You and I both know that exchanges, both public and private, are coming. Commissions on group medical have been reduced, and are likely to be reduced further in the future. So, if I were to ask you the following question, how would you answer?

If you had a magic wand and could change just one thing that would have a significant impact on your life and business what would that one thing be?

If getting rid of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the first answer that comes to mind, you are already in trouble. If that is the only answer that comes to mind I would suggest that you find another line of work.

In truth, you really do have a magic wand and you can wave it and achieve more success than you have ever thought possible. The first step in using your magic wand is to recognize that wishing for a different reality is a waste of time. Instead of wishing that PPACA would go away, you should start wishing for a new way of doing business. You can wave your magic wand and begin generating a ton of new business tomorrow through dental or disability income insurance. Your magic wand can ignite a business for you as a fee-based consultant.


Take full responsibility

Blaming the passage of PPACA or the economy is about shifting the responsibility for your situation to outside events. Unfortunately, you cannot control outside events. The economy may tank further in 2013, resulting in your biggest clients eliminating a number of employees, which in turn further reduces your income. While there is nothing that you can do about the impact of the economy on your clients, you can develop a marketing strategy that increases new business activity, which will generate new sales.

Insurance exchanges may very well make it difficult to market group medical in the small to medium group market. That said, the increased number of plan options will require trained professionals that can help employees make the right choices. Commissions on medical may have been reduced, but there are opportunities to significantly increase your per-enrollment revenue. A small tweak in how you present employer solutions can result in larger long-term profits through increased use of insurance products combined with better management of employer expectations.

But none of that can happen until you take full responsibility for your business success. Instead of placing blame on outside circumstances, use the magic wand of massive action. The real questions are these:

* Are you an insurance agent or simply a medical insurance agent? The insurance agent understands that his or her job is to use insurance products (which may include medical) to help clients achieve their goals.

* Are you an employee benefit specialist or just a medical insurance agent? The employee benefit specialist understands that employee benefits include much more than just medical insurance. There are a lot of agents that make an amazing income selling a lot of insurance products other than medical. In my case, I stopped selling medical insurance completely in 1991. I make a very nice living and have significantly less work than my medical insurance agent counterparts.

The moment you recognize that you have an entire portfolio of insurance products beyond medical that can help a lot of people achieve a lot of goals is the moment that you wave your magic wand and change everything.

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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