Weitz Financial Group has developed a successful process for communicating opportunities to 401(k) prospects and growing their business.

Executive Summary

  • Weitz Financial Group, a midsize 401(k) advisory practice, created a multi-step process to find and win clients with PlanPro at the center.
  • The team creates a shortlist of high-quality prospects by filtering to view plans with several red flags and match other target criteria.
  • Before engaging, the team researches each plan decision-maker to ensure the conversation is productive and relevant for the prospect.
  • During the cold call, the main objectives are establishing a personal connection and highlighting the opportunities for plan improvement.
  • They follow-up with an email that shares some high-level plan analysis and proposes a formal meeting time to review their plan.
  • During a plan review meeting, they leverage PlanPro’s profile export capabilities to easily download a detailed, client-friendly report of their plan.
  • Weitz Financial also re-engages with former prospects by actively reviewing new 5500 data as it becomes available each year.
  • In nine months of joining PlanPro, Weitz Financial attributes six new clients directly to PlanPro, with ten more prospective clients in their pipeline.

Background

Weitz Financial Group advises over 100 401(k) plans. Focused on solving problems for their prospects and clients, Weitz Financial has developed an effective process for reaching new clients and growing their practice. It centers around identifying high-quality prospects, communicating opportunities, and providing educational resources. Scott and his colleagues have tried many strategies to grow their 401(k) business to over 100 clients before settling on their current process. Following this process, Weitz Financial has experienced strong growth with PlanPro at the center. We sat down with Scott Collins, a Vice President at Weitz Financial, who shared some of his firm’s techniques and success.

Process

“We’ve got it pretty much drilled down to a science, and it’s worked out tremendously.”

Scott’s 401(k) prospecting is centered around tailored outreach to each prospect. As such, a key part of his process is identifying a shortlist of plans for whom he feels Weitz Financial Group is a good fit. He has found the best 401(k) prospects have clear opportunities for improvement he can identify via data in the PlanPro platform. Scott and his team identify a shortlist of 401(k) opportunities by filtering to plans with 5–8 red flags (or certain plan weaknesses, e.g., high admin fees per participant). Scott researches each prospect before engaging allowing him to have a productive conversation immediately, a process that has become easier since becoming a PlanPro client. Scott also notes that the PlanPro data is much more up-to-date than their previous software provider.

Reaching Prospects

Scott and his colleagues rely on the PlanPro plan profile to identify red flags, opportunities, and decision-makers. He relies on PlanPro’s up-to-date contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and LinkedIn profiles, which is often available even for decision-makers not listed on the 5500. 

“The contact names are all legit; they are all present employees. Phone numbers are right on the money, which I use before the email. This has been a really great software for us to use and how we do business.”

By understanding a firm’s needs and a decision-maker’s background, Weitz Financial tailors their phone call to create a personal connection and speak to each prospect’s unique opportunities for plan improvement.

Scott relies on phone calls as a core method of reaching 401(k) prospects. He notes that reaching prospects via phone has become more challenging since COVID-19, but he still finds it the most effective way for him to connect with a prospect. In addition, he has found LinkedIn connections and messaging to be an effective alternative to a phone call when ineffective; especially when he is able to reference a mutual connection.

In his initial cold call, Scott educates the prospect that there is recently available public data on their plan that shows opportunities for improvements. He then highlights the identified opportunities. If a prospect is interested in learning more about the opportunities, he offers to schedule a meeting to review their plan and promises a follow-up email with more details. A clear message and call-to-action are key contributors to his success, and Scott finds phone calls increase the likelihood of a prospect continuing the conversation as it establishes a personal connection.

The Follow-Up

Following a phone call or when unable to connect via phone, Scott sends an email summarizing plan opportunities to prospects. He is sure to include enough data in the email body to offer value without overwhelming the prospect. Scott notices recipients of his emails are more likely to open and reply if they include plan analysis, which establishes his expertise. At the end of the email, he always proposes scheduling a formal meeting to dive deeper into the plan — a clear call to action is key.

“That out of everything I’ve tried is the most successful way to approach it”

Plan Review Meeting

In preparation for plan review meetings with prospects, Scott leverages PlanPro’s report capabilities including fee savings analysis, where he creates client-friendly reports on opportunities in seconds. He adds/removes sections depending on the prospect (e.g., benchmarking, fees, investments, diversification, etc.) and inserts his firm’s branding to customize the document. He views an initial plan review meeting as an opportunity for Weitz Financial to demonstrate their expertise and share intelligence as an advisor. This process is scalable with PlanPro which makes in-depth analysis feasible for an early meeting.

“The thing that I find the most helpful for the prospect — on the actual report that you can generate, you can go and get an estimated cost saving if they make certain tweaks. I just had a call this morning and did that. So they can see, if they make these changes over a 10-year period, they could save up to $2 million. And that really drove it home.”

Reengagement

Scott has also had success re-engaging cold prospects by actively reviewing new 5500 data for prospects as it comes available each year. This is easy with PlanPro which will send an email alert to users when new filings are available for “followed” plans. He’ll reach out to the prospect referencing their conversation a year ago and informing the prospect new data is available for their plan with the same or new opportunities. Timing is often an issue for prospects, and this affords him another opportunity to connect. He often finds prospects are interested to learn more when they might not have expressed interest previously.

Results

Weitz Financial designed a repeatable prospecting strategy developed through hard work, trial, and error — one that has been effective in winning new clients, despite the difficulties from COVID-19. He attributes much of their success to being persistent and also heavily leveraging their CRM system. In nine months of joining PlanPro, Scott attributes six new clients directly to PlanPro, with ten more prospective clients in their pipeline. Weitz Financial continues its prospecting approach rooted in education by hosting financial wellness workshops on YouTube and sharing across their social channels. 

Illustrations by Freepik Stories.