Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Jonathon Schultheiss from North Carolina, and Jonathon is a financial advisor with a very interesting specialty. They specialize in managing 401k plans for large companies.
We had a really great conversation about the Before Unit for them and I have 100% confidence that if they get people lined up ready to get some help, in the During and After Unit they are 100% ready to help them because they have a great retention rate.
So we focused our attention on the Before Unit, and how to identify the exact target audience. Jonathon has narrowed it down to 500 people and we talked about how to get involved in a conversation with them that can lead to the opportunity for him to bring them on board.
Jonathon's a marketing lover and he's got some great ideas that you're going to enjoy. I'll keep you updated with reports from the field as he's implementing all these things.
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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 137
Dean: Hello, Jonathon.
Dean: There he is.
Jonathon: Yeah. How are you doing?
Dean: I'm good, sir. How are you?
Jonathon: I'm good. It's good to talk to you.
Dean: Yes, it's always fun. So tell me where are you calling from today?
Jonathon: North Carolina.
Dean: Okay. Is it sunny and warm and wonderful?
Jonathon: Oh, man, it's a beautiful day. I went out to lunch a minute ago, it was 66 degrees out there.
Jonathon: Yeah. Don't get much better than that. It's a little overcast, but it's great for February.
Dean: Nice. Well, Jonathon, I'm super excited. We got the whole hour to just hatch some evil schemes here and-
Jonathon: I like it.
Dean: Let’s see what we can do. So I think it'd be great if you kind of share the Jonathon. How do I say your last name, Schultheiss?
Dean: Schultheiss. Okay, there we go.
Dean: And tell what you're up to. I'm anxious to hear all about it.
Jonathon: Yeah, so my business is, I'm a financial advisor in North Carolina, and it's interesting my niche is institutional investing, and so I go after corporate 401(k) and pension plans.
Jonathon: So it's kind of interesting that over the last probably two years, man, I consume everything I can find from you and Joe Polish and anybody else that puts out marketing content that-
Jonathon: And I am just like a sponge just soaking it up. And direct response marketing has been something that I'm trying more and more to learn about and implement into my practice that I love your 8-Profit Activators and it's interesting, I actually went through this several times and I was inspired by the example you've given here about weshootbottles.com. Right?
Dean: Oh, yeah, yeah, uh-huh.
Jonathon: And so, to check this out, I went out and I found the URL, wefix401ks.com.
Dean: Ah, I love it. That's great.
Jonathon: And so I own it now and I'm building it out and so I'm putting my content on there and I've got the pop-up forms and different things to get people to engage with my content.
Jonathon: I love the concept that Joe Polish had as far as the consumer guide. I actually wrote a consumer guide, Five Mistakes When Hiring a 401(k) Advisor, and so I feel like over the last, I don't know, probably 12 or 18 months, I've just been building collateral. Right?
Jonathon: And so I've got that. I actually have a book that I've written and it was interesting, I'm sitting here and I'm going, "You know what? I'm going to write another book." And I'm listening to you speak on a podcast and you say something about 90 Minute Book and I'm like, "What is that?" And I'm driving down the road and I'm like, "I got to remember that." I jot it down. And go-
Dean: You're like, "That sounds easy." Yeah.
Jonathon: I'm like, "That sounds easy. I got to learn more about this." And so I looked into 90 Minute Book and so right now you guys have helped me complete my second book.
Dean: Oh, that's awesome. Good.
Jonathon: Which is pretty awesome. So, right now the way my books are written is it's kind of a series. I've got my first book is called, Distracted: The Secrets to Getting America's Retirement Plans Back on Track, and it's really written for the decision maker for hiring me. So the CFO, the HR manager, whoever the person who makes the decisions for hiring me, that book is written for them and it's more of an educational book. It talks about how to design 401(k) plans and so forth. And so what I wanted is, I wanted my second book to be written for the participants and so the individuals who are the employees who participate in the 401(k) plan and so my second book is called, Focused, so it's kind of a series. It's Distracted and then there's Focus. Right? And so Focus is called, The Financial Freedom Formula.
And so my whole goal is that I can have two books, one that says, "Hey, Mr. Business Owner or HR Manager, this book is for you and this book is for your employees and if you hire me to come in and fix your 401(k), then your employees will get this book and if they follow it, they can create financial freedom." And so the whole idea behind that is employees who are better educated about their personal finances are more productive and more profitable employees.
Dean: Okay. Nice. So yeah, that's an interesting thing that you've got that you've discovered there. Do you have any kind of evidence for that?
Jonathon: Tons. So here's the interesting thing about this is, I'm also in Strategic Coach and we're in the part where we talk about the Dan Sullivan question. Right?
Jonathon: Where, if you want to develop something, then you want to go to your top people who write you the largest check and you need to say, "Hey, if I create this, would you buy it?"
Jonathon: And so I went back to my top five clients and I said, "Hey, if I built this, would you buy it?" And they all said, "Oh, I love that idea. That's fantastic." But I also read a white paper done by T. Rowe Price, one of the larger mutual fund companies out there, and the name of the white paper is, Where Corporate Profitability and 401(k) Plan Design Cross. And so what they did is they studied 300 publicly traded companies so they could get their information of their profitability. And then they studied their 401(k) which is also public information and they cross reference the data and they showed that companies that have more participation in their 401(k) have as much as 80% more profit than companies that don't.
Jonathon: And so I have the white papers, I have the studies, I've gone back to my clients. And it's funny when I ask them the Dan Sullivan question, and I say, "If we're sitting here a year from today, looking back, what has to happen," kind of thing and the one thing that they all say is, "If my employees were better financially educated." And so that was the answer that every one of my clients gave me.
Jonathon: And it's completely different than what the rest of my industry is saying.
