I know I am not alone when I say I hate being sold. Think about the feeling you have when you are sold something, versus when you buy something. Many times when we go out and buy things we have done some research, or we have taken someone’s advice, or we actually need it, like food and clothing. But, the more important buy is when we have a long-term relationship with our doctor, accountant, attorney, restaurant, store or a business partner. Actually we are not buying from these relationships, we are seeking advice or a service —  advice that we are so willing to pay for or an experience in a restaurant that we enjoy.

I said to myself one day about five years ago, “I want to be like them!”

I want my clients to look at me like they look at their attorney, CPA and doctor. I want them to seek me out for advice — not to place a transaction. I want this for me, my clients and the industry that I have spent more than a quarter century in.

With change comes some pain, and I was willing and ready for the pain. So I needed a plan. That plan included some real basic ways of doing business in the new world of benefits. Let me share three of my new ways with you:

1) Commissions are transaction and fees are transparent

It was a new way of thinking and at first clients looked at me like I had three heads. To top it off, I added a service guarantee!

2) Don’t be afraid to say, “I can’t help”

The fact is there are some great consultants out there. If I am prospecting and the prospect says to me, “I am working with so-and-so and I love what they do for the business”, well I will be the first to tell them so-and-so is great and there is not much I can do. The reaction on the face of the prospect is priceless.

3) I don’t want a BOR

The ideal is retainer as my client’s risk adviser. A LOE (Letter of Engagement) is what I will ask for, and I always love project work. Having this type of conversation with your client changes the way they view you, view us.

Vinnie Daboul is vice president national accounts at Employee Family Protection, Inc. Reach him at (800) 229-5129 or vad@efpnow.com.

Hear him speak on Consultative Selling of Benefits, 11:15 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the Workplace Benefits Renaissance in Atlantic City.   

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