It’s been a year of unbelievable political twists and turns and we are rapidly approaching our national elections. So, what are some of the very best benefits advisers in the industry talking about? What concerns are forward thinking industry experts seeing on the horizon?
For a meaningful number of advisers, nationalized healthcare is once again a real concern given the current political dialogue. It’s a topic that promotes angst, but since none of us controls the political debate or the national economy, we really cannot solve the issue or dictate the outcome. What we can control is how we plan our business operations and how we define our role in relationship to our clients.
We can engage our clients in a benefits strategic planning dialogue that includes contingency planning that is willing to consider one scenario wherein not all benefits will be provided by the private sector, and that the government could compete even more broadly with insurance carriers. I personally do not think that nationalized healthcare is likely to happen in the next 2-3 years given the economic conditions that exist. However, stranger things have happened in the last twelve months.
If something like that does happen, then what? What is plan B for your business? You’ve already incurred the client acquisition expenses so you need to find other ways to monetize the value of your client relationships. You cannot afford to have all your eggs in one basket. If you have not started considering the possibilities, you really need to do so with a sense of urgency. You need to make yourself an indispensable, trusted adviser.
Perhaps you should consider migrating your business away from a commission-based revenue model to a fee-based model. Or maybe you need to immediately integrate voluntary benefits into your current practice. Maybe it’s adding other relevant services like HR consulting, payroll, retirement planning or property and casualty insurance to your business model. Whatever options you consider to be best for your business, you need to have a viable strategy for adapting to the changing benefits landscape. Let us know if you need help getting started.
You need to be thinking more strategically and more holistically about your client’s benefits program. How does it support the organization’s enterprise goals? Do you know what those goals are? Do the benefits offerings support the human capital management objectives of the business? These are very pertinent questions that are critically important to consider. So you may need to improve your listening and consultative skills. And you will need to be thinking about solutions. Those solutions may be unfamiliar products like limited medical, critical illness, financial wellness, or legal services so you may need to acquire new product knowledge.
Or the solutions required may be improved benefits communications since the employee population may not fully understand the benefits they currently have, let alone any changes or new benefits offerings. It could be the appropriate solution may involve new enrollment strategies, so you may need new skills, technologies or professional relationships to properly introduce the latest benefits offerings. But just entertaining the notion that all benefits choices may already be voluntary alters the perception of what may be needed and the reality of how to deliver the new program offerings.
Over the years we have discussed a number of strategies here for achieving sales success. In this business and political climate, you need to be optimally adaptive, flexible and prepared with contingency plans. You cannot remain static in your comfort zone. You must be proactive and open to new benefits planning techniques. And you undoubtedly will need new tools, product solutions, skill sets and relationships to help your clients to succeed in their respective businesses. That is how to remain relevant regardless of the changes in the benefits landscape. That is how to become a trusted adviser.
Yes, you must multi-task. And yes, it is challenging. But for those of us who remain focused and work smart, our businesses will not only survive, they will thrive.
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