Jonathon: And it's funny, all of my competition is out there saying, "Oh, I pick better investments. I do this, or I'm a better fiduciary," or all these other things where all of my clients, when I ask them, what's the most important thing to them, not a single one of them said, "Pick better investments." Not a single of them said, "Be a better fiduciary." They all said, "Educate my employees better on their personal finances." So I feel like that with the evidence of that and the data that I have, that's what led to me writing the second book, Focused. And I'm also working on a product where I'm actually taking the concepts of that book and I'm shooting videos around those concepts, so when I go to an employer, I'll say, "Here's the book for your employees and here's a video series that they can watch that reinforces the concepts of the book to better educate your employees because the purpose of that is that you can have 80% more profit."
Jonathon: So it's really trying to drive that and have my message in the marketplace be different than what everybody else is saying, but to really say, "Hey," and here's the thing. If you're a business owner and you get something, a marketing piece that says, "Hey, I pick better investments." Or if you get a marketing piece that says, "Your company could be 80% more profitable if your 401(k) had these things. Come and watch this video on how to do it."
Dean: Yeah. Now, part of what you need to be able to do is then document that to show that, that's true from one of your companies. So what you've got right now is a hypothesis. Right?
Jonathon: I'm working on that too.
Dean: Yeah, so you need a case study now.
Jonathon: That's where I'm at.
Jonathon: So I have some clients who we've worked with for several years and it's interesting I've seen the company just grow like crazy and we do a lot of work with the employees. We get them in the plan, we're getting them saving more in the plan, and I actually asked the CEO or the president of the company, I was like, "Hey, what do you think about us doing a video? Would you be open to doing a video with me talking about how your 401(k) has grown and the things that we've done and has it helped the company because profits are up and all these other things?" And she was like, "Oh, yeah, I'd love to do that video." So I want to do that, so one of the things I've got to be careful with in the financial services' industry is testimonials and endorsements that are not allowed. However, case studies are completely acceptable as long as they're backed up by the numbers and the facts.
Jonathon: And it creates social proof.
Dean: Yeah. That's what I mean. That's going to be more valuable anyway.
Dean: Right. Having the actual numbers and the facts because you can say, pointing something in a white paper and say they're third party facts, kind of thing, is a-
Dean: Yeah. Especially when it's all these things are sort of dubious provenance in a way anyway when you think that T. Rowe Price is a company that sells mutual funds that would definitely be in a position to benefit if more people were investing in mutual funds. Right?
Dean: Right. So you kind of say that, people look at that with a sort of slanted thing.
Dean: Mm-hmm. So you've got to be able to kind of call out what the actual facts are and causation is not or correlation is not causation in way. Right?
Jonathon: The white paper even says that, yeah.
Dean: Yeah, that you can't say, "It just so happens that it's one of the things that," because you could argue that more profitable companies have bigger or more-
Jonathon: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Dean: Yeah, right. That organization that's not that because they've got a 401(k), they were 80% more profitable. So you've got to be really kind of careful in that and figuring out what you actually, what you can do and what you can measure and where the companies real goals are. How are they linking that profitability game? How are they kind of saying that. Where does that come from? Just from what? From employee retention, from engagement-
Jonathon: No. So they measure profit per employee and so because they're publicly traded companies, all their information and data is available, so they're able to look at what is the profit, how many employees do they have, and then every company that has a 401(k) program has to file what's called a 5500 which is kind of like a tax return for your 401(k).
Jonathon: And so all that information is public information as well.
Jonathon: And so there's a company out there that does kind of statistical analysis of public 5500s and it's a company called BrightScope. So they take the company information from BrightScope and then they take their profitability from either annual filings and so forth and they cross reference the two. And the biggest thing that they show is in the companies that have employees that participate at a higher rate in their 401(k) plan tend to be more profitable companies. And I want to go even deeper to say well, obviously there's a lot of research that shows that when you have financial stress that you are a less productive employee. And so there's a lot of data that represents that and we know that people who tend to save more into their 401(k) tend to have less financial stress because the 401(k) becomes a safety net for them.
Dean: Yeah. So there's a lot of holes-
Jonathon: And so there's some-
Dean: And I mean, there's a lot of things in that, that could go along with it. Right? That those companies, could pay higher wages that give people more room to have an investment in a 401(k), for instance. Right?
Dean: So there's a lot of like-
Jonathon: So this-
Dean: .It brings up as many questions as it answers.
Jonathon: Totally. You could sit here and punch holes in it, but the thing that I'm looking at is, I'm looking at what's going to grab somebody's attention and drive them to my website.
Jonathon: And so one of the things I did is I kind of laid out a whole marketing process and this is totally theory because I haven't started it yet.
Jonathon: So my thought process is, is like I said, it's public information of company's 5500s. Right?
Jonathon: And so I can go on and I subscribe to a service that would give me a list of any kind of criteria I put in. Right? So what I look for is, there again, using another strategic coach model called Largest Check. I go in and go, "Okay, what's my largest check? And how do I go after my next largest check?" And so I've identified 500 opportunities within 100 mile radius of my office of companies that hit my target revenue, which is 35,000 a year in revenue.
Dean: Mm-hmm. 35 million, there you go.
Jonathon: 35,000. Well, the assets would be somewhere, yeah, somewhere between probably 15 to 30 million-
Dean: Oh, you were saying. Oh, so you, which should mean 35,000.
Jonathon: Target revenue, which means-
Dean: In your revenue.
Jonathon: ...revenue that I would receive-
Dean: Right. I thought you were talking about companies.
Jonathon: Would be about 30 to 35,000.
Dean: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Jonathon: So that in dollars of revenue to me.
Dean: Right. Got you.
Jonathon: So that's my target revenue range is about 35,000. So really I'm only looking to bring on about three to four clients a year.
Jonathon: So it's more of a not as a high volume. It's more of a low volume, big ticket type items. And here's the other thing too, when we talk about your Profit Activators, if we look at, my thing is during the sale and after the sale, I mean, I totally crush it, my client retention rates probably 99%.
Jonathon: So I don't lose clients and I'm fantastic when I get in front of them. I'm just looking for how do I get in front of more and, because my lifetime value of a client to me, a $35,000 client if I keep them for five years I might keep him longer than that, but if we're just looking over a five year period, that's a pretty good revenue number of that. Right?
Dean: Right. Because you're getting 35,000 per year for that. Right.
Jonathon: Every single year, so it's a recurring revenue.
Jonathon: So that's where I'm at now and so my thought processes, I've identified 500 of those. And so I have my current book and so what I want to do with my current book is I'm writing a sales letter to go with that current book. And one of the cool things, I actually just got back on Monday. I got to give a speech on my new book at the Nasdaq up in New York. And one of the things I did while I was there at the Nasdaq speaking, is I got my picture on the jumbotron in Tom Square. And so I had a professional photographer take my picture of me standing in front of the jumbotron, pointing to my book. That is my 90 minute book. So there you go, plugging for you. Right?
Dean: Hey. That's the New York Times. New York Square.
Jonathon: I pointing out my book. So I'm going to take that picture and part of that will come in, in some of my sales stuff as I sent it out to people, the letter with some of those pictures on it, that will go out to some of the 500 that will basically come to have that headline that says, "Could your company be 80% more profitable just by making some small changes to your 401(k)," kind of thing. Which is basically an attention grabber that says, "If you want to learn more and how we do it, come to We Fix 401(k)s and watch this no obligation video," or whatever else. Right?
Jonathon: So my whole thought process is, "How do I take these people?" Obviously I don't have emails, I have phone numbers, but I can only call so many of them in a day. But I want to be able to, like you guys say, can and clone myself in a way that if I send out to the 500, let's say I send out 20 of them a week. Right? And then those 20 I'm trying to really drive them to my website. So you get a nice package in the mail. It's a big padded envelope and inside the padded envelope, you open it up, there's a copy of my book Distracted and then there's a sales letter that says, "Your company could be 80% more profitable, you know, blah, blah, blah. Come and find out how and then kind of have a little PS on there. I've enclosed a book that can help you start to create more profit in your 401(k)," whatever. So they've got the book, which we know, you know this, people don't throw books away. Right?
Dean: Right. Exactly, that's the whole point.
Jonathon: You get a book from somebody and they're probably not going to read it. It's probably going to sit on their bookshelf or on their desk. But the fact is my picture is on the back of that book. Right?
Jonathon: So my pictures are sitting on my prospect's desk and then the goal is for me to follow up with maybe even another postcard and or a series of postcards, continuing to try to drive them to my website to watch my videos. And then in my video, I've got to create my unique selling proposition that basically says, "Hey, here's some more information about how we think your company could be more profitable by making these changes." And we go a little bit deeper into the case study and then what my goal would be is to say, "Hey, download that case study or download my consumer guide," or kind of similar to your scorecard is, "We have a quiz" Right? So it's easier 401(k) broken, take the quiz and you can take the quiz and I ask you five questions. And based on those five questions that tells you, "Is your 401(k) broken or not?"
And so I've got quizzes I build on my website, I've got the consumer guide that's available for download on my website. I'm going to put the white paper from T. Rowe Price on my website. So all of these things are designed to get those people to come to my website, watch a video and engage with my content and download something.
Dean: Right. Now there's a couple of things unpack here, because you've got and you've done the work now ahead of time to identify 500 visible prospects. Here-
Dean: We talk often about the difference between visible and invisible prospects and you're in a good situation in that you can point to who those prospects are.
Dean: Now, what kind of company profile gets you to the $35,000 revenue for you? What is this? What size of a company is that? How many employees? What kind of revenue are they doing?
Jonathon: Probably 250 plus employees.
Jonathon: I don't know as far as revenue, I would assume if you got 250 employees you have a pretty decent amount of revenue. But here's the thing though, sometimes it's going to be based on the size of the retirement plan. And retirement plans a lot of times are based on average account balance. If you have a plan that has great participation and you've got $100,000 average account balance, then you're going to have less employees, but if you got a company that has less participation, you're going to have a smaller account balance. So the same plan that generates that kind of revenue may be an 800 employee company that has very little participation.
Dean: I got you. So it's not about the number of companies or participants.
Dean: It's the value.
Jonathon: It's the value of the company's 401(k) program.
Dean: Okay. Now, do any company that has a 401(k), that public information is available.
Dean: In theory, you could get access to the plan in advance from those 500 companies.
Dean: Okay. Have you done that to-
Jonathon: I have identified the 500.
Dean: I got you. Okay. So that's all you were looking for is-
Jonathon: I have a spreadsheet with 500 companies within 100 mile radius of my office. I have it and I'm ready to pull the trigger on starting the process.
Dean: Sure. Yeah. Okay. So when we look at it, what would trigger somebody switching manager for their 401(k)? Are some of them managing it in-house? Or are they almost always have an advisor or manager?
Jonathon: Yes. Fidelity did a study and I think this study is something like 80 or 90% of retirement plans out there use an advisor. And usually where they don't use an advisor is in the upper end of the market. So in my target revenue, I'm going to say probably 95% of them, 90 to 95% are going to have an advisor.
Jonathon: And the other thing is too, is in that target range that I'm looking for, is in the target range where there's still a lot of plans out there who use an advisor, but the advisor is not a focused 401(k) adviser. And in the industry what happens is if you have a lot of guys who are really more. they don't have a niche, they're more wealth management guys, but they just happen to know somebody at a company. So they end up picking up the 401(k) program. Well, those guys don't do as good a job as I do, because I only do 401(k)s. I don't do anything other than 401(k) programs, so when I get into a company and I show you what I do, what's interesting is, I don't usually charge a whole lot more than what the other guy charges, but I deliver a lot more value.
Dean: What is value do you mean?
