This one’s for all the benefits advisers looking to outshine the competition, break through the clutter and rise above the rest. Here are 4 tips to take to apply to your strategy as soon as possible.
1. Don’t Recycle
Pitching the exact same benefits structure or introducing the exact same products to all your clients is not a good idea.
First, it gives insight into the fact that you aren’t listening to each client’s specific wants and needs. Of course, there may be a homerun combination that works well for a lot of your clients, but don’t just assume that it always will. Evaluate each client before you choose to recycle an old idea.
Second, going in with the same suggestions each time is a quick way to become stale. Clients can tell when a benefits adviser has said the same thing a million times—like reciting lines when your heart isn’t in it.
And finally, you know all about product differentiation. It’s the easiest way to clearly stand out among the one-size-fits-all-plans. Recycling makes it difficult to incorporate new products and ways of structuring, since sticking to what you know really limits the products you can offer. Take the initiative to learn about something new.
2. Enter at the Right Level
Getting yourself in front of the right team or individual is key to winning new clients. But it really depends on the product or story that you are trying to sell.
Typically, your audience will be HR. Make sure you clearly understand their goals, and present your knowledge in a way that speaks to the completing of those goals. Again, each client will have different goals—even when your audience is the same.
Sometimes, your audience will be the C-Suite. This audience is more open to out-of-the box ideas and big shifts that are likely to create perceptible change. C-Suite audiences are also likely to be interested in hearing about products that can directly impact their bottom line, as well as their own benefits personally.
3. Make Every Meeting Count
Whether it’s off-cycle, benefits planning, or something in between, don’t waste one minute of face-to-face time with your clients.
This is the time to gauge how you’re doing, how well the plan you put in place is performing, and what needs to be done—even if clients don’t come directly out and say what it is that needs to change.
Listen to their issues so that you can internalize them, go back to the drawing board, and return to present solutions that clearly show the problem solved. Remember, it’s never just about numbers in a spreadsheet. It’s also about how well you address their needs as a benefits adviser.
4. Immerse Yourself
A high-level approach is what everyone else is doing. But you’re not everyone else.
Go holistic. Dive into their world. Foresee problems before they arise. Fix things before they break.
Look at benefits from a cost perspective and a talent management perspective. Consider compensation in the equation. Familiarize yourself with the company structure. Understand the specific industry challenges. Keep your sight ahead on benefits industry trends and how they might impact your clients and their goals for the coming year. See coverage gaps before they feel them. Do it all, and then repeat that strategy for the next client.