When I got started in the group benefits arena five years ago, my focus was the same as it is today: to sell as much as possible and provide the best service my agency could. At first, this approach caused me to overlook numerous opportunities–an embarrassing amount — that were right under my nose. I was too driven and focused on closing one sale and moving onto the next. Because of this, I missed the incredible value that each case provided me in terms of developing my business and, of course, my revenue stream.

The standard enrollment agenda
As I continued to grow as a salesperson, I quickly realized that the more time I spent educating the employees of my clients, the less work I would have down the road. I answered fewer questions and had far fewer fires to put out.

So, I put into place a standard enrollment meeting agenda for the employees of the companies I serve. With this procedure, my entire staff knows exactly what needs to be prepared for each meeting. It also helps me make sure each employee is treated the same — the way I would want to be treated.

Proudly, Employee Benefit Meetings are now a standard practice in our agency. As I have become more proficient in leading these meetings, I have developed stronger bonds with my groups and their employees. People want to sit down with me personally after the meetings. They ask specific questions about things going on in their lives, wondering if I can help.

For example, explaining someone’s major medical plan, life insurance, dental and vision plans naturally opens the door to questions such as: “We are about to have a baby and I don’t think $15,000 is enough life insurance. Is this something you can help me with?” or “I’m currently disabled and I know if something were to happen to my wife there is no way we could survive. Can you help me with disability and long-term care for my spouse?” or “We have just gone through a reorganization in our company. Do you handle Key Person Policies?” I have been asked each of these questions while meeting with the employees of my groups, and they have enabled me to better serve the people I represent. They have also helped me develop my practice.

I want to encourage EVERY agent servicing the group benefit market to make this a standard practice in their business cycle. Get out there and host employee benefit meetings to meet the people you serve. With so much going on legislatively, people want answers and a trusted advisor to help them with their personal needs — and being a representative for their company shows instant credibility. What better way to help our clients then by getting to know them on a personal level and understanding their individual needs?

Danny O’Connell is partner at Benefit Resource Group. He can be reached at doconnell@brg-tx.com.

For more exclusive health insurance coverage, visit ASJ’s Health Insurance Resource Center.

Past health insurance stories from ASJ:

1. Five Myths About Health Insurance Exchanges

2. Thriving in the Midst of Health Care Reform

3. Texas Health Care Coverage: A Year in Review

4. Winning the Health Care Reform Battle

5. The Networking Dance for Health Insurance Agents