Jonathon: So value is the fact that we can be a fiduciary and fiduciary means we can be the named investment fiduciary on the plan. So I can take the fiduciary responsibility of picking investments off of the company's shoulders. And we can be that. Then we have a process and a system for educating employees currently. And then I'm working on my new process, which will be with my videos in the book. And so there's a lot of things that we can do that we deliver additional value through educating your employees. We can take on different levels of responsibility and take that risk off the company of doing things. So where a lot of the guys who don't focus on it, they're not going to do those things, because they don't really have a process. And so what happens is a lot of advisors look at 401(k) plans as, "Hey, I get to pick up some assets. Here's the $10 million of assets out there in this 401(k) program. I'm going to go get it."
So that means my assets just want to buy $10 million in a little bit on paper. But they don't really know how to service a 401(k) program. They don't understand the laws that govern 401(k) programs, which is called ERISA. And so we understand the risk, so we understand these things. So it's more of where we're specialized in it, where other people aren't. And it's very rare that I'm going to get stomped by 401(k) question, where if somebody only has one or two 401(k) programs, they're not going to understand and they're not going to be able to give the level of advice and expertise that we have.
Dean: Got you. On this 5500 report or whatever it's called. Does it show the assets and then show the return on this as well?
Dean: So it shows you how they managed it, what their annual return is.
Dean: Okay. Is anybody-
Jonathon: And we have services that will compare that.
Dean: Does anybody rank or compare them?
Dean: There are rankings for 401(k) like publicly?
Dean: Okay. Because I'm curious that, what I would be looking for is with these companies that you've done a great job in you've got your value proposition kind of dialed in, your During Unit like you said is strong. You've been doing this, you specialize in it. I got no doubt that if somebody with a 401(k), with the right amount of revenue came to you and or assets and said, "We want you to help us." That you'd be able to help them. So we're kind of dialed in on the Before Unit here and in Profit Activator, one, you've got your ideal target audience, you've found those 500 people. So Profit Activator two is really about how do we get those people even though they're visible prospects? How do we get the interested ones?
Jonathon: You got it.
Dean: How do we get the ones who want to start a dialogue? How can we start this conversation with them? And always, my first approach is always to look for what are they looking for right now information wise? Not that they're evaluating to make a decision, that they are entering the process. What triggers somebody either seeking an advisor for the first time or switching advisors?
Jonathon: Yeah. That's kind of interesting because unlike other benefits, like your health insurance that the premiums keep going up and it tends to be a big expense to the company. You're 401(k) often is one of those benefits that if it's not broke, you don't fix.
Dean: Right. That's what I mean. It's like what is that pain point or what-
Jonathon: Yeah, that makes this a little bit harder.
Jonathon: If the pain point goes-
Dean: So what if that triggers it.
Jonathon: So what triggers, and so if I look back and go, "Okay, what have been the opportunities where we picked up business," is when somebody has realized that their advisor doesn't know what he's doing or he's given bad advice and it's caused him to have to make a correction on their 401(k) program. So there are pain points, because it is governed by ERISA. And if you don't do things right, then there's corrections that you have to do. And so a lot of times-
Dean: So what would we, if you were to think about those 500, Sorry for interrupting you, but-
Jonathon: No. No.
Dean: If you were to hear those 500, if we were to look at the number one performing 401(k) and the number 500 performing 401(k), that's all knowable. Right? What would be the difference, the gap between the number one and number 500 if we were to rank them?
Jonathon: So probably the number one 401(k) is going to have a lot more people participating. It's going to have a good employee education program where somebody is educating-
Dean: No. I'm not. I'm talking about just the returns.
Jonathon: So in just looking at the returns?
Dean: Yeah, because that's the data that you have available. Right?
Jonathon: Well, the data is more than just the returns.
Jonathon: I can look and see, "Okay, last year what did this 401(k) return?" But that's kind of not a good statistic because what if everybody were sitting in the guaranteed account doing 1% then I go, "Oh, at this point, I only grew 1%," but then if you like peel back the layers of the onion, you go, "Oh, well everybody was sitting in the guaranteed account. Nobody was invested in the market," then it's not going to have a good return anyway. So some of the return stuff of as far as investments, I think can be misleading. So that's where a lot of these other services, they look at, "Okay, what would the worst 401(k) look like out there?" Right? The worst 401(k) out there would have compliance issues. And if you have a compliance issue, it's on your 5500. So if they fail testing, it's on their 5,500.
So if, you know, different things would be on their 5,500. So if there's late contributions or late filings or there's refunds, which means they failed testing, there's a lot of these things that you're going to find on probably the 500, number 500 out of that list. So it's not always just how to investment performance of the underlying investments. It's also how well the 401(k) program is run.
Dean: Mm-hmm. So I wonder like what I'm looking at is what would the person who within the company is the person responsible for this?
Jonathon: So a lot of times it falls under one or two people. It's either going to be the HR manager or it's going to be the chief financial officer, the CFO.
Dean: Right. What would you say, is that 50, 50?
Jonathon: It's probably a little more often the VP of HR.
Jonathon: So the interesting thing will be is, so for instance, when I'm doing my searches of 5500s, the name that's on the 5500 is going to be the name of the person who signs it. Right? So, but the person that signs it may not always be the day to day person, but they are the ultimate decision maker. And so a lot of times if I say ultimate decision maker, that's probably more often the CFO. And so he's the ultimate decision maker. So he is the one that has the most liability and responsibility, because if he's a good CFO or she then they're probably delegating that to the HR manager because it's a benefit and it falls under HR. And so that's typically how we find that. So who's going to get my material is going to be the person who signs it.
Dean: Mm-hmm. That makes sense. Right? Because they're ultimately the one. Yeah. That's the person responsible.
Jonathon: They're ultimately the one, so what'll probably happen is they'll ultimately be the one and they may end up passing it on to the day to day person. Maybe the day to day person engages with my stuff. I don't know.
