Staying abreast of benefit industry trends is paramount to offering employer clients valuable service. Benefit experts and thought leaders will discuss some of the most important and possibly industry-changing trends for the coming year at this year’s Workplace Benefits Renaissance in Atlantic City, Feb. 24-26.

In a keynote address, experts from Eastbridge Consulting Group will discuss some obvious and some not-so-obvious trends in the voluntary benefit space — all of which promise to impact the way benefit advisers do business.

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“We all know that trends are important. Primarily, because they point to the major forces shaping current events and secondarily, because they are a signpost in trying to visualize the future,” says Gilbert Lowerre, president of Eastbridge Consulting.

“It is vital that we be able to discern (or have someone discern for us) the major trends facing our business. But even more important, it is key that we determine the implications of those trends and their impact on our planned strategy and direction,” he says.

Lowerre and Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of the marketing advisory firm, will updateWorkplace Benefits Renaissance attendees on the key industry trends they regularly track, including sales, account and employer penetration rates, distribution channel results, ownership rates and product market share.

One industry trend experiencing explosive growth in the benefits space is the use of telemedicine.

In a pre-conference workshop Feb. 24, Greg Agle, senior director of Concierge Benefit Services, and Todd Heiserman, an executive director with Teladoc, will review where telemedicine has had the greatest impact thus far, where it is beginning to have great impacts, and the most successful marketing approaches. 

The two will also be reviewing important tips on what to watch out for in telemedicine contracts. 

“There are multiple approaches to telemedicine and quite frankly, there is a big difference with their results,” they say. “There are far too many contracts in the telemedicine industry that do not lead to win/win scenarios.  Everything from having a clear definition of ‘unlimited access’ to having non-circumvention protection to straight forward vesting, it is critical that you know what you are signing up for.”

Sales techniques

Along with industry changes, should come changes to the sales approach, but Marlin Woods, founder and managing principal of Benefits Plus Consulting, says too many brokers and agents continue to be mentored by sales managers from the “old school,” using outdated or irrelevant methods.

“An entire revamp of the system of sales training is needed across this country and in every industry,” he says. “Employers too have been to the same sales training seminars. They can see the ‘clever close’ coming a mile away. They know the key words, buzz words, catch phrases, and all the other ‘tricks’ that sales consultants attempt to use.”

What’s left, he says, is for advisers to act as an advocate — “sincere in his or her plight to educate and bring awareness to a movement of life changing value.”

Woods will moderate a panel discussion of benefit sales experts at Workplace Benefits Renaissance, addressing the topic of how to court preferred prospects and ultimately win their business.

For more information on Workplace Benefits Summit and to register, click here.

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