I’ve solved one of the biggest puzzles in the industry: Why most brokers who are contracted with a worksite voluntary benefit carrier still don’t cross-sell voluntary benefits.

In the past year, on a national tour sponsored by Aflac, I’ve conducted more than 50 of our Broker Boot Camp workshops on cross-selling worksite voluntary benefits for more than 1,100 brokers across the country. In these workshops, I always ask for a show of hands from those brokers who proactively and consistently present worksite voluntary to their medical clients. The response is rarely more than 10% of the brokers. Many of the others have attempted to cross-sell voluntary to their clients but finally quit trying. They got tired of getting shut down over and over by the same objections that they simply couldn’t overcome.

Brokers fail to cross-sell voluntary because they sell it the wrong way. When I first got into the industry working for a national benefits communication and enrollment firm, I got the exact same objections from the HR client because I made the same mistake: I made voluntary a product pitch. Ask the client some variation of, “What about putting in some voluntary benefits?” and you get one or more of these objections: “My employees…

…don’t need your benefits.” (But I haven’t told you yet which benefits.)

…can’t afford your benefits.” (But I haven’t told you how much they cost.)

…don’t want your benefits.” (Oh, you’ve taken a survey! No, she hasn’t.)

These objections are not true; they’re merely the uneducated opinion of the client who doesn’t know the value proposition of these benefits to the employees. We know these objections are untrue because, when educated on these benefits as part of a voluntary enrollment, employees participate in the voluntary plans at levels from 40% to 70% or higher.

But, when you get one of these objections, it’s game over, no sale. These objections to worksite voluntary are fatal because you simply can’t argue with the client.

Here’s the reality. Almost no HR director, benefits manager or business owner wants another insurance product. When pushing products, you might as well be selling ice to Eskimos. Most of your clients would agree with what an HR director once told me: “My employees aren’t using the benefits I give them now; why would I give them more benefits?”

What’s in it for HR?

If your clients don’t want more insurance products, what do they want? Well, this is why cross-selling voluntary is a consultative sale. You can’t know what the client wants or needs until you ask good questions to help you identify the client’s pain points, problems that need solving and one that you can solve. This is the effective alternative to pitching product.

Fortunately, as I’ve written elsewhere, worksite voluntary benefits provide you with a toolbox of valuable solutions that not only can solve many challenging HR problems but can solve the problem with no impact on the client’s budget. In other words, free to the client! You don’t pay for the solution, either, but you do get paid — very well! — for bringing the solution to the client.

Next month, I’ll show you how thinking like a Girl Scout can help you cross-sell voluntary the right way and easily close the voluntary sale with your HR client.

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