I have been an ERISA attorney for almost 19 years now and it’s gone by pretty quickly. I have worked for a few ERISA attorneys and have seen quite a few out there giving speeches around here and there.
Probably my greatest talent for helping my own practice and the worst talent in working for another law firm has been the ability to connect with my audience. My audience is going to be plan sponsors, third party administrators (TPAs), and financial advisors. My articles, newsletters, and speaking engagements meet the attention span and interest of my audience. When I was working at law firms, that wasn’t going to work out because most law firm partners have a tendency to speak above the level of their clients and other attorneys and that’s because they feel the need to justify their fees and their experience by speaking legalese and jargon.
I bill on a flat fee, I have a low overhead, people hire me because the fees are reasonable, I don’t need to justify my fees. I’ve seen a lot in this industry (and some of it was pretty absurd, so I don’t need to justify my experience. As a retirement plan provider, don’t confuse your clients with jargon. Spit it out; tell your clients what you do for them and why your service is better than the one being offered across the street.
Throwing jargon and technical speak isn’t going to justify your fees, service, or experience, it’s only going to confuse your clients. Tell them what you do in simple terms, because no matter what, they aren’t going to do your job. Communication is any business is key and the lack of communication often dooms any relationship. Speaking above the level of your clients isn’t communication because there is going to very little comprehension.
No one is denying that the work you do isn’t important, but if you can’t communicate what you to do your client, often they will find another provider that will.