As a broker, you know relationships are everything. The pandemic accelerated our move to a more digital world, and the largely remote setting may have made it more difficult to stay connected to your clients than you would have liked.
Regardless of the varying circumstances we’ve encountered, we’d likely all agree that relationships are more important than ever. And perhaps that’s even more so the case with clients who depend on your expertise. Nurturing those relationships is a winning business strategy.1
Here are five reminders and tips on relationship-building in today’s environment as we all look ahead to open enrollment season.
1. Nurture relationships year-round.
Continue to let your clients know you are there for them all year long. Cultivating ongoing relationships with your clients means that you’re likelier to hear about opportunities, bids and RFPs with them before they come to fruition.
The great majority of employers feel their broker provides them with valuable support and advice, beyond simply presenting benefit options. In fact, businesses that receive consultative services and advice from their brokers tend to rate them higher than those that do not.1
2. Ask – and answer – questions.
If you don’t understand the need, you can’t fix it. And if your clients don’t understand the enrollment strategy you present to them, they’re not going to make the most of it. This is one place where the remote workplace can have benefits: Instead of asking questions ad hoc in a conversation, you can draft questions, review their phrasing and send them to clients as a bundle. Consider keeping a running list of questions in a convenient place so you can address them with your clients all at one time, alleviating the need to ask numerous questions at various times. Then note how your clients respond, and consider whether that process will be appropriate to “mirror” when it comes time for you to answer their questions.
3. Understand your clients’ digital user experience.
If the future of enrollments and customer service is digital, it’s important to know what kind of service your clients are getting when you’re not around. Do a mock walk-through from your clients’ perspective of any technologies or portals you ask them to use. Is the user experience simple and intuitive? There might not be much you can do immediately to create a better user experience, but the more you know about your own systems, the better equipped you’ll be to discuss them with your tech team and partners.
4. Consider measuring your relationships.
You know that your success is about more than the sales numbers; it’s about the quality experience you provide to your clients. Measuring such categories as meeting expectations, providing personalized support, being transparent in your communications and listening to their input can help deepen your relationships.2
5. Share in the human connection.
While personal attributes such as empathy and compassion have sometimes been portrayed as vulnerabilities, the pandemic has demonstrated how much they're needed in the modern world of work.3 Employers are struggling with making sense of the evolving benefits landscape and are increasingly relying on you to help them navigate it.1 If there was ever a time to stay connected with them, it is now.
1 Benefits Pro. "Broker evolution: are you ready?" Published January 10, 2022. Accessed 9.20.2022. https://www.benefitspro.com/2022/01/10/broker-evolution-are-you-ready/.
2 Intuit Quickbooks Blog. "6 keys to successful client relationship management." March 31, 2021. Accessed 9.20.2022. https://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/invoicing/relationship-management/.
3 Forbes Coaches Council. "16 perceived 'vulnerabilities' that can be reframed as strengths." May 20, 2022. Accessed 9.19.2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/05/20/16-perceived-vulnerabilities-that-can-be-reframed-as-strengths/?sh=427d577c16af..
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