Advisors becoming more fluent in the language of Social Security planning
by Frank Horath & Martha SheddenMr. Horath is the author of the eBook, “How to Grow Your Financial Practice with Social Security Income Planning,” and a Social Security Specialist . He is the Principal of ClientFirst Financial, an independent firm. Connect with him by e-mail: [email protected] Martha Shedden is an associate and Social Security specialist with ClientFirst. Connect with her by e-mail: [email protected] Part 4 in a four-part series: The Social Security Income Planning Advisor
Overview – The Why and How to Market & Provide Social Security Seminars
The question is not really if, but when will you should begin providing Social Security seminars for your clients, center of influence (COI) alliances, and prospects. Becoming fluent on how to help your clients maximize and optimize their Social Security income election can essentially guarantee you a large, captive client audience for your financial services and products.
In this article we will cover both why Social Security income planning should such a vital part of your practice as well as outline a simple five step process for holding an effective seminar presentation. Realistically, in one single seminar presentation event you can meet the needs of clients, COIs (e.g. CPAs and attorneys) and new prospects as well. But prior to embarking on your seminar mission, it helps to have the right resources and a process in place.
Watch video: Effective seminar marketing tips
Why is Social Security income planning so important to your practice?
Becoming fluent on how to help your clients maximize and optimize their Social Security income election can essentially guarantee you a large, captive client audience for your financial services and products.
The retirement needs of the silver tsunami (retirees/pre-retirees) necessitate that you consider bolting on Social Security income planning expertise to your practice. There are nearly 10,000 baby boomers a day turning retirement age. These boomers are extremely interested in learning techniques to maximize their Social Security income; they’re also very concerned about the future viability of our Social Security system.
Following are several solid reasons for developing Social Security expertise and holding Social Security income planning educational seminars or learning events:
- Offering this service will help you retain your existing clients
Even if your client is a very high net worth household, you should consider providing solutions to them on Social Security. This will show them how deeply you care about their well-being. Retaining valuable clients is crucial to our financial advisory bottom lines; as we very well know, replacing a valuable client can be both costly and tormenting.
- Being a Social Security educator helps build and differentiate your brand
So, you might ask yourself, why do so few Financial Advisors provide Social Security income planning services? Naturally, many advisors have traditionally tended to pursue activities that potentially generate significant up-front revenue (i.e. “elephant hunting”). Chasing large investment accounts is simply “sexy;” at first glance, learning Social Security income planning and using it as a vehicle to serve and seek high net-worth clients is “well, not quite as sexy.” As you read further, visualize the Social Security income planning niche that can help out a whole lot of people, as well as being the peanut that can eventually bring home the elephant too!
3. Providing this resource helps deepen your center of influence (COI) relationships
Only a handful of advisors speak with accountants, attorneys, and other COIs about how to help clients optimize the Social Security income election. In particular, accountants (CPAs) and estate attorneys have traditionally been somewhat inundated with financial advisors “pitching” their investment products and services. Social Security income planning is a mindful, non-threatening, constructive way to approach, educate, and build trust with these influential professionals.
- Implementing Social Security optimization leads to financial planning
How and when your client(s) elect their Social Security income can have a “lever-arm” effect on the longevity of their portfolio. Relatively few financial advisors are aware of new software planning tools recently introduced into the marketplace that can be used to calculate best-fit Social Security income solutions for their clients. Even fewer advisors are incorporating the Social Security income election into the bigger picture financial plan. The educational seminar venue is an excellent place to show your clients and prospects you niche services and how their standard of living might be impacted in retirement.
So you’re ready to hold a seminar . . . What’s next? Here’s A 6-step plan of action
- Identify your prospective attendees. Who will you invite? Clients, center of influence alliance partners, prospects? Do you want your event to be targeted to clients? If so, will you be asking them to bring their friends, family, or work colleagues? Will you be providing continuing education units to your COI alliance partners? Your audience will effect what type of venue you choose as well as your presentation content.
- Choose your venue wisely. If you are holding a smaller event for clients or COI partners, you may simple wish to hold the event in your office or a local small conference room. If you are going to hold the event for prospects you’ve never met, you may wish to hold the event on neutral ground such as a restaurant meeting room. Consumers are so interested in the Social Security topic that you do not need to provide the free bonus meal. However, at a minimum it’s a good idea to be courteous and professional and provide some nice light appetizers, juice, and/or coffee.
- Select your optimal marketing approach. Use an effective direct mail piece if you are bulk mailing to new prospects. Women are very interested in the Social Security topic, and for good reason, so you may wish to consider targeting the mail drop to reach the woman of the household address. Also, if possible, make sure your direct mail piece/invitation has a landing page feature to capture leads (i.e. email and contact information) from those who cannot attend the event in person.
- Use effective seminar marketing and sales protocol. For example, consider calling each seminar attendee in advance to see what they hope to get out of the seminar and/or any special information requests they might have. This will also help you gain valuable insight into the pre-retirement or early retirement position.
- Present a proven core Social Security income planning educational presentation. Within our own practice for instance, we have developed our own comprehensive Power Point presentation deck and associated workbook that addresses the following relevant Social Security income planning topics in the following sequence:
- Claim & get it right the first time
- Don’t elect too early
- If married, use your living spousal income benefit
- If married, leverage the survivor benefit income stream
- Compute your optimal benefit
- Align your election strategy with your overall portfolio
- Give your seminar attendees Social Security advisory options. If they just want Social Security support, provide to them third party resources to help them accomplish this. Or take care of this yourself if you offer this as a stand-alone service. After you’ve educated them, and they want to learn more about your products and services, have a specific appointment form handy for them to complete.
Once a prospect is in your office it is helpful to have a “pre-built” Social Security and retirement planning intake form ready. And, as discussed in previous articles within this series, you will want to acquire a quality Social Security software program to solve for client claiming scenarios.
Watch video: Social Security Explorer
Having a quality software solution will likely be a key component of your successful Social Security income planning program. There are numerous on-line calculators and software portals that can help you with the basic aspects of the Social Security income optimization calculation. However, there are only a handful of turnkey software programs that have the combined features of simple data input and the ability to provide multiple scenario result comparisons including a specific best-fit, recommended client claiming strategy.
Here’s a tool to fold in the Social Security income election into bigger picture financial planning:
Watch video: Retirement Road Map
Social Security income planning educational seminars are a great way to retain your existing clients and build your practice. Advisors who move on this quickly and with commitment will most likely be in a good position for fortifying client retention and enhancing new client growth as well. Having Social Security as one of the major legs of your marketing stool could very well give you that extra boost to help you reignite and grow your practice to the next level.
Read Part 1: The Social Security Income Planning Advisor
Read Part II:What is my natural prospecting market?
Read Part III: What investment in education, tools and technology will I need to make?
Read the authors’ introductory article: Understanding the SSI Suspend & Restart Rule