Dean: So the reason I was asking you about rankings or ratings is, what I'm always looking for is where is the opportunity for some market data that would be appealing to somebody who is sort of entering the process of looking at their options? They're not actively kind of looking to switch with an urgency, but they are building awareness. They're going, "You know what? I don't think we're in the optimal situation here or there." They're looking around. They're open, because if you rank it, they're going to be people who are entrenched with their advisor there. So no need, they're getting great returns. Everybody is happy there. They're not looking to move at all. Right? Then on the other end, there's going to be people who are like would move in an instant, if they have a chance. But the majority where you're going to have the great inroads here, is in the people who are just kind of starting the process of potentially moving or they're paying attention to it. They are not, maybe thrilled with the way things are going and it's come up-
Jonathon: Yeah. That's typically how it is, where it's like we don't really see our advisor. We don't really get a lot of service and so, here's the thing, "I can come in and be your advisor and not have to change your plans." So let's say your plans with Fidelity, who's one of the largest record keepers. Right?
Jonathon: I can come in and I can say, "Hey listen, you don't need to leave Fidelity. You can sign this piece of paper and I can be your advisor and I can start delivering value for you without having to change your 401(k) to another provider." Because sometimes there's a pain point. People don't want to leave their provider-
Dean: Yeah. Exactly.
Jonathon: But I can come in and say, "Hey listen, here's the thing, you do realize you're not getting a lot of service from your current advisor. Here's some things that I do and we can make your plan better. And interestingly enough, I charge about the same thing that he charges. So there's no increased costs to add me. You just get more value."
Dean: Mm-hmm. Is there a record of who they are with? Like is there a-
Jonathon: Their current advisor?
Dean: Yeah. On that 5500 or-
Jonathon: Yeah. It comes with 5500. Anybody who receives compensation is on the 5500.
Dean: Oh, I got you. Okay.
Jonathon: So there is one search, the theory that says I can run a list of every company 5500 whose advisor is out of state.
Jonathon: Or that their administrators are out of state or whatever else. So that's one of the things that people look for.
Dean: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And so you start to look at the world is going with the yields or with the performance or whatever, as an easy sort of surface level guidance of how they're doing. In the discussion of how's the 401(k) doing, the thing that would seemingly be the most easiest to point to would be the actual returns on it would be one in the conversation anyway.
Jonathon: So not necessarily the return, because for all of the stuff that we just talked about, but earlier when I said there's a company called BrightScope. Right?
Jonathon: They look at the 5500 information and they come with their own scores based on, "Are your fees high?" So if you're paying too much, that's a major pain point for a lot of 401(k) programs is that they're paying too much in fees. The second pain point would be that they have low participation, which means nobody is participating in the plan. And then there's one that measures everything on company generosity and then there's another metric, but then BrightScope gives you a score of one to 100. And so let's say your plan scores a 50 then it would say, "Other plans in your industry, the average score is a 75," and it would say that if your plan went from a 52 or 75 then that would equate $50,000 additional for every participant or something.
So it actually gives it a measure of those things and that's probably a better measurement than just looking at investments, because it's like we said, if you had a bunch of people who are getting ready to retire next year, and they're all sitting in the guaranteed account, well your plan is not going to have a good return anyway.
Dean: Yes. Is that something that they would have knowledge of and access to or would that be new information to them if you told them what their Bright-
Jonathon: It would most likely be new information but it is publicly available to anybody. You can go to brightscore.com and pull up any 401(k) program that's out there, but many don't know about it and don't go to it.
Dean: Because what I'm always looking for is market data that could get somebody to start a conversation. Right? I'm not trying to convince them to do anything else. It's like I talk a lot about our real estate program for getting listings, where we're looking for people who are going to sell their house in the next six to 12 to 18 months. And I know that I'm not trying to just get my name out there and say, "Call Dean and start packing." That's like one level of it. Right? Brand it. Got to get your name out there. And that's where a lot of people take their advertising sophistication. They start to think, "Well, we got to get our name out there, start doing the our personal promotion stuff, branding, get us out there, get top of mind awareness. Then the next level of that is to start isolating them and trying to convince them to do something. Right?
So it's like, where we would shine a light on you and say, "Find out how much your house is worth or thinking of selling your house. Find out how to sell your house in less than 90 days guaranteed," where we're kind of making offers to them. Right? To try, and get them to respond. But that only gets you the people who are sort of, it's not as broad as getting the market data, which is a third level of sophistication where it's like taking the light and instead of shining it on me or shining it on you, shining it over their shoulder and illuminating the information that would be valuable to them.
Jonathon: Yeah. Got it.
Dean: So when we do it, let's say-
Jonathon: Thinking through it as you're talking-
Dean: So we do it on the real estate side and we offer the free February 2019 report on Winter Haven Lakefront house prices. Now that is valuable to anybody who's thinking about selling their Winter Haven Lakefront house. So if you start that's why I think about, we've done it with other financial advisors, like in the UK we did the February 2019 report on UK annuity yields. And that sounds like market data. Right? So that's where I was going, if I were thinking about saying to somebody, I'm offering the February of first quarter or 2018 report on whatever North Carolina are 401(k) yield.
Jonathon: Here's the thing, so what if I were to take this where I talk about the white paper and I talk about how they measured the BrightScope score against public data on the plan. And so then what my call to action is, "Come and get this free BrightScope report on your plan and see how you stack up to the T. Rowe Price white paper."
Dean: And I like that as a next step. Right?
Dean: See what I would love to see is that if this would work because at some level would you say in the mix of the decision I'm trying to really get a handle on whether the returns are of zero consequence or of some concern to people.
Jonathon: No. And there's still some value.
Dean: And they would come up in the conversation of the CEO asking, "Well, how's our 401(k) doing?" Would the first few words out of their mouth be about what we've got this much participation and this much conversation with our advisor and this? Or would they say, "We did okay. We did 18% last year." Or would that be in the conversation?
