Benefits buyers at large employers may have different needs than buyers at smaller employers. (Photo: Thinkstock)

Closing a group disability benefits sale isn’t easy, but there’s a lot of room for opportunity to provide this important coverage. In fact, the Social Security Administration reports that only about 30% of working Americans have disability coverage.

The key to closing a sale is knowing drivers that inspire action for each employer. And those drivers can be different for employers of various sizes.

(Related: 10 Ways to Strike Up a Conversation With a Prospect)

Know what keeps the business owners and other benefits buyers you’re talking to up at night

Smaller Employers

My colleague, David Polen, products director at Colonial Life, says companies with fewer than 15 employees reap different advantages from disability insurance plans than larger companies.

Here are topics to talk about with the owner of a small business:

Employees’ needs. There’s typically a close-knit employer-employee relationship, so helping employers understand why offering this coverage is in the best interests of their employees – who are often like family -is crucial.

Protecting employers from getting into tough situations. Talk about what would happen if an employee couldn’t work due to a health emergency, accident or illness.

Absence management. In a small business, there’s often no mechanism to guide the employer on how to handle an absent employee. This detracts focus from running a business, so there’s value in finding an insurance company to administer benefits for an employee out on disability.”

Larger Employers

For employers with 150 or more employees, the drivers are different.

Here are possible topics to bring up in conversations with benefits buyers at larger employers.

Competition for the best workers: Larger employers may see offering disability insurance as a way to attract and retain talent.

Standing out: Larger employers may want to go beyond providing income protection and give employees access to add-on services, like employee assistance programs. They may also want to hear about relatively new types of benefits, such as identity theft protection and will-preparation services, that could appeal to new hires.

Reducing losses due to “presenteeism”: Having a plan in place will encourage employees who are injured or ill to take time off and focus on recovery. This ensures employees get back to work sooner at their fullest potential, which helps a company’s bottom line.

Remember the Basics

For employers of all sizes, education should be the priority in any disability consultation. Recognizing that employers are constantly challenged to mitigate risk while minimizing costs, you’ll likely succeed at closing more sales if you can fit a quality plan to any budget.

Lastly, while technology is imperative in creating a seamless education, enrollment and administration experience, be prepared to communicate with employers and employees in ways that suit a spectrum of learning styles – from print materials, emails and intranet content to videos and onsite meetings.

— Read How to Close More Deals With Your Sales Presentations on ThinkAdvisor.