Having just completed my seventh year at OneDigital, I took some time to reflect on how the insurance industry has evolved. The challenges and complexities in employee benefits continue to grow. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created a lot of confusion and unrest, it has also provided an excellent opportunity for growth and reinvestment in our client relationships. I started this job seven years ago thinking I was in “sales,” and quickly learned that my job was not really about “selling” anything whatsoever. After spending time with some of my colleagues and our clients, I quickly learned that a broker relationship is one of the most important and carefully scrutinized relationships an employer will evaluate on a regular basis. I learned that focusing on rapport, trust, and proactive guidance outweighs talking about the newest product or worrying about where the next new client is coming from.
As someone who is responsible for helping our business grow, I focus a substantial amount of time and attention on relationship building. My philosophy is to treat a prospective client as if they are one of our own by sharing the same level of enthusiasm, guidance, and progressive thinking that our clients have come to expect and appreciate. I look to engage in strategic discussions and I approach all of my prospective client meetings the same way; to fact-find, discuss strategy, and make recommendations all in a 30-45 minute discussion. As a result, I’ve learned patience and I understand that there are a number of reasons why an employer may or may not be open to exploring a new broker and business partner. Though I am patient, I am willing to push the envelope and approach a discussion with full transparency and candor.
For any producer, brand new or seasoned in our industry, you could argue that relationship building and cultivation is the most important skill-set you can have. This is not a new phenomenon, but it amazes me as to how many people are not willing to invest the time, energy, and commitment that it takes to develop a relationship to the point where someone is comfortable doing business with you.
I’ll continue to challenge prospects to adopt a progressive strategy while cultivating relationships in the hope that when the time comes, they’ll remember the guy who provided valuable advice from day one instead of trying to just make the sale.