This is a time of significant change for the employee benefits industry, but rather than respond with panic, consultant Alan Katz urges brokers and advisers to prepare for whatever lays ahead by learning from the habits of successful producers.

 In a speech Wednesday to brokers gathered in Nashville for the annual Benefits Selling Expo, Katz described the time-honored techniques of the country’s high-growth producers that are detailed in his book, Trailblazed: Proven Paths to Sales Success. Successful producers share practices, processes and perspectives that Katz organizes into three paths.

First, they have a positive attitude that is reflected through responsible confidence and pragmatic persistency. Those brokers polled for Katz’s research who reported high sales volumes were consistently more likely to describe the experience of selling health insurance as a positive one, as well as emphasize the importance of persistency.

The second path is business acumen through business planning and execution. According to Katz, principal of The Alan Katz Group, high-growth producers are more than twice as likely to have a detailed business plan as their no- and low-growth colleagues. “When you have a business plan you will align your team toward a common goal so they can use your resources efficiently and effectively,” said Katz.

The third path successful brokers have in common is sales insight using sales professionalism and sales development. “Our clients are looking for our expertise,” said Katz. “… So you want to be worthy of the trust they’re putting in you.”

Seemingly incongruous, high-growth producers reported spending less time on customer service than low or no-growth producers, but Katz realized they are able to do so by discovering clients’ needs before a sale – therefore inviting fewer problems to fix later.

“No one ever made a sale with their mouth open,” said Katz. “You need to listen.”

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