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403(b) Agents Dish on How They Hook Teachers 🎣☕

March 15, 2022

Episode 1 of Learned by Being Burned: Teachers and the K-12 403(b) detailed how teachers get sold high-cost investment products. Teacher after teacher recounts his or story of the 403(b) sales agent in the staff lounge or at the school function. But what makes this episode — called "Somebody Walked into My Room" — especially compelling is the audio from a YouTube video of two sales agents discussing their sales tactics. It's priceless. 

BARB BESAL (NARRATOR) (14:34):
And once they're in the room, they have their game plan. Consider this 2015 YouTube video titled "Networking within a School and Referrals" in which two sales agents, JM and Terry, discuss successful sales strategies. There's nothing secret here. The seven-minute clip is available on YouTube for anyone to watch (note: video no longer publicly available).

JM (14:57):
So Terry we've seen for many years, our most successful agents, yourself included, have done a really nice job with referrals. And what I'd like to share today is kind of what your strategy was and how did you do it in the schools?

TERRY (15:09):
Well, I'm glad you asked Jim, the power of our system is in, uh, being in "work site marketing." That's really what we do. Uh, public employees are about 19 million today. And those people are all in buildings as 80 and a hundred, 200 at a time. And if I knew that if I could get in those buildings, I'd be able to go from one, buying unit to the next. I wouldn't have to waste time telemarketing 'em I wouldn't have to waste time driving out there. So if, if I, if I was able to go from door to door to door, then I would cut out all that driving time, all that phone time, all that stuff. And so that's where I focused my time. And once I learned to do that, then I learned that, okay, now they're friends, they're, they're coworkers. They're right there. And so I came up with some very interesting scripts and, uh, they work really well. You want me to show you one?

JM (16:05):
I'd love to. Yeah.

BARB BESAL (NARRATOR) (16:05):
Here, Terry walks JM through his approach with some role playing.

TERRY (16:10):
I want to get my referrals. Right. So then I'm gonna say, you know, uh, JM has been really great meeting you. Uh, we're gonna take care of you and your family. And, uh, but one thing before I leave, I have my company gives me, uh, five Starbucks cards that I have to give out before I leave this building. Okay. Now, rather than me just walk around and find some people, I found it best us that if I ask you who, you know, you would like to have these, and then I go tell them that you sent me with this card for them. It's a way for you to pay it forward. And for me to meet more people.

JM (16:47):
We drink a lot of coffee, Terry. So that sounds like good idea.

TERRY (16:50):
Right. So who do you know that has, uh, that you would like to me to give this to? 

JM (16:56):
Down this line, literally door 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and eight.

TERRY (17:01):
Excellent. I'm gonna let them know that you said to come by and give him this card. How's that?

JM (17:05):
Sounds great.

BARB BESAL (NARRATOR) (17:07):
JM likes what he heard. The numbers add up.

JM (17:10):
Uh, everything you showed was amazing and it's, it's something that I think everybody can take to the field. A couple things I want everybody to remember. We know today that we close at a much higher percentage, about 80% of all the referrals that we meet with, 30% higher than just meeting them off the street. We also know that an average size deal is three times the size. So it it's the reason for that is we were break down the barriers of trust and they, you know, JM's an okay guy. So they're willing to help you out a little bit more with that.

BARB BESAL (NARRATOR) (17:41):
Walking into the classroom is just one of the tactics increased involvement in the community. Sometimes with lavish gifts to give away is another here's Terry again.

TERRY (17:51):
I've done a lot of, uh, school functions and events. A lot of our people have, um, a lot of the, uh, PTA events. Um, the schools have all sorts of events going on all the time. Um, we've, we've even done as much just given away cars. Now I know that that's a, a big task, but, um, we've, we've rebuilt playgrounds. We've given, uh, big giveaways for gift cards and paper, and anything that anything that will help the schools will typically have some sort of event around it. And that's where you get to network with a lot of people. 

Entire episode 1 Transcript is available here

4 More Episodes Coming

Learned by Being Burned: Teachers and the K-12 403(b). The short series that explores the dysfunctional world of supplemental retirement plans, the maddening industry behind them, and the growing movement to fix what is broken is available on all major podcast outlets. Episodes drop weekly. 

Stay wise and well (and stopy giving sales agents access to teachers).