Richard Ford, Chief Marketing Officer of PlanMember Financial Corporation, shares how TRAK helps advisors educate clients and create understandable retirement plans and illustrations.
Richard says, "All of our successful advisors are using the standard or deluxe version of TRAK ... Invest the time in learning how to operate [TRAK], train your sales assistant to be able to run those reports and set it up in your standard operating procedures in your sales process and it will help you close business, because it actually shows exactly what [the clients] need to be doing."
RICHARD FORD, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER OF PLANMEMBER FINANCIAL CORPORATION
It’s great to be here. I’m the Chief Marketing Officer with PlanMember Financial Corporation. Been there for 26 years, and am responsible for all our traditional and digital marketing for our 500 advisors, amongst a number of other things.
WHO DO PLANMEMBER ADVISORS WORK WITH?
Our advisors are targeting, we have 140,000 customer accounts, and those fall in the areas of public school teachers, non-profit employees, police, fire, governmental workers, small business owners, and even larger for-profit employers as well.
AT PLANMEMBER, WHO USES TRAK AND WHY?
All of our successful advisors are using the Standard or Deluxe version of TRAK. And it’s incorporated into the DNA of our sales process because we’re all about planning, and education, and product is secondary. We’re really about educating a customer, potential customer about their shortfalls, and what the gaps are, and how they can fill those gaps by pre-tax savings or post-tax savings. And the Deluxe and Standardized versions of our customized TRAK enable us to do that with our customers.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS TRAK MADE FOR YOUR ADVISORS?
Well, it gives them an up-front planning process and an opportunity to meet with a customer. And take a warm lead that know they need some help and drive them to the creation of this 16 page report, that’s packaged in a nice folder, gives them opportunity to meet directly with that customer, or push it out electronically and make adjustments on the fly based on their telling that person, well ya know I want to retire 5 years later than I told you, or I can set aside more money than I, maybe this is indicating that I should be setting aside to maintain my lifestyle.
WHY TRAK OVER OTHER SOFTWARE PRODUCTS?
Well, it’s simple and relatively easy to use. The more data collection that can be gathered up front, to produce the report itself, which has a lot of great illustrations in it: people are visual. You know they look at the bottom line, but at the same time they’re looking at what they should be setting aside now. And the longer they wait, the more they’re going to have to set aside later. And we’ve used this tool because we’ve worked with TRAK and they’ve been able to customize this for us in a unique way that our advisors can take advantage of. In terms of how we utilize it, we have built an entire business development campaign around a complimentary planner savings analysis – it’s the take away. It’s really what, ya know, we driving somebody to say “yes I need one of those” and then they find out exactly what that is. That’s done either through email marketing, on the advisor's website – there’s a button that says “Request A Plan And Savings Analysis”, they fill out the information, it’s submitted to the advisor, the sales assistant or the advisor calls them to gather a little bit more information, runs that report and then generates it out. We also have it available on our online retirement academy which is a 3 course curriculum, it’s all about the basics of participating in your retirement plan, the basics of investing, an income and investment planning in retirement. Each of the action steps in the course curriculum is about requesting a plan and savings analysis or retirement income analysis in the case somebody nearing retirement.
YOU SAID THAT TRAK IS INCORPORATED INTO THE DNA OF YOUR SALES PROCESS. TELL ME MORE ABOUT THAT.
Well we have the Standard version that can be downloaded for free, and there is a 30 day complimentary trial. But we back it up with a lot of training. It’s incorporated into our orientation modules for the new advisor. We have ongoing PRC Gap Analysis training. We house all that training on our website and library so people can come back and view it at any time. And it’s also part of our orientation training that we have for our financial centers and their advisors. So it’s really an integrated process in our sales process.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS TRAK MADE IN SALES FOR YOUR ADVISORS?
You know it’s hard to put that into dollars and cents but I’d say once someone starts using it, it becomes a standardized version of their sales process where they can really guide somebody in setting aside more money pre-tax or post-tax. And then annually on the representative’s website is essentially an offshoot of this, it’s an online retirement plan review that’s an annual checkup that incorporates a lot of that same data that was calculated for that individual early on, but where they are in their career and what they need to be setting aside now.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERING USING TRAK?
Invest the time in learning how to operate it, train your sales assistant to be able to run those reports, and set it up in your standard operating procedures and your sales process, and it will help you close business: because it actually shows exactly what they need to be doing, and if they are not doing it, it’s their own fault.