The final way benefits advisers should be measured is by their ability to remain relevant. Being relevant in the face of health care reform and the many other changes in the industry is perhaps more difficult than the first two measures – strategic value and innovation.

Let’s think about being relevant like a Google search. Google has clearly mastered ways to list the most relevant data for each and every search. When I search for “best places to eat in Philadelphia,” for instance, Google leads me to lists that highlight the best 50 restaurants, reviews of the best restaurants, etc.

But, read the fine print and you’ll see there are 16,099,990 results for this search. Google is organizing the data in order of relevancy. Now, of course, I’m not naïve; companies pay to get that coveted first spot. But then again, others reach the top through organic efforts. Regardless of how they get there, the point is, they are there. What those top companies are offering is normally the most relevant to the individual who initiated the Google search. That leads me to believe that being at the top of a Google search is valuable space.

Now the parameters for benefits advisers are quite different than searching on Google. Our clients don’t use any fancy algorithms to measure how relevant we are and even our best reporting tools are not nearly as sophisticated.

But, what if we could increase our relevancy and be in the “top 5” advisers our clients call? When we are relegated to the second, third, or fourth page of a Google search – we’ve become part of the 16,099,990 rather than the top 5.

Being – and staying – at the top of the list for our clients should be a goal for all of us. Remaining relevant to our clients amidst an ever-changing benefits environment will help us get there. If we make that our goal, and perhaps we need to change the way we do business in the process, there is indeed a very good future for benefits advisers.

Over the past three posts I’ve shared my thoughts on three critical areas – strategic value, innovation, and relevancy. I welcome your thoughts in the comments on how to get there – what is the process to effectively change the conversation with our clients and remain relevant?

Lacher, CIC, leads the Employee Benefits and Consulting divisions of Lacher & Associates, a second-generation firm located outside Philadelphia. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkLacher and @Lacherinsurance.


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