To begin, we learned about the Death of worksite voluntary benefits. Well, not so much the death of them, but more of a re-working. We need to keep in touch and keep tabs on the market place. It's important to keep up with the terms being used - "core" and "voluntary" might have new meanings to your prospective clients. You've got to stay in touch with carriers offering worksite plans and be up to speed on how they integrate with the entire benefit package - or some other adviser will be telling your former clients about it!

 

Build your community

Alan Katz and Bill Corbett gave us great information in The art of social media. They make a good point about using multiple platforms. People like to get information according to what works best for them. If someone gets 100 e-mails a day, they are probably going to delete your e-mail newsletter. But that same person might read a printed newsletter.

Others might like video like YouTube, or audio like a podcast. As Corbett mentions, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are tools that should be used properly. For example, I had great success meeting new people at a past EBA Summit by tweeting comments about the breakout sessions I was in.

The neatest thing about social media is that you can build a community of people. I have a growing print and e-mail newsletter list, and my blog (which is integrated into my website) gets regular traffic.

 

Give back

One of the side effects of getting involved and giving back (Community) is that you can stay in touch with the world around you and share experiences. Imagine the fun you could have if you and your clients joined together for a Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure. Or, what if you got together and volunteered at a fundraiser? One of the things I enjoy is the stories I share with the clients I work with - the ones that usually start with, "Remember the time we ...".

 

Be a human

Amy Lane Carst gives us valuable advice in her article The human element. Many of the newsletters I get from financial firms, accountants, attorneys, etc., are long diatribes about industry stuff. In most of them, there is no human element - nothing about what is going on with the people who work there. Guess what? I usually don't get past the headlines. Our business is a people business - so why not add the human element? Talk about something neat your people are doing. My newsletter always has an update on my kids and their swimming, school, etc. I get more comments on that than any of the industry tips I write. My readers get to know us, and make a connection on a personal level. It's a great way to stay in touch.

 

Study up

Finally, it is important to stay in touch with legislation. Craig Gottwals' Be Advised column on PPACA reminded me of this. I was talking to a benefit broker recently who obviously had not studied PPACA. He had no idea what opportunities lie ahead and was just waiting to go out of business. He was out of touch and in tune with the old ways, not the new ones. Gottwals' article brings up many concerns and ideas, especially about reverse wage discrimination. I'm hitting the books to research this further. Are you?

 

Bryant is the founder of Woodlands, Texas based SB&K Benefits L.L.C. He can be reached at toddb@sbkbenefits.com. Visit sbkbenefits.com to read his blog or subscribe to his newsletters - including one for employee benefit advisers on surviving and thriving after health care reform.

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