[Brokers] Lead Generation 101 for Advisors When Selling Employee Benefits
As an employee benefits advisor or broker, lead generation can be one of the toughest parts of the job. Since Beneplan has stopped selling direct, we’d like to share our top six ways we were effective at generating leads.
Online Lead Generation Tools
- Your own network – LinkedIn
In 2019, we still find that the good old fashioned lead gen methods that insurance reps used a few decades ago are still effective. That means educating your own personal network of your skills and letting the magic happen from there.
Be patient and play the long game. Don’t harass or spam your network, but if you are asked about your career, find a way to subtly answer their questions while putting across who your typical clients are, and the types of problems you solve. Leave it at that and let your network reach out to you when they need help.
- Publishing your own content on a blog or website
People will be googling your name before meeting you, so make sure you are driving the discussion. You don’t want prospects finding random bits of information, and it doesn’t have to take much to control your own story and message. Set up a personal website, blog, or simply use existing platforms like Medium or LinkedIn to share your thoughts and expertise. Share that on your social platforms and let the search crawlers do their job.
Offline Lead Generation Methods for Benefits Brokers
Selling employee benefits packages and group health insurance is still a B2B sales play, so traditional offline lead gen methods still apply.
- Face to Face Events
Participate in industry trade-shows where your audience will be. Pitch the conference to be a speaker, run a workshop, moderate a panel, or request a booth. If your budget is the size of a shoestring, see if there are volunteer opportunities where you can build your network at the cost of your time. Or, call the organizers the month-of and ask if there are any last-minute cancellations for booths or sponsorships. You may be able to pick up a great location at a fraction of the price for a conference trying to fill an empty spot.
- Lunch & learns
Some brokers have found success by organizing complimentary lunch & learn seminars targeted at their target customer, in a location in their own backyard. For example, finding a co-speaker to share their expertise, booking a hotel room in a busy business district, and inviting all HR Managers in a 0.5km radius.
- Cold calling
Still one of the most effective methods, getting on the phone is probably the top method used by brokers today to prospect for leads. Getting past the gatekeeper can be hard, but persistence can pay off. Building a relationship with the prospect’s Executive Assistant or Office Manager will pay dividends when trying to book a meeting. The hardest part of cold calling is simply the execution – persistence is more important than perfecting your script.
I’ve seen the most intelligent, polished and professional brokers get out-sold by less sophisticated advisors simply because of persistence. Brokers who do not give up are rewarded for their efforts repeatedly.
- Direct Mail
How romantic is it to get a letter these days? People are drowning in email, compared to the tiny thrill of opening a hand-written letter. There are printing services that can recreate handwriting on a mass direct mailer, so you can personalize letters with a simple mail merge and an elegant handwriting font.
Purchase lists of prospects or build your own through LinkedIn and your developed network of warm leads. Type out your story on a plain 8.5×11 letter paper, add your stamp or addressed ad-mail, and sit back. We were always surprised at how effective this simple tool was.
- Centres of influence / referral networks
In B2B sales, setting up a referral network is extremely important and can pay dividends for years.
- Property & Casualty (P&C) insurance brokers
- Freelance Accountants and Bookkeepers
- CFO networks
- HR advisory centres (beware of HR services who have a licensed insurance agent on staff).
- Employment lawyers – stick to employer-side.
- Expense reduction consultants.
Like with all referral setups, make sure you build trust by treating all of their prospects with kid gloves. Give these leads the royal treatment to ensure the tap of referrals doesn’t get turned off. Make sure you’re rewarding these brokers by sending them a referral when it’s appropriate.
Finally, your own existing client base can be the best source for new leads. Do an exceptional job servicing your clients and you’ll find that the leads will start coming to you.