Jonathon: It's probably not information that they would have right away. They could probably get it from their record keeper, but they'd have to do a lot of digging. So it's not like that's a statistic that anybody who manages the 401(k) could rattle off and go, "Hey, our plan did 19% last year."
Dean: They wouldn't, huh. That's surprising.
Jonathon: Yeah. Now you might know what your individual account did, but you wouldn't know what the total overall plan did. Because a lot of record keepers, they don't report that like right away. Now sometimes they'll give you an annual report and it'll be deepen the annual report and you could dig through and find it. But, it's not usually information that's right off the top. But if you bring it up to somebody, it is always of interest to them. But it's almost like how we punched holes, and the first thing it would be easy for an experienced advisor to punch holes and going, "Yeah, but look." Because here's the thing, the company does not invest the 401(k), the participants invest their own accounts.
Dean: Okay. Okay. Got it. Now I understand. I've never had a job, so I don't know what that I got my own IRA but I didn't realize that individuals manage their own 401(k). I was thinking that this was a kind of group return, like a fund almost.
Jonathon: Yeah. No. Every individual person is participating in…
Dean: So that makes total sense then. So that's why they don't care-
Jonathon: Yeah. Every individual person chooses their own investment.
Dean: Got you. Got you. Got you. So that's why they wouldn't care about that because it's not on them that the employees are…
Dean: So it's not every company is running its own hedge fund kind of thing.
Jonathon: Correct. Correct.
Dean: And where you could have a competitive advantage by enticing people to come work for you with a fund but that's-
Jonathon: Because yeah. Our 401(k) is-
Dean: Because our fund does it.
Jonathon: 20% right there.
Dean: Right. Exactly. You know what I mean?
Jonathon: Right. Right.
Dean: Okay. So that makes a lot of sense then, that's why that's not-
Jonathon: I probably should have explained that more.
Dean: No. Totally. So now I get why they're not as concerned about individual returns and what the number. What would be the top metrics that they would be looking at to say whether it's doing well?
Jonathon: Then probably one of the major pain points today would be that you're paying too much for your 401(k).
Jonathon: That's probably the largest pain point right now, considering that there's been a lot of lawsuits about fees.
Dean: And those fees are all available on the 5500?
Dean: So maybe if would that be interesting is that the-
Jonathon: Very interesting.
Dean: ... report on 401(k) management fees.
Dean: The survey of, "Now we're on to something, that's where I'm going now," is that this would be valuable information, the report on 401(k) management fees. If somebody thinks that they're paying too much in fees for not enough value kind of thing that's a person you want to talk to. Right?
Jonathon: Yeah, absolutely.
Dean: Okay. So now we're getting somewhere. So if somebody is-
Jonathon: Because and that's where I come in and I say for the same fee, if I can deliver all this additional values with the same fee, then that's where I get most of my business.
Dean: Got you. I got you. I got you. Okay. So how could you with this data, create a data report that's valuable for them that would be...?
Jonathon: So I have a service that I subscribe to, that is a benchmarking service, so I can actually take your information that I can't get the public information, but if you give me the actual information, then I can go out and benchmark your plan in the marketplace.
Jonathon: And I can tell you exactly where your fees compare. Now here's the other thing too. Part of the BrightScope report will tell you if your fees are high compared to the average.
Jonathon: So then that's a simple thing and it takes no work on my part. The other one, it actually takes some work on my part.
Dean: Right. That's okay that the work on your part we want that to be the second step. So well, there's no different than what we do with the real estate side, if we say I'm offering the January or February report on Winter Haven Lakefront house prices. What I'm going to send to people is all of the data of all of the lakefront homes that were for sale and sold in the last 12 months.
Dean: And then I know that, that information is not going to be enough for them.
Jonathon: It's enough together.
Dean: It is showing what all the Lakefront houses are, and they're going to want to know, "Well what is my house worth?" So that gives me the entree to open up the conversation by offering them a Pin-Point Price Analysis, where we can show you exactly what your house would sell for compared to the other homes that are on the market.
Jonathon: Yeah. It's going to make a good idea.
Dean: Right. And that's where I'm hoping is that you go with that. That's the idea that I was looking to kind of parallel for you. That if you offered this report on 401(k) management fees or go to give market data to people so they know, especially-
Jonathon: So what?
Dean: If they have an inkling that they're paying too much or they're curious that they're paying too much or-
Jonathon: What do you think about this?
Dean: They just want to make sure they're paying the right amount.
Jonathon: There's a book that we subscribe to, is called the 401(k) Book of Averages. Right?
Dean: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Jonathon: So it's just a book of average fees. And what if the first step was get this, what is the average $20 million plan, pay for fees. You get this free report that gives you the averages. Right?
Jonathon: And so that actually-
Dean: And if you set it for North Carolina or that-
Jonathon: It wouldn't really be, it would just be average as across the nation, but it would be the average. And once I whet your appetite with the average I go, "Hey, if you would like to benchmark your actual plan against the marketplace, then go to this step."
Dean: Yes. That's exactly.
Jonathon: And that's the report where I'm actually getting involved in doing the work. So we could start with there, where it's like, "Hey, just get the averages and compare your own fees." But then when they look at it and then most of the time they're going to be maybe a little bit higher than that. But then that's going to engage them to go into looking at the next thing. And so yeah.
Dean: That's what I'm talking about.
Jonathon: Well, here is the thing, When we talked earlier about case studies, I have several clients where we've benchmarked their plan consistently every three years and every time we did it, we were able to save them somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 in fees. So if I were to do a case study video of that and draw people to the website and they watched that case study video and they go, "Wait a second, our advisors are not doing that," let me get that report and let me have them do that.
Dean: Yeah. And it's just a matter of positioning. Right? Like I would use all of that after they've raised their hand for the data report. Part of the thing is that it's separating the compelling and the convincing and so that kind of stuff where you're trying to win them over to a new spot, that's what the convincing is. Right? And there's some place for it, but it's in Profit Activator three not in Profit Activator two. Profit Activator two, we want to compel them to raise their hand with an intention of something. Right? So it's like on the real estate side, I'm not convincing them to list their house with me in the postcard or in the initial things that I'm sending them. What I'm trying to do is just get people who are thinking about putting their house on the market or making a move. I'm just trying to get them to raise their hands.
