Prudential’s Sixth Annual Study of Employee Benefits finds that 40% of plan sponsors say the employee benefits decision-making process has changed in the past five years, with senior management being more involved. According to John DeLorenzo, SVP or Sales for Prudential Group Insurance, decisions are moving as high as the C-Suite. After interviewing more than 2,000 C-level executives at 500 companies during and before the recent recession, Nic Read, president and CEO of SalesLabs agrees, and thinks it will stay this way for at least four more years.
To land these higher level meetings, Read suggests identifying the gatekeepers to help get you an appointment. But certainly “cultivate multiple points of entry, and gauge who has “more influence than authority”. Pursue all options. Sam Fleet of AmWINS Group Benefits advises his sales staff to “never take a ‘no’ from somebody who can’t give you a ‘yes’”.
Sales representatives need to be more consultative and work with potential clients on a health care strategy:
- Bring solutions to problems. rather than spreadsheets.
- Give insights that provoke ideas.
- Commit the person to something at the end of the meeting that only they can do. Know what that commitment is and propose it before you walk out the door.
It’s clearly more important than ever for the sales consultant to be prepared and armed. We constantly tweak our data to deliver reports that show thought-provoking insights. I’d love to know if you’ve noticed this trend and how you’re responding to it.