{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Has anyone used the Warton Group to purchase 401k leads? How was your experience?", "post_id": "5d64350dd2c49500248e7c9d", "reply_count": 8, "vote_count": 0, "bowl_id": "59d8e13f4d57b200118168ef", "bowl_name": "Retirement Plan Advisors", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Has anyone used the Warton Group to purchase 401k leads? How was your experience?

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So 2 blocks down the road from Warton Group in Green Acres, FL is another company called Retirement Plan Ratings also goes by Consulting Connections. With the close proximity I’m guessing they’re linked. Anyway, Retirement Plan Rating does the exact same thing and they are a total scam. It took me months to get my $1300 back by disputing the charge with my credit card and providing 44 pages of email and other documentation showing what frauds they are. Today I received an email from the “manager” in part it says “We have started the process to sue you in Small Claims Court in the state of Florida, where this contract was made to conduct business. Per what is stipulated per Florida in our contract. We will sue for breach of contract. You can expect a visit from a Registered Agent at your office and be prepared to hire representation in the state of Florida. It is our desire to settle this amicably; we are asking you to reverse the dispute, which represents your initial investment. However, if this goes to court, we will want to be additionally compensated for damages representing our loss of time, and lost opportunity costs. We will also file a complaint against you with FINRA. If you feel this is unfair, then trust the judicial process to rule in your favor, and plan on making several trips to Florida. This will not be the first time that Retirement Plan Ratings takes this route, and we always win. We have a contract. We do not take being taken advantage of lightly. We always hold up our end of our agreements, we expect our clients to do the same.” Funny thing is after calling the Florida Attorney General’s Office today and starting a fraud complaint they told me how I could look up court cases for Palm Beach County online. The firm has never been the plaintiff, but a defendant 3 times including one suit between them and Warton Group. If you give either of these companies your money they aren’t going to give you real leads and they’ll never give you your money back. I’ve learned the hard way that there’s no shortcut for 401k prospecting.

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Thanks for an excellent response. I will stay away.

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What are you looking for in 401(k) leads?

What Warton and others are promising is an appointment with a plan sponsor who is unhappy with their 401k plan or plan advisor and who is open to having a free plan review with the understanding that the goal of the advisor (you) who comes to do the review is to hopefully win their business if the recommendations make sense for the business. That is obviously an ideal lead if it existed.

I appreciate the feedback posted here but I would be remis if I did not correct some misconceptions. First, Warton does not schedule appointments with companies who are “unhappy and looking to change”. Nobody does that. In fact, it is a unicorn in the 401k lead development business. If we could produce leads like that consistently we would be billionaires. Think about that for a moment please. If a company were unhappy with their current plan/relationship, they would likely already be looking for help on their own. Not waiting for us to call. The idea that leads like that exist is a bit silly on the face of it. What we actually do, is schedule companies to have their plans benchmarked and reviewed by an outside expert. An “unbiased” review. Experts in retirement plan management tell us that if we can get them in the door to do a review, they can turn it into a prospect from there. We explain this to advisors in advance of them joining our program. Sadly, what sometimes happens is advisors are looking for the quick sale. They ignore our suggested strategies and take a hard sell approach, thereby ruining what might have been a good prospect/opportunity. Second, we are in no way related to Retirement Plan Ratings, DBA Consulting Connections. It is correct that there was once a large company located in West Palm Beach, Florida that started this type of marketing around 20 yeas ago. That company closed in 2010 and several employees started similar businesses. And yes, Warton is one of them. There are several structural differences in the way appointments are developed. For example, Warton records every call where an appointment is set. Before transmitting the details of that appointment to an advisor, a manager listens to the call to insure it was properly qualified. None of Warton’s competitors do that. Third; Warton schedules appointments with someone who is at least part of the decision-making process. That would be, a CFO, head of HR, business owner, or the named plan administrator within the business. We go to great lengths to try to confirm the contacts position with the chain of command. We will get our client as high up the decision-making ladder as we can. It is up to the advisor to navigate the rest of the way up that ladder. It’s important to understand that we are dependent on the company being honest with us. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. It’s important to understand that in many ways these companies are moving targets. We are people dealing with people over the phone. We can only do the best we can and then hope the client/advisor does their part. We know that not every appointment is going to present a legitimate opportunity. Our clients can get replacement appointments when it turns out the appointment was a waste of time. This is not an exact science and there is no way to determine in advance how every appointment is going to turn out. We are trying for a 1 in 4 closing ratio. Not 4 in 4. A certain amount of effort

(continued from my comments above) ... is always going to be wasted when doing any kind of marketing. TV, radio, mailers, luncheons, seminars. All of them are expensive and all of them produce varied results. Try inviting 30 or 40 pre-retirees to Ruth Crist Steakhouse for a luncheon. The cost of that would probably pay for a years’ worth of appointments and may yield nothing. Lastly, Warton has never threatened to sue an advisor partner. It is difficult to imagine under what circumstances something like that could even happen. If an employee sent something like the threat in this thread, they would be shown the door. How unprofessional. Here at Warton we are just people trying to do the best job possible for the advisor/partners who trust us with their marketing needs. We can’t promise an outcome from those efforts but experience has shown us that when the right approach is taken good things will result.

I have worked with both Retirement Plan Consultants and Warton (as well as a couple of others), and there is a world of difference between the two. While the sales reps at Retirement Plan Consultants are professional, the owner is a jerk, and dealing with him is about as frustrating a situation as you'll come across with a vendor. On the other hand, Warton's people are very professional. I'm not happy with the number and quality of leads I've had over the past year (only one has been legitimate, and I'm expecting to close on the business before the end of the year), I still feel like they are trying. And they are far more responsive than RPC ever was. Yes, it's true that the leads are generally not situations where they have already decided to leave, and you have to approach them as you would with any prospect: do your homework about the company, its 401k plan, the person you're meeting with, the owner, and others whom you might know either directly or indirectly through others or groups you belong to; work hard to build trust quickly; be direct about how your meeting will benefit them; respect their time (Shouldn't be more than a 30-minute meeting; don't try to sell in the first meeting--your goal is to gather facts do an analysis you'll present at a second meeting; etc. I believe Warton does a better job of screening leads. RPC set me up with one lead who, when I showed, had no idea why I was there, and both she and an employee laughed at me, suggesting I was using that excuse to get my foot in the door. One Warton lead didn't reveal that they were part of a PEO, and when I called Warton after the meeting, they immediately gave me credit toward another lead, no hassle. Yep, 401k lead companies’ results can be disappointing, sometimes because the lead him- or herself is not entirely forthcoming about their plan and are only looking for a meeting to put into their fiduciary file. But it's not unlike other leads you work on or prospects you deal with: Sometimes it works, most times it doesn't. That's the game. I think the quality of a lead company is not in how many leads you can close, but whether leads are suitable (That doesn't mean cakewalks) and how they deal with their customers when they aren't.

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