The First Prospect Meeting is a Discovery Process not a Sales Process.
Employers are willing to buy but no one wants to be Sold! Your goal is to assist them in buying a solution. In order to do this, you need to uncover a problem. Advisors should lead the discovery for the employer to make their own realizations.
Ask Good Questions, Wait and Listen to Employer's Wants and Needs.
1. What does your current benefits plan look like?
2. Who do you offer benefits to in your organization?
3. Why do you offer benefits? / What is the objective of the plan?
4. What is your budget for benefits?
5. When did you last meet with your broker/advisor/consultant?
6. What were their recent recommendations for your plan?
7. How do you evaluate the plan?
Intention of Questions:
1. Discover if there is an existing plan or if you'll need to quote a new plan. Find out the knowledge level of the decision maker regarding coverage and possibly learn the current provider(s) and advisor(s) involved.
2. Determine the hierarchy, are there divisions, classes, unions, executives or other complexities to navigate.
3. If there is an objective, what is that objective, and is the current plan or broker meeting it. Be mindful of their corporate philosophies as well as any short term urgencies like cost savings. Most employers will not have a solid answer here, so you can guide them to reasons such as offering competitive compensation, attracting and retaining key employees etc.
4. Again, most employers will not have an answer about a formal budget for benefits. This is a turning point in some discussions. They may reveal their renewal process and pricing sensitivity, or they may reveal their optimal state of coverage vs cost. Hopefully more sophisticated than the "the best plan for the best price". Provide them reassurance that this is something you can help establish by benchmarking with similar employers each year.
5. Does the employer know their current advisor and how frequently do they meets with them - annually at renewal or multiple times within the year. Determine when their renewal is, prospecting a client 2-3 months prior to renewal is a good potential trigger to engage employers. This may also reveal other decision makers who meet with the advisor and the organization's overall level of engagement with the incumbent firm.
6. What is the method of the current broker, do they negotiate at renewal, renew the current coverage year after year, market the plan annually, or offer value-added advice? If an employer cannot recall recent recommendations and the only focus was on quotes, try to reveal a topic that they are trying to solve, or a benefit they haven't been introduced to.
7. Is there an annual process with the advisor such as an annual advisory model the employer uses. Is the focus is on price or does it include evaluating coverage, surveying employees, or coverage alternatives. If they have not specifically evaluated coverage then there is an opening for this offer.
Following these questions, the Advisor can offer to demonstrate value by presenting how they evaluate plans using benchmarking. This will open the door to plan specifics, advice and hopefully an AOR!
The first four questions are to establish the status quo of the employer. while the last three are designed to get an overview of the advisor. These questions should reveal if this is a well-educated and well-serviced plan or an outdated and undermanaged plan.
During this discovery process the advisor will learn about the employers met and unmet needs. The Employer will also be forced to think critically about their benefits (perhaps for the first time) and open the door to an evaluation. The advisor will then be in a position to offer evaluation using benchmarking, plan audit, solution marketplace and more!
Please sign in to leave a comment.