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The business landscape has changed drastically in the last six months, and more change is on the horizon. As year-end reviews and budgeting sessions arrive, more business leaders and HR managers are under pressure to meet budgetary goals and retain key staff members.

This situation could lead to increased scrutiny of benefits programs. Benefits have shifted a lot in recent years, but changes to the business landscape have increased the need to update benefits programs.

Underperforming programs will be on the chopping block as businesses try to pare back their budgets. Questions about what employees really want will be front and centre.

What can you do as a group benefit advisor to help your clients in this increasingly challenging landscape? As it turns out, there are plenty of things that valuable group benefits advisors are already offering their clients.

Understand Your Clients’ Industry

The first step in providing more value is to make sure you understand each client’s industry. The business landscape has changed radically in the last six months, but not every industry has faced the same outcomes.

Take, for example, the hotel industry. On the whole, travel and tourism has plummeted this year, and the trend seems likely to continue. Hotels in many areas are struggling. Budget cuts, staff layoffs, and more are likely here.

A contrast would be a company that offers virtual conferencing services. Their business has likely boomed. They’re looking to find better talent and keep their star employees. They want to be cautious, but they have bigger budgets than ever.

A hotel client and the virtual conferencing services company need vastly different things this year.

Even within industries, there may be differences. Some restaurants have had to permanently close, while others have navigated a shift to takeout and delivery. Some parts of the healthcare industry are booming, while others might be facing a downturn.

Having a solid understanding of your clients’ industries, their niches, and more will help you provide the right advice both now and in the future.

Listen to Your Clients

Great group benefits advisors must listen to their clients. This goes hand in hand with understanding their industry and their individual needs.

You may know industry trends or even trends in benefits, but your client could have different insights on the ground. Listen to what they’re saying. They might tell you that their employees are struggling with mental health more than anything else, so offering catastrophic health insurance may not be their most-desired benefit.

By listening to your clients, you’ll develop a better understanding of their needs and how to meet them.

Provide Tools That Make Sense

If your client is talking about making benefits claims easier for their employees, you’ll want to provide a tool that does just that. If they want to gain deeper data insights, you should suggest a tool like a human resources information system.

If the client is concerned about offering more flexible benefits, you don’t want to offer traditional benefits platforms. Taking a different approach and offering different tools will better support this client.

All the listening and research you did in steps 1 and 2 will help you make better suggestions for each client. Offering tools that address their concerns and fit their needs will help you offer more value.

Think about Adding Value, Not Increasing Premiums

It may be tempting to increase premiums, especially if your client list is pared down or certain areas are increasing their fees.

Instead of increasing premiums, though, think more about what you can do to add value for your clients. Is there a way to give them more and address their concerns, without sending their premiums sky-high?

This tactic will help you keep more of your current clientele, even in a tough environment. By adding value, you’ll show both your worth as an advisor and your concern for helping your clients succeed.

Advisors Must Be Ready for the Challenge

This year more than ever, group advisors will need to prove their value to their clients. With these tips, you should be able to do not just that but provide more value and support for your clients as well.

Interested in learning more about what you can do to better support your clients? Discover more helpful and insightful articles from our team. With the right advice, you can help your clients achieve success.

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Mario Malatesta

With experience in the financial services industry and the group benefits industry, Mario Malatesta founded GroupQuest Benefits Resources Inc with just his business partner. Today, GroupQuest is a leading Group MGA in Canada with about $150M of group insurance premium in force and a support team of over 35 staff members including: renewal, marketing, sales, and service support teams. GroupQuest has offices in Vancouver, BC and Calgary, AB, as well as a head office in Mississauga, ON.   Mario is married with two children (twins). He enjoys many different sports and travelling with his family.

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