Like Lakefront homeowners and this whole thing is very, very parallel to what we're talking about here. Because Lakefront homeowners in Winter Haven, there are 2100 of them. Just like you've identified 500 visible prospects for your thing. Now, some of these Lakefront homeowners, 4%, some of them are going to change, they're going to move. Right? So 80 of the 2000 are going to move over the next 12 months. And all I want to know is who are these 80 people. Right? I'm not trying to convince people to sell their house or to move their house or to list with me.
Jonathon: You want to know who they are.
Dean: I just want to know who they are. So if we could magically look at those 500 companies that you've identified and we could run them through some service and they would light up that these 50 are going to change. Yeah. Or these 20 are going to change this year.
Jonathon: Keep in mind I'm only looking to bringing on three or four.
Dean: That's why.
Jonathon: Three would be my go. Yeah.
Dean: Yes. That's why we don't need to try, and convince everybody we just need to get-
Jonathon: You got to find them.
Dean: And the ones that are open to change are the ones that are kind of paying attention. Right? If you think about it that, that kind of data, if that comes up in conversation, when they're talking with their executive team and they look at the 401(k), it comes up on the review and the thing. And they're like, "Man, it feels like we're paying a lot of fees for this 401(k)," that, that conversation has maybe come up and they go, "Is that really how much it... " "Well, I don't know. I guess, that's what they charged us last year."
Jonathon: For sure.
Dean: That they don't have any ammunition or comparison.
Dean: ...any kind of comparison.
Jonathon: And I could provide that data.
Dean: And you provide that market data, gets you in front of people who are thinking that thought. So now you provide that information but you also, now we start the convincing.
Jonathon: I'm with you. I like it. So that's just going to be the next step. So my process is still the same.
Jonathon: I think I can even use kind of both of those messages. Right?
Jonathon: Like making- it more profitable. "And by the way, here's a free report if you want know if your fees are too high," because-
Jonathon: That could make your plan less profitable, if you're paying too much fees.
Jonathon: So then if they come to my website, that's just another tool that I have for them to raise their hand and engage with.
Dean: That's exactly right. And now we just want to see who's willing to engage in the dialogue. Right? Because you're going to send them the report, you're going to send along with it a copy of your book and you're going to offer the next step for people. Right. Which might be a custom benchmarking report.
Jonathon: Yeah, benchmarking. So what do you think? Are you still like the idea of me just randomly sending the books to the 500 to get them to engage?
Dean: Yeah. I don't. I think, I'd rather see you send a postcard to the 500 offering the data, the reports and send your book and everything to the people who respond.
Jonathon: Hmm. Because here's the thing though, I'm wondering like that my response right go down if it's just the postcard versus a book.
Dean: It doesn't matter. What we want is listen you're looking to find-
Jonathon: You're only looking for the people who are interested anyway.
Dean: That's what I'm saying is that not all 500 of them are candidates and we want to find the ones who are already thinking those thoughts.
Jonathon: Yeah. I guess, part of me is like, "Yeah, that's make a lot of sense, but then the other part of me, there's people who would probably change because they just haven't felt the pain yet. And how do I engage those people, because to add me is a real simple piece of paper and I can add more value, so it's almost like I get there's people out there who are in the process of going, "Hey, we're not happy. We would be open but we don't know anybody." And then they get a postcard, they engage. Right?
Jonathon: But then for every one of those it's almost like you said 4%. Right? It's probably 1 or 2% that are like that, but then that means that there's probably another 10% of people out there who are, they don't really think about it, but if they got something in the mail and they happen to go, "That's interesting. Let me see what this is about." Then they might go, "Wait a second, what is our guy doing? What is our fees?" So I'm trying to think to, "How do I engage that person?" Because we do seminars here, we do other things here and webinars and so I'm looking for people to jump into my sales process and become a prospect too. And I get it. I got to create prospects and they may not buy today and they may not buy this year. They might buy next year.
So that was my thought with sending the book is that when you get a book you don't throw it away and you tend to engage more versus just a postcard that's so like my assistant, I even asked her about it and she said, "A lot of times when postcards come through here, they don't even get to your desk. I just throw them away."
Dean: Mm-hmm. Well, but here's the think that's a great example of what I'm talking about, that if we look at it, this podcast is called More Cheese Less Whiskers. Right?
Dean: And the reason that's called that is because I read about these studies about why they use mice in all these psychological studies, motivational studies and stuff. And it's because they react very similarly to humans. Right? Our reaction and motivation stuff is there. They say like our brain, we basically have a mouse brain, then layered on top with all of this and intelligence on top of it. Right? But fundamentally the thing that drives everything is that mouse brain was still driven by fear and pleasure. Right? Pain and pleasure, motivation. And I started thinking about how the mice have a very simple life. The prime directives of a mouse are to get cheese and avoid cat. That's the whole thing. Right? If you're a mouse, that's your game. Now you don't have to convince a mouse to try some cheese. It's built in. Right?
We're seeking it all the time. They're seeking the cheese and they will go right to it. But as soon as they sense any whiskers or anything that could be a cat, they run away. Right? Because we are genetically wired to survive. And if it was a 50, 50 decision, if we had to evaluate decisions and decide, should I run or should I stay? Right? Do an evaluation like that, we would be extinct because we wouldn't react fast enough to get away from danger. So that's why the danger or pain is very instinctual. If you touch your hand on a hot element on the stove, your hand moves it away faster than you can consciously think to do that. And that's happening at a mitochondrial level. Right? We're cellularly wired to protect ourselves like that.
Now when you take your business environment like this and you take everybody wired like this, your receptionist who's looking at the postcards, looking at the mail, she's taking it on herself to protect you from cats.
