In this article published in the July 27, 2018 issue of BenefitsPRO, Sutter Health Plus Vice President of Sales Rob Carnaroli explains how brokers can use technology to better connect with clients.
For today’s consumers, technology has transformed convenience from luxury to necessity. Round-the-clock service is expected for most aspects of life—from grocery shopping to buying a new car.
To stay competitive in our digital environment, brokers should embrace technology as a way to build relationships and demonstrate expertise.
Utilize Multiple Platforms
Brokers should focus on digital methods that are client-centric. Technology that creates convenience for those you serve is common: Mobile applications are second nature now and allow for convenience and ease of use. Secure cloud technology creates safer and convenient data sharing (and less clutter around the office). Automated workflows reduce time sorting papers and scrolling through documents. Their true value lies in creating more time to communicate with your clients.
Social media is also an excellent outreach and promotion tool. Use LinkedIn to let potential clients review your credentials and read client testimonials. LinkedIn can also be a great platform for sharing professional articles and tips. Twitter is ideal for sharing timely health plan news and updates and re-tweeting helpful links.
Still the most popular consumer platform, Facebook can help connect you with potential clients, humanize the broker-client relationship, recognize your colleagues for achievements, generate discussion and tell your brand story. By seeking out clients where they spend their time on social media, you can open multiple lines of communication.
Email is the business world’s most ubiquitous form of communication. In addition to sending your clients quarterly or monthly e-newsletters via email, consider sending personalized emails as reminders for important events such as open enrollment or changing regulations.
Creating and sharing original content through blog posts and short videos illustrates broker expertise, attracts prospective clients, and delivers added value to existing customers. This brings a unique perspective to your clients that they may not get from an industry publication. It also gives the opportunity for much-needed two-way dialogue. The result can be powerful in attracting prospects and retaining customers.
Regardless of the platform, it’s important to always position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. Stay up-to-date on legislative changes, marketplace developments, and even the seemingly small, barely noticeable nuances in the healthcare industry—and then share these insights with your clients. As an example, a recent decision by the federal government to suspend the risk adjustment program drew national media coverage. This provided a great opportunity for savvy brokers to send an urgent communication to their clients to let them know they were monitoring the situation and would keep them apprised of any impacts to their business.
An important distinction is what separates “expertise” from “information.” The two aren’t one in the same, after all. While the internet houses vast expanses of content, ask yourself: how reliable and truthful is all that information? Providing expertise is a craft. It involves demonstrating a unique ability to drown out the noise and apply information in the context of market trends and your clients’ needs. Always take pride in the expertise you give to clients.
Much of your success hinges on creating trusting relationships with your clients. For years, brokers earned business based on the relationships they built—whether it be at dinner, on the golf course, or in the office. While the same is true today, relationship building can extend beyond the traditional settings to the latest online offerings. Digital tools offer additional opportunities to demonstrate your expertise, reach new audiences, and engage with existing clients.
Some brokers unfairly view digital tools as either useless or a threat to their business. On the contrary, technology provides a valuable supplement to the unique work—the human element—brokers provide to clients.
Vice President of Sales, Sutter Health Plus | LinkedIn