a guy started out just going after 401k business he'll bleed out. I was dealing primarily with setting up partially self insured health plans through the 90's and then some with firms that typically had 50 to 150 employees. 401k business in my experience has the same cycle as the health, DI, P&C and the rest.

 
I'm glad it's working for you.
 
Happy  new year.
Jan 4, 2010 12:30 pm

who do you call on initially when approaching a biz about their 401k?