Our brethren on the direct pay side of compensation and benefits preach total rewards to their clients and employers seem to lap it up. Employee benefit advisers would serve themselves and their customers well to do the same. Are you selling insurance products and services with a total rewards wrapper?

Selling employee benefits with a total rewards approach is not some clever slogan, fad or marketing angle. Progressive employers have been there for years and the idea is picking up momentum.

The concept allows you to match your sales efforts with how employers think - itemizing out and communicating every large and small positive reason for why employees should work at their company. It makes sense.

Satisfying the old adage that employee benefits are in place to attract and retain qualified employees with a total rewards spin means that employers leave nothing to be assumed. Employers sell, and do so repeatedly, current and prospective employees on all the positives of working at their company.

This is where you come in. Are you helping your employer groups communicate the total rewards message to their employees? Are you merchandising the insurance lines you offer with a total rewards bow? Do you highlight the features of employee benefits to align the rewards aspect of benefits within the total rewards context that your employer groups are using, or will use, to set this positive message in the minds of employees?

If all this sounds a bit esoteric and dreamy, fear not, because there are roadmaps for you to follow and win more sales. This will happen because of the alignment you achieve with what employers want you to do.

Three ways to adjust

There are three ways you can adjust your sales presentation and buyer relationship to be a total rewards seller.

First, do not sell in silos. Too many sellers miss the opportunity of selling more lines because they fail to sell the value and excitement of each product line and show how the package of products creates a wow factor when put together. Sell the completeness of a benefits package. Think total rewards and the words you speak during the sales process will change accordingly.

Second, do not be a product hack. You should be selling a shock and awe presentation that includes technology that makes the customer's life easier, tools for employees and HR services that your buyer wants - but won't bring up unless you do so first.

Think about your competition and what total rewards they bring to the table in exchange for doing business with a buyer. You must be at least as good as that competitor. I want you to be better, because that wins sales.

Third, have one avant-garde product or service to market to your buyer. Travel benefits, concierge services and group legal services are a bit out there, but that's the point.

These unorthodox benefits make your buyer view you as on the cutting edge of benefits ideas. You may not sell a lot of these off-the-beaten-track benefits, but it makes for great discussion and stakes out your image as a thinker and total rewards seller. More business will follow.

The total rewards compensation concept is not going away anytime soon. Employers think and practice it. They look for ways to enhance it and aid in employee engagement. Where do you come in?

Davidson, CEBS, is founder of Davidson Marketing Group and FutureOffice Network. He is also on the faculty at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Reach him at craigd@davidsonmarketing.com.


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