Every benefit firm wants to grow revenue. Yet, these are the hot topics dominating industry discussions today:
- products and plan design;
- Affordable Care Act compliance and the Cadillac tax;
- technology (HR technology and private exchanges);
- whatever news Zenefits has made recently.
All of these topics are important (except the last one) to a benefit firm wanting to serve its clients well, just as keeping up with changes in the law is necessary for an attorney to represent her clients effectively.
Also see: “2015’s top 50 large-group brokerages in the U.S., part 1.”
But, while important, not one of these topics will, of itself, grow your business. Knowing the law and being a brilliant lawyer do not get you clients. The most successful law firms are the ones that know how to market and sell their firm, that have rainmakers who work to attract lucrative new clients. And the most successful law firms are managed carefully and with best practices to ensure a healthy profit for the senior partners.
To grow both your top- and bottom-line revenue, you have to look beyond the usual industry topics and focus your attention on best-practice, business-building strategies in marketing, selling and practice management. (Covered in my book, DO OR DIE) Improving your marketing, selling and agency management will improve your business and grow your revenue.
Effective marketing is education based and content driven. Marketing is about providing your prospects with tremendous value before they become a client. The right content and message, delivered to your ideal prospects with the right medium (e.g., direct mail, email, webinars, live events, etc.) at the right time, will drive a steady stream of leads into your pipeline for your producers to follow up.
To turn a warm prospect into a client, your producers should be using a well-designed consultative selling process to identify the prospect’s real needs and pain points that your firm can solve. When your competition is consultative, a sales team still using transactional selling will not be competitive — or effective — in closing new accounts.
Also see: “Cracking the agency growth code.”
Finally, the well-run agency is managing producers for more top-line revenue and operations for efficiency and more bottom-line profit. The key to managing producers is proactively holding them accountable for right activity; do the right activity and the sales will follow. Managing operations starts with applying the ADO model. That is, automate, delegate and outsource all lower-value agency activities until all team members are performing their highest-value activities. Are you paying a $25/hour employee to do $8/hour work? Also, remember the importance of your hiring strategies, to hire the right people in the first place.
To discover how these strategies can grow your firm, download the new whitepaper, “Secrets of Hyper-Growth.” This is the inside story of how Tim Olson, EBA’s 2015 Employee Benefit Adviser of the Year, leveraged these very strategies to grow his firm 55% in just 24 months and double his staff to 20. You’ll also learn about ASCEND — The Agency Growth & Leadership Summit in January 2016. It is focused exclusively on business-building and growth strategies for benefits firms.
Compliance, technology and plan design are important, but only best practices in marketing, selling and practice management will grow your firm and boost your profit.
Griswold is an agency growth consultant and author of DO or DIE: Reinventing Your Benefits Agency for Post-Reform Success. His Agency Growth Mastermind Network helps agency leaders reform-proof their firm. Reach him at (615) 656-5974, nelson@InsuranceBottomLine.com, or through 21stCenturyAgency.com.
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