Robin H. has worked in the financial field for more than 15 years. Recently, she’s found great success with our Simplify Your Retirement (SYR) course, which allows her to help her clients learn about various retirement income strategies. We sat down with Robin to talk about the exclusive CreativeOne program, how she came to believe in it, and what it’s been like finding success with the strategy.
Robin prides herself on being honest and holding herself and her staff to the highest level of ethics and integrity. She cares about people, whether or not they’re clients. She wants people to understand — and to be prepared for — the coming economic environment. She likes to work alongside her clients and empower them to make their retirement income decisions.
“This isn’t about abandoning old beliefs about money. This is about integrating new beliefs.”
CreativeOne: You’ve seen tremendous success with our Simplify Your Retirement course. They’re two-day courses that include a complete workbook and set of instructions to help baby boomers simplify their retirement. Can you explain why you’ve had so much success with this program?
Robin: My company is Retirement Freedom Team. I’m in New England, Rhode Island actually, just outside of Providence, Rhode Island. I work throughout Rhode Island, about a quarter of Massachusetts (what we call the northern corridor between Providence and Boston) and out towards Cape Cod. We’ve been at our office now about six years and we have developed a good client base that brings us in good folks.
We focus exclusively on safe money options – meaning fixed index annuities, fixed annuities, insurance products. I no longer carry a securities license. That’s relevant, because folks who do might present their practice very differently and would do their Simplify Your Retirement course very differently.
CreativeOne: Have you tried other programs like this before? What makes SYR different?
Robin: I have done a number of different dinner seminar approaches before this one. I think what makes SYR so powerful for me is that the marketing design and all of the materials and powerpoint are incredible polished, clean and extraordinarily high quality. The key for integration of SYR into a practice is to maintain the education piece fully, while also being clear with what your specialty is, if you are not a CFP or RIA. I’m very clear with attendees about my experience and chosen retirement focus, while also being clear that the class covers the broad base of retirement, including those products and services we don’t offer.
CreativeOne: How did you hear about Simplify Your Retirement? What drew you to it?
Robin: We previously were with another field marketing organization (FMO) that specializes in dinner seminars. For a number of reasons, I decided to investigate working with a diversified financial services company like CreativeOne. One of the key factors for the ultimate decision to go with CreativeOne was the Simplify Your Retirement course. I was really intrigued because I liked the concept of educating people instead of just selling products to them. I like to be clear with people that I care about their retirement success whether they end up doing business with me or not. It creates advocates for my services even among people who don’t work with me. We joke about my approach being old fashioned – actually caring about people.
Prior to joining CreativeOne, I insisted on visiting the office when it wasn’t in what I call “presentation mode” for new recruits. I just wanted to know more about it and SYR and I wanted to really learn more from the source. At our office, we’re very careful about our due diligence regarding who we work with. We like to get in there and dig deep and find out what’s going on. We don’t just generally trust the promises on the surface of things when we’re working with companies that we’re relying on.
Again, I became more and more intrigued and I really thought, “You know, this looks like it’s got something going for it.”
CreativeOne: Where was your first SYR course taught — what was that experience like?
Robin: Our first one was a blowout. It was awesome. We got a really good return.
The first course was at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts. I’ve also done it in Rhode Island College. All of the attendees come through direct mail, and once they’ve paid and signed up everything goes step-by-step. All our attendees come from direct mail right now. It’s a really nice larger piece that folds out multiple times. It looks, to be really honest, it looks more course-oriented, less sell-you-something-oriented. It fells like an education piece. I just got one today and I was opening it and I was pretty pleased with it.
CreativeOne: You mentioned at the beginning, I was just wondering about that because you were mentioning that you liked the Simplify Your Retirement approach because it was more about teaching people their options and talking about the various products, you know, without pushing products. Have you found that to be true, that people respond to that?
Robin: Absolutely. And the people coming to the course are open. I mean they’re actually sitting taking notes and I just… it’s amazing. It’s awesome and I know it’s because, even though it’s not a hugely expensive thing for them, they did have to write a check and they did have to commit money. I think that, as opposed to just saying, “Hey here’s a free meal, let’s hope you like what I say and then maybe you’ll want to work with me…” helps create the magic of it all.
It also attracts a different group of people. As a matter of fact, it’s interesting—we had, in all of our sign ups, we only had one person who had come to one of our dinner seminars, and the rest of them had never recalled seeing our dinner seminar invitations (trust me – they had been on the mailing lists).
In fact, some of the attendees told me outright that they have no interest in attending a dinner seminar. This mailer was distinctive to them because it was an educational course.
So it’s interesting because I also ask people, “What have you attended?” And for the most part, the people who come, this was the first time around of actively trying to gather usable information – other than just product oriented pieces that they’ve been handed by their brokers or insurance agents.
Also, a lot of them, it turns out, really appreciated the diversity of information I was giving them, including a greater understanding about the part insurance options can play.
CreativeOne: How does it go with those people when you’re converting them from attendees of the seminar into clients? Is that a smooth process, how does it go since they have the information then? What’s that like?
Robin: I would say once they get into my office, they are usually pretty interested. There is generally a strong trust there. The sooner they get into my office the better, because the trust from having me as an education source is still there.
We’re coming from a different point of view. They’re seeing me more as a teacher versus someone doing a sales presentation. A lot of them are saying, “This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this and this is what you do and I understand and I’d like to know how these integrate.” Being able to do the income-gap software with them is a huge transition point because many of them, especially the upper income-earners, the people who have a million, one-and-a-half, three million plus, whatever, they go into retirement thinking they’re going have this really high income and retirement and when they see the income gap software, they go, “Oh wait. Okay.” Once I’ve gotten them to that point it’s golden.
Because they get it. That’s the point where they get it, at that point. This isn’t about an all-or-nothing thing. This isn’t about abandoning old beliefs about money. This is about integrating new beliefs about money. This is about integrating the fact that they’re entering a new stage of their life and they need to know all of the different aspects that are going to affect that stage in their life.