As important as benefits are to hiring and retention, it would seem that selling them should be easy. But every broker knows that this is not true. Selling benefits is one of the hardest things to do in the insurance business.
Your job as a broker is to introduce companies to the products that would benefit them and their employees the most. That is all well and good, but how do you find new clients? How do you develop leads into paying customers in a business environment that seems to both want and cringe at benefits simultaneously? You go back to the basics.
Discovering new clients is all about finding employers who need your services, even if they do not know it. Before you get started though, consider how you present yourself. Sometimes brokers fail right from the start because they present themselves as brokers. To an employer, a broker sells insurance. But you do more than that. You sell benefits packages. So present yourself as a benefits professional rather than an insurance broker.
With that in mind, there are three back-to-basics strategies for discovering new clients:
- Ask Clients for Referrals – The one thing about sales that has not changed in the last 50 years is the power of referrals. Referrals are still the number one means of generating quality leads that turn into closed sales. As such, never be afraid to ask your clients for the names of other companies that might need your services.
- Follow Up On Past Referrals – A past referral may not have become a regular client for a number of reasons. Yet there is no need to dismiss such referrals unless you have been specifically told to go away. So follow up. Maintain contact with past referrals by placing a casual call or sending an email message every couple of months.
- Make Use of Networking – Networking is another tried-and-true strategy for discovering new clients. Get out there and rub elbows with the business leaders in your community. Attended Chamber of Commerce events, volunteer with local civic organizations, and so forth. Networking is one of the fastest and most effective ways to generate new leads in the short term.
Long-term strategies for discovering new clients are bit more abstract. At the top of the list is creating and maintaining an online presence. We live in a digital world. No benefits pro is going to succeed in the long term without competing online.
If you do not have a website, hire someone to build one. Work with an SEO specialist and digital marketers to make sure your website produces results. Connect as often as you can online and you'll start seeing those new clients come to you.
You should also:
- Be a Source of Information – Employee benefits are complex and confusing. Employers are constantly looking for information they understand and can pass along to their employees. Be that source of information. Do not just sell benefits, be the broker who explains them in terms real people understand.
- Utilize Social Media – Social media is a virtual gold mine of new leads. So if you're not on social media yet, get moving. LinkedIn is your best option for B2B leads. It is the social media site business professionals hang out on. Facebook is another good option.
You can wait for new clients to find you or go find them first. It is up to you. But the more effort you put into client discovery, the more likely you are to find clients ready and waiting to join your book of business.