How to add more value as a benefits broker
As an employee benefits broker, you know more about the benefits available in the marketplace than your clients do. But, in today’s tech-savvy world, HR professionals may think they can simply research and compare plans online. That means, you need to bring additional value to your client relationships, beyond product expertise. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Be a strategist
Most small- to mid-sized businesses don’t have a dedicated employee benefits professional or team. If they have HR staff, they are probably spread thin, which means they don’t have much time to look at the big picture and create a strategy for the future. By suggesting ways your clients can streamline processes, improve data integrity and help ensure efficiency, you can add tremendous value. Look at their current benefits and claims, then suggest changes and potential cost savings. Provide ideas on how to attract and retain employees in today’s tight hiring landscape, and share trends in the marketplace.
Grow with them
If you are versed in the wide spectrum of employee benefits across diverse industries, geographies and demographics, you’ll be able to add, revise and adjust your clients’ benefits as their businesses grow. That can help ensure that they won’t feel the need to look for another broker as their needs change and their employee base expands.
Negotiate on their behalf
Your clients look to you to get them the best possible benefits at the best possible price. Use your influence and your contacts to get your small- or mid-sized clients benefits and service that are normally reserved for large companies. It’ll be a big win – for you and for them.
Recommend vetted technology
The sheer amount of benefits software and technology available today can be overwhelming to clients. You can help them by recommending technology you’ve used, and other clients have loved. Consider suggesting a cloud-based benefits platform that is simple, powerful, intuitive and built to work the way you and your clients want, no matter which carrier they work with. Look for a platform that can help your clients streamline HR processes and encourage employees to enroll and manage their benefits more effectively.
Provide service, service and more service
Here’s where you can add the most value. By providing personalized service to your clients and their employees, you can build a solid relationship for the long term. Help them make the most of their administration software, provide enrollment advice and communications, and go to the mat for their employees on claims issues. Check in frequently with quarterly updates, policy updates and employee educational opportunities.
Be open and honest
Your clients may not want to bring up your commissions, but you can bet they want to know about them. Be up front about the fees they’ll pay. If they’re a new client, share any certifications and licenses you have, as well as references, to give them more confidence in your abilities and transparency.
Know where to get compliance help
You don’t have to be an attorney, but you do need to know where to go to get information and answers to your clients’ questions regarding federal and state laws. To make sure your clients stay compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and any other pertinent regulations, know where to turn for knowledge or provide access to an ERISA attorney. It’s also helpful to forward updates from carriers’ attorneys and compliance departments to your clients, to keep them stay abreast of the latest developments.
Become a part of their team
By providing a full range of service and support consistently throughout the year, you can effectively integrate yourself into your clients’ business, becoming an essential member of their team. Adding that level of value will help ensure that you’ll not only retain the business, but you’ll have clients you can depend on for references and referrals to grow your business as well.