Authority Marketing: The Ultimate 401(k) Client Acquisition Advantage

WE RECENTLY SURVEYED our 401k Coach community—more than 4,000 strong— for our up­coming Big Idea Focus Group Conference about the agenda topics that would provide the most value for growing their business.

“Generating new business leads,” was the overwhelming response. It’s no surprise that acquir­ing new 401(k) plan prospects and getting your foot in the door is the most important marketing activity for every advisor.

However, the majority of advisors fail to acquire and master one critical client acquisition tool: authority marketing. If you want the ultimate unfair advantage to attract and acquire new business, become an author. Here’s why:

1). Your book makes you the authority, expert and even the celebrity in your marketplace.

2). Your book becomes your new business card: Give your prospects your contact infor­mation and unique value proposition in the form of your book.

3). Your book will foster dedication and pas­sion and turn your clients into advocates.

4). Your book will increase your visibility, credibility and clout.

One of our 401k Coach members engaged an audience that politely listened to his presentation, but he clearly wasn’t connecting. At the end of his presentation, he closed by saying, “Everything I shared with you is in my new book. I would like to send you each an autographed copy.” The tenor of the meeting immedi­ately changed. Audience members sat up attentively, and at the end of the meeting the CEO asked for a one-on-one meeting. The advisor not only earned the company’s 401(k) business, but also a deferred compensation plan for five key executives.

5). Your book will increase the quantity and quality of the referrals you receive. Higher-net-worth individuals want to work with the authority and the expert.

6). You can use your book to get media coverage and free publicity.

Sending reporters copies of your book and asking for the opportunity to talk about topics related to the 401(k) and retirement industries is the “special sauce” to get you interviews. Why? Because in the eyes of a journalist you are an expert and authority, not a salesperson.

7). You can use your book to leverage your marketing dollars, reach more prospects, and get a better ROI on your sales efforts.

A book has a shelf-life of 10 to 20 years (you can always print a revised or improved edition). People don’t throw books away. They keep them on their desks and book shelves. Books are respected and revered.

8). Your book will harness your celebrity power.

Your status in your marketplace will grow your practice 10 times faster than any other form of marketing. By way of example, a small insurance firm was looking for a new 401(k) ad­visor. My name was one of three that were rec­ommended. I sent the principal a copy of my book with a handwritten note inviting her to lunch. On the appointed day, I asked her how she was benchmarking each of the recom­mended advisors. She told me she had already chosen. I steeled myself and asked with whom. She said it was me, and that my book included what she needed to know about my process, my philosophy and my values, all packaged neatly with a consistent, authoritative voice.

9). A book makes it easier to create new con­nections and revenue streams; use it to find business partners, joint ventures and new marketing opportunities.

As an author, I can easily reach out to CPA firms, law firms, property and casualty firms, payroll companies and my local TPA to sug­gest joint webinars and seminars.

10). Your book will create motivated custom­ers to buy your services.

Why? Because you’re selling your intellectual capital, your wisdom and you experience—not someone else’s products. It will create a new brand awareness in your market with both your existing clients and new customers. It will ele­vate your stature. People will recognize the value you have to offer and they will want to pay for your services over those of your competition.

Charles D. Epstein, The 401k Coach, is the author of “Paychecks for Life, How to Turn Your 401k Into a Pay­check Manufacturing Company” and “Save America Save, The Secrets of a Successful 401k Plan.” He can be reached at and cdep­ To learn more on how to become the author, authority, expert and celebrity in you marketplace go to

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