Anyone who has heard me speak or read any of my columns over the years knows that I hate the traditional employee benefit proposal. More importantly, I believe that if agents do not redesign their proposal they will find themselves irrelevant within five years. It is very likely that as you are reading this your silent dialogue sounds like this: "I have a great proposal and it is not at all like my competition." Unfortunately, most of you are sadly mistaken.

The very first page of your proposal is "About the Agency/Agent," and this page is the single most irrelevant page in your entire proposal. The next two pages are a variation of "Our Services" and "The Carriers We Represent." Rather than enhance your standing, these pages simply make you look like your competition. And then you have your spreadsheets. Unfortunately, nowhere in your proposal does it say: "Here are the goals that you told me were important beyond price, and here is the plan that I recommend." At the end of the day, in the absence of any written recommendation, there is very little difference between your proposal and an online quote engine.

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