With the rise of technology, newcomers to the benefits market and national brokers growing at a rapid rate, we’re seeing an increase in commodity-based selling. Buying insurance online or as a price-based decision may seem convenient. But, it is still the purchase of a very complex item, which comes with many related issues that critically influence the business. Unfortunately for our small companies, commodity selling is leaving a gap for the consultation and assistance they need to make strong decisions.

This is your opportunity to step in and be the expert adviser that so many small businesses need, and need now more than ever before. Commit to helping these companies by first determining your areas of expertise (Affordable Care Act, self-funding, communications, HRIS systems, etc.), and then making learning and studying the drivers to get to your new role.

And to do it effectively I highly recommend writing. Writing about your topic forces you to explain your ideas, articulate clearly and be selective with your words.

According to Harvard Business Review, we absorb information and perform 23% better when we spend time in deliberate reflection and writing about what we’ve just learned. Taking time to write about your topic not only helps you understand the material better, but you’ll also be creating an article that you can share with prospects and clients.

Don’t use “I can’t write” as an excuse to not do it. We all need an editor, and you’ll get better the more you write and reflect on the suggested edits. Writing is a critical skill for all professionals, and if you’re not already using it, now is the time to begin.

Every time you take on a new level of engagement with a topic — reading about it, then discussing it, then explaining it, then writing about it, then presenting on it — you learn more about it yourself. The ideas you’ve got rattling around become solidified and connections are drawn between ideas that may have once seemed disconnected.

As I write an article or prepare for a speaking engagement, I am always amazed at how much learning comes from the preparation. Even though I’m working with a topic around which I’m already familiar, it doesn’t stop the learning from being quite profound.

We do a lot of writing for our clients and for publication, and we get asked how we find the time to do it. It’s about priorities. Learning and educating are our priorities; without that, we wouldn’t be in business.

Unless you want to be in the commodity sales business, these should be your priorities too.

Try your hand at writing an article around a topic currently challenging your clients. Read about it and write up your ideas. Post it to your company blog or to your LinkedIn profile.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly and frequently you find the opportunity to share and talk about your new learning. Take this small step now to become the feared competitor in your market.

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