Last month, I shared the foundational secret to sales success. That secret was simply to share your story with a lot of people. The truth is that if you called 100 people every day and said, "I sell group medical insurance and would like to talk with you," you would soon have more appointments than you ever believed possible. But, with a small tweak, you can get significantly better appointments with a far higher conversion ratio. That one tweak is to utilize a compelling value proposition. Instead of telling people you sell group medical insurance or employee benefits, talk in terms of the results that you deliver.

As a group health agent or benefit professional, the absolute last result that you want to focus on is lower insurance premiums. Every agent is telling prospects they can help them save money on their health insurance, but no one can deliver on that promise without significantly altering the plan design. Your goal is to craft a compelling value statement that differentiates you from your competitors. Try to focus on the kind of results that your prospects need but are not top-of-mind. Remember, the core reasons for offering benefits are to: attract and retain high-quality employees, reduce employee pressure for increased wages, and motivate employees to be more productive. It should be obvious that everything employers are doing to manage health insurance costs is having a negative impact on those objectives.

Here are two different value propositions: "I help employers reduce the cost of the medical insurance," and, "I help employers reduce employee pressure for increased wages." Which of two statements will generate a more valuable conversation? Since every agent uses the former, the likely response from an employer will be to provide a renewal date. With the latter it is likely that the employer will ask either what that means or how you can do that. Moreover, it lets you be amazingly creative, and your proposal will be much more meaningful than a series of spreadsheets.


Successful value statements

Here are a couple other value statements that can open doors to great appointments and compelling conversations: "I bridge the health care gaps," and, "I help employers get control of benefit costs."

In developing your value statements, consider some of the value-added services that you provide and translate those services into deliverable results. While I am not a proponent of giving away shiny new objects such as online HR Information portals, they do provide a non-insurance, non-benefit value statement such as, "I help employers reduce regulatory risk."

The challenge is being prepared for the prospect that asks, "How do you do that?" Whether you are using a value proposition as the basis of cold calling, as the tag line on a direct mail piece, or as your reply to "What do you do?" at a networking event, prospects will ask for an explanation - and that is precisely what you are looking for. When this happens the last thing that you want to do is launch into a presentation. Your objective is to obtain permission to gather information and to accomplish that, simply reply with, "That is a really great question. In order for me to make my answer meaningful to your situation, may I ask a couple of quick questions?"

Once you have mastered this you will get better appointments and close business with less effort.

Schlesinger is an independent consultant focused on helping benefit professionals double their income. Reach him at (336) 777-3938 or through

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