As someone who worked closely with brokers for 17 years, I know what the enrollment season grind feels like, and I totally get the desire to catch your breath when it’s over.
However, if you spend your entire January in recovery mode, you’re wasting a huge chance to get a leg up on your competition and deliver more value to your existing clients.
So, if I may be so bold…here are four simple tasks I’d suggest you tackle in the first four weeks of the year to get ahead of the curve.
#1. Brainstorm ways to make next year’s Q4 less stressful and more effective
The key to squeezing more revenue out of your busiest time of the year isn’t necessarily working harder, it’s working smarter. So while your experience of 2017 OE is still fresh, think about strategy or technology changes that could both boost your productivity and lower your blood pressure for OE 2018.
(Free tip: a good benefits decision support tool like ALEX can help reduce (or outright eliminate) the need for you to lead your clients’ on-site benefits presentations. If not having to travel all over the joint during your busy OE sounds appealing, I’d encourage you to check it out.)
#2. Deliver an open enrollment summary to every client
If you helped move the needle for your clients this past open enrollment, January is the time to remind them.
One of the best ways to demonstrate your value is to create a stewardship report that:
- Reminds everyone what the year’s goals were
- Lists out how money was spent
- Presents data on how goals were met—or missed (and what you think could help turn that around)
Email this report to your clients, then schedule a meeting to go over it with them before the end of the month. Having something concrete to refer to will make for a more productive conversation and serve as a great jumping-off point when you start talking OE strategy again later in the year.
#3. Empower your clients’ employees to make smarter health-care buying decisions all year long
Let’s face it: by the time it’s time to actually use their plans in the new plan year, most employees have forgotten everything they kinda-sorta learned during open enrollment.
In other words, January is absolutely not the time to go radio-silent on the benefits communication front. Instead, curate some links to useful advice on how employees can save time and money on health care throughout the year—and share it with your clients to pass on.
For free advice and a communication schedule, download our eBook—the ALEX Guide to Epic HDHP & HSA Communications. Or—if you want something even more engaging and targeted—offer your clients explainer tools that’ll do the heavy lifting for them (I humbly suggest our ALEX on Making the Most of Your Plan videos and FAQs).
#4. Block off time every week to demo new HR tech
It’s one thing to tell your clients you’re a cutting-edge benefits consultant; it’s another to roll up your sleeves and do the homework.
So as you’re reviewing your clients’ situations this month, make a note of they could use the most technology help, then ask for product demos in those areas to get acquainted with the space. Just an hour a week can go a long way. Heck, you might get so addicted to learning new stuff, you’ll stay in the habit all year long!
If you’re not sure where to start, download our handy eBook—the Ultimate Guide to Getting the Right HR Tech for Your Company.
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