Broker Check
Meet clients where they are at.

Meet clients where they are at.

| April 25, 2024

I really enjoyed the Retirement Income in 401(k) training at the recent NAPA 401k Summit. The training was thought-provoking and contained relevant and actionable ideas. But as with many new ideas, I know I need to temper my enthusiasm and meet my clients where they are at.

"Retirement Income" as a concept and as a practical solution set is easy to understand at a high level. At the same time, when you dig into the details, questions come forth. Even more challenging is that the answers to some of these questions are still being worked out.

It is important to first gauge client interest in a new idea. Is the timing right? Is the audience receptive? Might there be a better time to bring it up? Is this new idea even right for the audience? Much like the 401(k) sales cycle, moving a new idea from introduction to understanding to action can take a long time. Be patient.

Assuming there is interest, what is the best manner for introducing the topic? What learning styles are there? Are there multiple styles present? And yes, repetition will be key. You may have to present the new idea from different angles. What does your audience need?

And finally, the new idea will need to be reinforced. This is particularly true if there is turnover in the decision-making committee. I remember when a particular kind of default investment was introduced in the mid 90s. The conversations were long and in-depth. Fast forward to now and this kind default investment is readily understood and asked for by plan sponsors.

This communication path applies not only to Retirement Income. It can apply to introducing socially responsible investments into a 401(k). And trust me, if you are trying to have a conversation about fossil fuel divestment in a 401(k), that will be a series of long conversations in all likelihood. Be patient and meet your clients where they are at.