The landscape of employee benefits can seem like a vast wilderness to your clients. Many don't know where to start looking for benefits packages. They do not know what to look for. Some are fearful that moving in one direction means missing out on better options in another. As a broker, one of your jobs is to guide your clients through the wilderness.
A good way to think of it is to imagine being a guide during the great western migration. Your clients have a general idea of where they want to go, but they lack specifics. You know how to get them to their destinations while avoiding pitfalls along the way.
Below are five ways you can guide clients through the wilderness. Bear in mind that as a broker, what you do is decidedly different from what an agent does. Insurance agents represent carriers and their needs. Benefits brokers invest themselves in the needs of their clients, becoming actual partners in securing the best benefits packages.
1. Build a Knowledge Database
One of the best things you can do for your clients is build a knowledge database. It doesn't have to be a literal database stored digitally in the cloud; it can be any collection of data in whatever format is most relevant to your clients. The point is to give your clients a full library of reference material capable of answering their questions when you aren't immediately available. A knowledge database should be easily accessible by all your clients. Do not make them jump through hoops to get information.
2. Provide Targeted Information
Most of the online information relating to insurance plans, product portfolios, etc. is overly broad by design. Carriers and brokers don't want to get too specific because not every detail applies to every client. Still, you should make a point of providing targeted information to your clients. Anything that might be specific to their industry, workforce, etc. should be compiled and delivered to them.
3. Provide Regular Updates
It goes without saying that brokers should be providing clients with regular updates about current benefits, future possibilities, proposed changes, etc. This can be done in any number of ways. A weekly or monthly newsletter is but one possibility. Sending a newsletter out every month keeps clients in the loop and proactively answers questions. Most importantly, being kept informed makes clients feel more confident in the decisions they make.
4. Provide Regular Assessments
Your clients need to have some sort of direction well in advance of annual renewal. Going into renewal without a sense of direction is a recipe for disaster. How do you avoid such disasters? By providing regular client assessments. Once or twice a year, sit down with each of your clients and assess where they stand. Discuss whether or not current benefits are working for them. Talk about future growth plans, or even plans to downsize. Regular assessments make it easier to recommend products and services in advance.
5. Become the Expert
Finally, your clients expect you to be the expert in all things insurance and benefits. Your job is to become that expert. Make a point of learning absolutely everything you can about the products and services in your portfolio. Pay attention to the news; keep track of regulatory and legislative changes; take the time to understand current events and how they affect employee benefits.
A good guide is a competent, knowledgeable guide who knows how to pass information along to clients. Your skills as a guide will ultimately determine your success as a broker. Remember that.