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7 Steps To Selling More Voluntary Benefits

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Now is the time for insurance sales professionals to capitalize on worksite marketing opportunities.

Employers want to offer more exciting packages of benefits while coping with the rising cost of health insurance, and employees are increasingly examining ways to upgrade their existing health insurance coverage. Both groups seek additional benefits at affordable costs.

Therefore, the opportunity to provide viable alternatives for employers and employees exists for insurance professionals. One popular solution is offering a variety of ancillary benefits and asking employees to pay for those benefits on a voluntary basis.

The result: Demand for voluntary worksite benefits has soared to unprecedented heights. To meet this demand, agents must have an effective sales plan.

Here are some steps agents can use to sell more voluntary benefits products.

1. Know your product. You can’t sell what you don’t know. Familiarize yourself with the benefits and coverage that each product offers. There are a myriad of ways to learn more about voluntary benefit product offerings, and increasing your level of knowledge will help you provide better service to your clients.

o Shadow a seasoned agent and experience product offering firsthand.

o If you have been selling worksite benefit products for awhile, familiarize yourself with enhancements to older policies.

2. Motivate yourself. D’s don’t look good on a report card, but the 3 D’s of internal motivation–Desire, Determination, Discipline–separate sales professionals who take initiative from the order takers. Ultimately it is up to you to get out of bed and make phone calls to seek various business opportunities.

3. Set goals. Begin by writing your objectives down.

o Where do you want to be in 5 years? How are you going to get there?

o If you plan to increase profit sharing by 20%, how will you go about doing that?

o How many networking contacts do you plan to make today?

Review and revise the list often. Work to stay ahead.

4. Do your homework.

o Study the demographics of client company employees and current benefit offerings.

o Explore the client’s product needs during an introductory interview.

o Find out what the client has, what it needs, and what it wants to change.

Learn as much as possible about the organization you are calling on to determine if your products can meet its business needs and the needs of its employees.

5. Perfect your presentation. After informing clients about specific product offerings, be sure they will walk away educated about the products and able to make an informed decision. This can be achieved when you are:

o Organized in your approach.

o Confident in your plan of action.

o Reiterating important product details.

o Answering all questions.

o Poised in your closing techniques.

A sales presentation that is developed and polished will pave they way to negotiating the sale and will open doors for additional networking opportunities.

6. Service the client. Closing the sale doesn’t end when the signature ink has dried on the paper. You must follow up. Review your clients’ first billing statement to ensure accuracy, uncover errors and make any necessary changes. This post-enrollment phase should be used to reinforce the need and cost of the enrollment decision. This not only closes the sale but ensures that your clients are satisfied with the service they are receiving.

7. Get referrals. A proactive position is more effective than a reactive response. Gaining additional contacts through networking and referrals can optimize business opportunities. Meetings, conferences, business luncheons and trade shows are ideal settings for exchanging ideas and sales leads.

A referral is the best way to meet potential clients. After servicing a newly opened account, have a brief meeting with the benefit manager and ask for help. Ask for names of businesses that would be interested in receiving information on your product offerings. If the benefits manager can’t think of any, be prepared to list a few names of other businesses in the area–even some competitors. Obtain their approval to use their name in either a networking or referral situation.

As insurance professionals, we must embrace reliable methods that maximize the value of the products we offer. In doing so, we have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients to provide excellent service. Now is the time to take these fundamental selling strategies and incorporate them into successful business practices.

Ronald E. Kirkland is senior vice president and director of Aflac U.S. sales at Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga.

Kicker: Goals

Challenge yourself.

o Where do you want to be in 5 years?

o How are you going to reach your 5-year goal?

o How many accounts do you plan to close in 6 months?

o How many accounts do you plan to close in 1 year?

o How many networking contacts do you plan to make today?

Source: Ronald E. Kirland, Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga.