There is a ghost lurking in the benefit broker world. Many brokers are chasing it. I hear about it all the time when speaking to brokers. Yet, nobody can find it. Many claim to have seen it. Others claim to be the ghost. But, I have yet to find it.
Is there really a ghost or is it in everyones imagination? I have come to the conclusion that this ghost is not a ghost after all. It is an idea. It is how to be different. Brokers are looking for that one thing that when they go out to a prospect and say, Let me show you something, everyone will want it. Many, many brokers are looking for this ghost. They are searching for this dream or hope to find that one thing that will separate their firm from their competitors.
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The vendors calling on brokers know they are looking for this ghost and they promise to have found it. The vendors promise: I have that one thing where if you partner with me your dreams will come true. Prospects will flock to you. Just sign here and give me $1,500 per month.
I hear this claim all the time. And brokers call me up and say, What do you think of so and so? I ask, what are you looking for? I get no answer. Its like they are looking for some undetermined thing. They take the meeting with the vendor. They spend the hour and a half and see some demo. But they cant tell me what they are looking for. Its a ghost.
Some brokers think they found it. They show me some technology or claim to have some unique service. I look at the technology. I understand the service. But I dont see the ghost. They are paying the $1,500 and have shut down their search because they have found it. Or at least they think so. They want me to say it is the ghost, but it isnt, so I cant. And the search goes on.
Look in the mirror
You see, the ghost is not a private exchange, or some technology. It is not compliance alerts or wellness newsletters. It is not an HR call center or some Web-based HR library.
The ghost is inside you. It is an idea yet to hatch because most are looking for someone else to deliver it. I personally believe there are many opportunities to be different. You can rattle the market in a way where people will start talking. But it starts with the person in the mirror.
So, my message is stop chasing the ghost. The vendor who knocks on your door with that great idea is knocking on everyones door. There are big opportunities to make this benefits world better. But one must start on the inside, and not out. As Mark Cuban once said, The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
Markland is president and founder of HR Technology Advisors (HRT), an HR and benefits technology consulting and solution provider since 2001. Reach him at email@example.com.
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