Dean: She's looking at that postcard and what that postcard, if it is like any commercial postcard, has the intention of taking money from your business. Right? As opposed to bringing money into your business. Let me ask you this. What's your receptionist name? Just her first name.
Dean: Mercedes. So listen, if Mercedes got in the mail, an envelope with a handwritten address on it and she opened it up, does she open all the mail first before deciding whether to give it to you or does she-
Jonathon: Sometimes, but not always.
Dean: If she does, if she got that and she opened it up and it was a personal note from someone who said, "Listen, I've got all this money that I need to get managed and my husband died and I don't know where to turn. I've got $10 million that I need to manage, would you please call me and help me?" Now do you think Mercedes would throw that out?
Jonathon: Not at all.
Dean: What would she do? She'd call you.
Jonathon: She'd be all excited and call. Yeah.
Dean: She'd text you. She'd bring it right in. Put it on top of your desk. She probably wouldn't put it on top if she'd want to be the bearer of these good news, because she's going to get the reflective glow of your happiness at receiving this message in the mail.
Dean: Okay. So that type of thing, what we're saying about just market data or making it look important, making it look like news is something that would be valuable. If you have this postcard that comes, that's offering this report that looks like market data, like it might be important for you, she's not going to throw that out versus it looking like somebody trying to convince you to do something.
Dean: So it is important that you have that. That's why I said exactly why it's important to in the beginning have something that is valuable, that gets in on that sort of front rather than it's received as a sales type of message.
Jonathon: For sure.
Jonathon: That makes sense.
Dean: But anyway the bottom line is you've got 500 people, so it wouldn't matter. You could send a-
Jonathon: A trial and see-
Dean: $10 package to all 500 of them if you wanted to go that way, because you still only got $5,000 in it. Right.
Jonathon: But here's the thing though, I could send it. I mean I think I could send it for less than $5.
Jonathon: I could send them a book. That's also the book and the postage.
Dean: That's what I mean. Yeah.
Jonathon: Mm-hmm. Yeah. For sure.
Dean: And so you could go either way like that, but I think that it would be an interesting first step.
Jonathon: I think I would try with both and just see where I'm getting the response because my thought was send them the book and then followed by a series of postcards.
Jonathon: So they're getting that, and so the download would be my second book. So it's the value of saying, "Hey, there's another book." And then I wasn't thinking about the reports like you're talking about and that's a fantastic idea, "Here's the other report," and so that you can request as well.
Jonathon: Yeah. This is fantastic.
Dean: Well that's good. So what's your reflection here? What's your take away from what we have talked about? We talked about a lot of stuff.
Jonathon: Yeah, we talked about a whole lot of stuff and I think, one of my biggest takeaways is how do I, not really get away from my message that I've done the market research on as far as talking about how to make plans more profitable, but also grow in the pain point, which is the fees in a fee report. I wasn't even thinking about a fee report, which is fantastic. I have all that stuff. That's another piece of collateral that I had that I really wasn't counting as a piece of collateral. So that's probably one of my biggest takeaways is doing that. And then, what I may do is I may try, and do 20 of them where I just send them the book and then do 20 of them and just send them a nice postcard and see. And I can track visitations to my website.
Jonathon: Right? So if I do that and I truly measure and I say, "Okay, which one is driving more traffic?" Then I'll have some good data that allows me to do more. And here's the thing, I mean I have these 500, they're going to continue to stay in the process where I continue dripping on them. Right?
Dean: Of course.
Jonathon: So it's not like the 500, once and it's gone.
Dean: Yeah. I was saying those are 500, just like the 2100 people that own the Lakefront Homes this year, next year, the year after, always the 2100 Lakefront Homes.
Jonathon: Yeah, totally. So it's just how do I continue to try, and perfect these things? And that's what I'm excited about is just trying different things. Instead of, "Hey what works? What happens?" And it's not like I got to bring in 500 new clients this year. We're only looking at bringing in three.
Dean: That's right.
Jonathon: So if I can go through this process and it generates one or two, I mean that's fantastic.
Jonathon: So yeah, I really appreciate you, going through and kind of giving me some ideas that I hadn't considered. This has been fantastic.
Jonathon: I got my money's worth out of call.
Dean: Hey, hey. That's fantastic. Well, I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun and I think you’re going to hear how it all works out, because obviously this is a-
Dean: So it would be a nice little case study to follow up on too.
Jonathon: For sure. For sure. Yeah. So I get your emails and part of that is I come to you.
Dean: Yes. Absolutely.
Jonathon: Okay. Yes. I'll just reply to some of your emails. I think I got one earlier today or something, but-
Dean: Three a week. Yeah.
Jonathon: Yeah. I'll try this and may be shoot you, you might get an email from me is like, "Hey Dean, I did manage, it's fantastic."
Dean: I can't wait.
Jonathon: I'm going to keep the data and I'll share with you more on that.
Dean: Awesome. Thank you so much.
Jonathon: All right Dean.
Dean: Yeah, man, I really appreciate it.
Jonathon: Okay. Great, have a great day.
Dean: All right you too. Bye, bye.
Dean: And there we have it. Another great episode. I love these conversations. It's so great when you look for parallels like this situation with the 500 Visible Prospects is very, very similar to our real estate situation. And so going through and thinking about the market data or the thing that's going to get people to raise their hand is a very valuable exercise if you've got visible prospects. So I think there's a lot of parallels for you in your business as well. If you would like to see where your business stands with The 8-Profit Activators, go to ProfitActivatorScore.com and try our Profit Activator Scorecard. You can see which of the 8-Profit Activators are growing your business and which ones are slowing your business. And if you'd like to continue the conversation here, you can go to MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com. Download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book. And if you'd like to be a guest, just click on the be a guest link and we can get together and hatch some evil schemes for you. That's it for this week. Have a great week and I'll talk to you next time.