One analogy I often use is that a qualified plan database (or any prospecting database) is like a gym membership. You can get all sorts of benefits from it, but in order for that to happen, you have to put it to good use.
We all start the year with good intentions, but it’s easy to slip back into old habits. I was talking to one of our customers about this recently. As a top producer with many years of experience, he agreed that breaking into the qualified plan business doesn’t have to be a full-time job. In fact, you can get started by just dedicating a few minutes a day to building your sales pipeline, but you have to do it and you have to do it consistently.
At Larkspur-RiXtrema, we ran a study of our own databases going back several years and found that over any one-year period, roughly 5% of all qualified plans will change hands. In other words, if you made just 20 calls, chances are that you spoke with at least 1 person who will make a decision this year to move their plan to another provider. Make 100 calls and chances are that you’ve spoken with 5 good prospects!
No need to reinvent the wheel?
You still need a plan though, and you can either do it yourself or (better yet) choose something that’s already been done for you and has been proven to work in the past.
I have a friend who was looking for employment when the job market was at a low. He talked to headhunters and responded to ads online, but still had no luck. I told him the reason for his problems might be that he’s contacting these people too late. By the time they received his resume, they’d already gotten 100 other ones. So, what he did was start sending resumes and making follow up calls to employers who had not advertised. Within just two weeks, an employer got back to him saying, “How did you know we were looking for someone like you? We were just about to post an ad in today’s paper! When can you come in to talk with us?” The ad never ran and my friend has been happily employed by this company for the last two years.
The key to getting those 5% of plan sponsors (who will make a change this year) to choose your services is to get in front of them and stay in front of them on a consistent basis. Even if you focused on only 100 plans, follow up works out to be just 5 phone calls per workday per month. That’s very little time and the payoff is well worth it.