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The Experience


We create a dynamic participant and sponsor experience. We see to it that participants are made to feel special and important while plan sponsors have dramatically reduced administrative duties and fiduciary exposure. We save time and money and increase morale and success rates. What else is there?




EVOLUTION IS A NOUN – A process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions.

EVOLVE IS A VERB : To develop gradually

You have to actually do something to evolve ie; learn a new technology, find partners who can help you scale, shed your old ways, quit being skeptical, first ask why, hire an intern, listen to a podcast, watch a video, read a blog and so it goes………..

The important thing is to START….we support the VERB!



Noah’s Ark Lessons

Noah’s Ark Lessons…….

1. Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah started building the boat
2. Stay fit. When you’re old, someone may ask you to do something big.
3. Speed isn’t always important. The snails were on the same boat as the cheetahs.
4. When the skies seem the darkest, float a while.
5. Don’t listen to critics; just stick with the job at hand.
6. Build your future on high ground.
7. Always travel in pairs.
8. The Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.
9. In spite of our differences, we’re all in the same boat.
10. Most importantly: Don’t miss the boat!


5 Easy Things You Can Do To DIfferentiate Yourself In The 401k Market

A guest Blog Post from Sharon A. Pivirotto – CEO


In 1998 I lost an opportunity to help a company manage their 401k plan because the fees on the American Funds platform (only offered A-shares at the time), were way more expensive than the free (hidden) fees offered by the other advisor competing for the business (or so the investment committee was led to believe).

“Price is only an issue in the absence of value.” I’ve heard that quote (no attribution found) many times before and it wasn’t until I got the call in 1998 telling me I did not win the business that I realized what that quote actually meant to me.

“Maybe the reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is…

… that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.” ~ Seth Godin

If you want to stop competing on fees (and funds and fiduciary status), you must be able to identify the value you actually bring to the table and clearly articulate in a way that helps plan sponsors understand why they’d want to hire you (as opposed to a product or vendor you might be able to represent).

One: Specialize and advertise.

If you’ve been working in the qualified plan space for any length of time you understand how complex ERISA and 401k plan management compliance can get. Specialization is important to your ability to service your plans properly, but is also a great way to differentiate yourself and show prospects that you are better equipped to help them than the advisor with no specialized training. In a survey I conducted (Financial Service Standards) a few years ago, 95% of plan sponsors said it was important that the advisor they work with have specialized retirement training. Get educated. Get a retirement-specific designation. Download a free guide that lists 24 different retirement credentials and pick which one you will start with, then advertise it. Let plan sponsors know you’re qualified to help them manage their plan and explain the importance of specialization in this complex area of the market.

Two: Be very specific about who you serve.

If you are the owner of a chiropractic office in Pittsburgh and the doctors in your practice want a self-directed option in their 401k plan, and I told you that “I specialize in offering self-directed options for small medical practices in Pittsburgh”, I would be exactly who you’d want to work with over the advisor that says “I work with companies whose plan size is between 2 and 10 million in assets.” Think about it. Specialists make more than generalists and you bring true value when you can narrow your customer base to serve, exceptionally well, a specific demographic. Identify specifically who you will serve and you’ll win a much higher percentage of cases when you start focusing on a specific client type rather than trying to accommodate anyone that might need help with their 401k plan.

Three: Be clear on how you’re different.

In the book “How to Get Your Competition Fired” Randy Schwantz describes the three ways you can have a competitive advantage through differentiation. First, you can provide a service that is unique, that no one else provides. Second, you can provide a service that others provide, but you have a better process for it that gets better results. Or third, you can describe the service you offer in such a clear and compelling way that prospects are motivated to buy from you rather than from your competition. Identify what your competitive advantage is and articulate it a way that shows your prospects why and how it benefits them.

Four: Make sure your unique value differentiator is front and center on your homepage.

I can’t tell you how many advisors have spent tons of money on their websites, and nowhere on their home page can a client actually learn the who, what and why of the firm (Who is this page about, what’s in it for me, and why would I want to do business with this firm). Go to your website right now and put yourself in the shoes of your prospect and ask those three questions. Chances are you can tweak your homepage so your potential clients know they’re right place and they’ve found a solution to their unique situation, if you’ve done a good job in identifying your target marketing and crafting your unique value proposition.

Five: Use LinkedIn to attract your ideal client.

LinkedIn can be so much more than a plain, boring business card if you use the features LinkedIn offers its members to your advantage. Make sure your summary explains your who, what and why (just like your home page). Give a clear call to action, such as “download your free 10-point checklist on how to avoid the common 401k mistakes from my homepage at this link”. Use the new publishing option to write about things your prospects and clients should pay attention to (while raising your visibility and credibility).

There are many ways that you can compete more effectively in the 401k market but they all begin with understanding the landscape and deciding on a focus for your business.

