September 11, 2019

Your Agency’s Next Big Recruit: Retirement Planning Sales Executive

by Chris Winterboer

For many years, wellness has been the hot topic within insurance agencies looking for an in-house product that gives them a competitive advantage. Brokers have created or invested in a myriad of strategies to boost value-added resources. What most retailers haven’t done as successfully is take the same approach with retirement planning offerings. A fully engaged workforce sees financial wellbeing as equally important as physical wellbeing. Employers want corporate retirement strategies from their insurance brokers. In response, we’re seeing an uptick in hiring projects centered on recruiting experienced retirement planning sales executives. 

Is your agency’s next big recruit a Corporate Retirement Planning Business Development Executive? Here are four important factors to consider.

Identify Your Target Market

First, determine your audience using the same lens by which you hire a commercial or employee benefits producer.

  • What is a good prospect or client for your employee benefits or commercial lines division may not fit into the category of a prime prospect for a retirement planning target client.

Second, what type of infrastructure do you need to build or expand?

  • Do you want to target larger clients with high levels of participation and Assets Under Management (AUM)?
  • Would you prefer to target smaller plans that might be more easily moved and transitioned?

There is no wrong answer here but talking with someone that has some experience in this arena will be paramount to your chances of having early successes.

Create A Timeline for Achieving Goals

Timelines are critical as the sales cycle is quite unique when considering this line of business. The annual renewal time for a traditional EB product/plan or lines of business insurance have an expiration date or point in time when the premiums and costs are definitely going to go up or down, creating the need for marketing to additional carrier partners. That is not the case with retirement planning for the most part.

Be prepared to find other avenues and reasons for setting up meetings and creating that “wedge” to show why the client should consider a change. Is the current advisor not providing the right investment options? Are there other vendors or products not being considered that could be new to the market? Does the client crave more communication to employees to enhance their experience?

The list could go on and on, but it will take a savvy advisor to know how to work through those issues and have the client or prospect see the need for possible change.

Ensure Customer Service Is A Priority

With all the regulations, compliance, communication, and marketing necessary for this division, it is easy to overlook how crucial it could be to make the appropriate supplemental hires. In many cases with other product lines you can use the old Field of Dreams’ line, “If you build it, they would come.”

Translation: You can make a producer hire in other divisions, wait for the business to come, service it as best possible without a dedicated Account Manager or Relationship Manager, and then consider a hire down the road.

Reverse the order in this case as having someone available from day one to support sales and business development will be huge. Someone who is fully licensed, can talk as a subject matter expert to both decision makers in the C-Suite and individual participants, and able to jump into any crisis down the road is the lynchpin to early successes.

Consider Multiple Options for Growth

Option A: You want to ease into this arena.

It makes more sense at the outset to enter into an agreement with an existing firm or advisor that is independent. If that goes well, you can either consider a merger or buying part of the book at the conclusion of an agreed-upon time.


Option B: Buying a book or merge right out of the gates.

There could be a solo practitioner out there that would love to have access to your other clients in EB and P&C while also organically cross selling their book of business. The more you can create a one-stop shop for your clients for their insurance and financial services needs the more difficult it becomes for them to ever leave you.


Option C: Combining the division with individual product planning.

Incorporate life insurance, annuities, or other wealth management products and services under one umbrella. If done right, this is an expanding market that will help you diversify your insurance agency into another realm and hopefully provide profitable and predictable growth.


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