Manipulation or Inspiration? How do you want to influence those around you?

Got five minutes? The topic of this blog post is covered in our Fiduciary Five Podcast series hosted by Chuck Hammond of the 401(k) Study Group. The Fiduciary Five Podcast…your fiduciary questions, answered in about five minutes.  To listen to the related podcast, click here.

“People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” ― Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

If you haven’t had a chance to see Simon Sinek deliver his “Start with Why” presentation, it would be well worth your time. For the purposes of this post, we view his message in the context of the retirement plan industry and the challenges a retirement plan advisor has in differentiating themselves in a very crowded and competitive field. 

Why are some advisors able to build successful, profitable, scalable retirement plan practices and others struggle with this?  What makes them different?  All advisors have access to the same retirement platforms, mutual funds, online tools and participant education program.  What causes them to be more successful? There must be something else at play…Simon Sinek defines this as your why, how and what:

  • Every advisor knows “what” they do
  • Some advisors know “how” they do it; their value proposition or their proprietary investment process or their employee communication program
  • Very few know their “why”.“Why” does not mean profit - that is a result. “Why” means their purpose, belief…what makes them get out of bed everyday and consult with plan sponsors and participants

It’s very important for advisors to define their “Why”.  In doing so, it becomes much easier to differentiate from competitors.  Every person in a sales role has, at some point, been guilty of selling their what and how.  For instance, a typical industry marketing message might sound like this:

  • What – I am a Retirement Plan Advisor/Expert/Consultant
  • How – I provide you and your participants a prudent investment process, effective employee education and communication programs and state of the art online tools

 We expect this message to elicit a response (admittedly a buying response). Since I can do my “what and how”, would you like to move your retirement plan to me?

In defining your “Why”, that message should come across in everything you do and say. 

Here is my WHY – I want to help participants retire with enough money to replace their paychecks for the rest of their lives.  This way, they can live out their dreams with dignity. The way I achieve my mission is to work with like-minded advisors, providing them a platform that allows them to be profitable and scalable resulting in tangible improved participant outcomes.

How should an advisor market their “why” and their “passion”?  Numbers and results work, being able to ‘show’ and not just ‘tell’ the experience works.  More importantly, you want the results to be both tangible and controllable. In the industry today, participant outcomes are a big focus.  As a result, many in the retirement plan industry measure and report on a series of individual factors such as deferral rates, participation rates and investment performance.  All of these are important, but none independently determine participant success.  These metrics, while easy to calculate, can be difficult for the advisor to control.

Advisors who partner with Unified Trust, however, are able to measure and report one key statistic – improved participant outcomes! With our managed account solution, the UnifiedPlan®, they are able to measure the participant success before and after moving the plan to us.  Equally as important, they have access to reports and tools to monitor, manage and report on the participant success metrics on any given day.  Their value proposition is unique to their firm, and their efforts are both tangible and scalable.  Ultimately, while numbers help to quantify your value to plan sponsor clients, it’s your efforts will help the lives of their employees.  When your ‘Why’ impactful to the participants you serve, the employer they work for and the firm you represent, everyone wins.

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