If you’d like more strategies and tips for growing a successful and compliant 401k practices, you can download a free special report titled “3 Steps to Developing a Marketing Strategy that Doesn’t Suck” on my blog at


About: Sharon Pivirotto is the founder of the 401k Best Practices Blog and Managing Director of Financial Service Standards, a division of fi360, Inc. She’s developed numerous products and presentations for 401k professionals including the 401k Service Training Program and the 401k Service Solution turn-key sales and service documents.


Learn about her newest program to help you find, nurture and convert 401k prospects into raving referral sources with Jane Murphy of Acceleration Retirement and Stephen Wershing of the Client Driven Practice at


Cashing in on Cash Balance

Join me and Jason Grantz, QPA, AIFA from Unified Trust as we discuss how to grow your business and your client assets with a Cash Balance Plan & Defined Benefit Plan. Unified Trust is a fiduciary and a corpororate discretionary trustee.



 The Steps


1)   Join The 401k Study Group, Study Our Library, Listen,Watch, Use our Logo.
2)  Go Tell Someone You Are Interested In Their Plan, If Needed Ask Them For Help Or A Favor
3)  Study Your Retirement Plan Specific Compliance Forms
4)  See #2
5) Begin To Decide What Role You Will Play
6)  See #2
7) Get A Designation
8) See #2
9) Change Your Communication Material & Website
10) See #2
11) Choose a Prospecting Source
12) See #2
13) Choose A Worksite Tool
14) See #2
15) Interview Vendors
16) See #2
17) Determine If You Want To Do Joint Work
18) See #2
16) Attend A Conference

All Along The Way: Go Tell Someone You Are Interested In Their Plan
WHY: It is the hardest thing you will do and the most valuable. Remember “That which you think you cannot do is the very thing you must do first”.



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No this is not a reference to the Chesapaeake Bay in our backyard or the delicious crustaceans within . It is a football story. Back in high school in the land of Squanto and The Pilgrims, my partner recalls playing football as a teenager and the brutal practice routines devised by his maniacal coach. Many a tough offensive or defensive lineman from his Cape Cod town were brought to the depths of their despair when these words were hollered during practice…… “CRAB IT””

“CRAB IT” meant hell for any offensive or defensive lineman looking straight up the steepest hill on the practice field knowing they would not have the luxury of running like the backs or receivers but would be faced with an all fours crab walk at full speed in both directions. Try it in your living room sometime, keep your head up and your butt down, walk on all fours for a few steps. Now you are getting it. Oh yeah, did I say you needed to put on full gear and a helmet.

THE SEGUE: You have to be tough and tenacious to behave like a media company. Feeding the social content beast is hard work taking years and dedication. A digital, interactive platform takes all you have, all your resources and all your intelligence to support and nurture. You gotta “CRAB IT” most days and be patient on all others. Suffer, smile, work, give, connect, collaborate, deliver, drive, interact, influence, learn and grow.

We believe Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk. Meaningful work is tough but worth it, risky but rewarding…….and it helps to have a partner who can “CRAB IT” with the best of them!

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We Are ALL Media Companies First

Every business needs to start thinking and acting like a media company. All companies need to be putting out content. Period. This is what I believe in….Gary Vaynerchuk



Join Us

Here are some of the reasons new advisors joined The401kStudyGroup this month:


“I want to share what we find works in the 401(k) space as well as learn from the best & brightest what they find is helping companies & employees”

“I want to be sure that I am current relevant and learn how to effectively expand this part of my practice.”

“Because Chuck is a great guy”

“Recommended by my OSJ”

“New Cambridge Rep”

“I want to learn how to enter the marketplace”

“Business opportunity”

“I want to grow our 401(k) practice”

“I recently saw Chuck speak at a conference and I thought the content he provider was very interesting and informative”

“I met Chuck Hammond and he made me think I NEED to join”

“I heard about the group at the Alliance Symposium”

“I want to learn how to enter the market”

“Knowledge is power, and a necessity in today’s competitive marketplace”

“I want to better myself, my practice, and my efforts at reaching more clients”


Any Questions? The401kStudyGroup




The Noise

“All the noise noise noise noise”……..The GRINCH Who Stole Christmas

Question: How does an industry stifle Innovation and Enterpreneurship
Answer: By creating more noise through Interruption Marketing techniques

Question: How does an industry support Innovation and encourage Entrepreneurship
Answer: Quiet the noise by supporting Permission Marketing techniques

Endgame: Quit Interrupting, Support a Permission Marketing Platform, Support Innovation/Entrepreneurship, Leverage Technology, Deliver Measurable Results, Breakdown Barriers,Build a Tribe, Create A Permanent Asset, Eliminate The Competition, Win The Next Generation Of Advisors,Grow and Flourish…..Any Questions?