With almost 28 million small businesses in the United States, the opportunity to sell health insurance to these small groups has the potential to elevate your business to unprecedented heights. While selling health insurance to small businesses can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, you should be aware that it comes with unique challenges.
Strategies that have worked for selling individual and family plans might not address the specific needs of small business owners. Small business owners must balance the financial viability of their organization with their desire to provide employees with access to affordable, quality healthcare. They have broader concerns for the long-term costs and have higher expectations for the return on their investment.
Getting in the door to speak with a small business owner is just the beginning. Consider new sales strategies that can help you approach these clients with insurance solution information and options they’ll value.
The Millennial-Generation of Small Business Owners
In general, small business owners with less than 50 employees are on limited budgets. Although they understand the value of offering healthcare coverage in order to attract highly qualified applicants and retain employees with increased productivity, they may be hesitant to commit.
Many new small business owners are considered part of the Millennial generation and are more than accustomed to handling the tasks and operations of a business on their own. They manage their own financials, marketing, and inventory online, and may not understand the importance of engaging an outside licensed sales agent who may provide important insight and guidance when it comes to small group health insurance plans.
Effective Sales Strategies
Keeping these factors in mind, you can design an approach to sell insurance to small businesses that will help your prospect develop confidence in your expertise and gain trust in your commitment to finding custom health insurance options that will meet their specific needs – and the needs of their employees.
Selling health insurance to small businesses? Start with the basics!
When interviewing candidates for an open position, many employers choose to ask, “Why do you want to work for us?” This question accomplishes a few things. It can demonstrate the applicants’ level of interest in the company and the amount of effort they’re willing to put in to prove they are the right person for that job. Well, the same reasoning applies when approaching a small business in the hopes of selling health insurance. Prove you are the right person to provide their health insurance solutions by doing your homework well in advance of your first contact.
Before you approach each individual prospect, learn as much as you can about the company in advance:
- Discover the owner’s name and history with the company
- Review the products and services sold
- Find out the number of employees, annual reported sales, and any recent growth spurt
- Review their website and social media to discover the culture of the company
Cold introductions don’t usually lead to successful sales calls or meetings. Try connecting with your prospects through social media and networking sites to “warm up” your first conversation. When you connect online, your prospect will, in turn, be introduced to your website and social media pages, so make sure your online presence reflects your brand and expertise professionally. This first impression should let prospective clients get acquainted with your knowledgeable and trusted team.
Reach small business owners effectively by promoting your insurance products and services in ways that Millennials will appreciate. Connecting online is especially important to younger business owners. Millennials born between 1981-2000 have the cumulative buying power of $200 billion and represent the new face of small business. Technology is an integral part of any small business owner’s life, but Millennials in particular rely on technology and innovation to drive their businesses. Your online presence and reputation will mean more to Millennials who understand the importance of good reviews, positive feedback, and client testimonials.
Your comprehensive health insurance website should include:
- Professional content and images appropriate for the products and services you offer
- Easy-to-navigate online tools, with 24/7 access to quotes, plan information, and frequently asked questions
- Updated, relevant information regarding healthcare news, industry alerts, and any changes in laws or regulations
- Efficient ways to contact you or your sales team through email, messaging, or chat capabilities
- Blogs, webinars, and client testimonials
It’s possible your first meeting with a small business owner may be via skype or video-conferencing. Be prepared and organized, but don’t come across as scripted. Your sincerity and integrity will be appreciated by small business owners who don’t want to hear a standard sales pitch. Instead, share your insights into how their business can benefit from providing their employees with access to health insurance they can afford and what makes you uniquely capable of providing those solutions.
3. Keep it short and sweet.
Small business owners are incredibly busy, so start by requesting a very short meeting. Assure your prospect that you won’t take any more than 15 minutes of their time – and be respectful of that limit. If explicitly invited to stay longer, then feel free to take advantage of the opportunity, but plan on keeping your conversation within the original requested timeframe.
With the research you’ve done prior to your meeting, you should now be prepared to listen and learn. Ask the right questions to find out what health insurance products and services this particular organization can benefit from. Acknowledge that their business will have its own unique challenges and culture to accommodate, and explain that your ultimate goal is to tailor a solution utilizing the right combination of services to target their specific goals and objectives. Finally, offer to create a custom insurance proposal to discuss at your next meeting.
Use your limited time wisely to establish a rapport with your prospective client, and find common ground. After all, you’re a small business owner too, and share the same entrepreneurial spirit. If you work with a larger sales team, leave them back at the office for your first meeting. You will accomplish more in a one-on-one conversation than you will in a formal, large-group presentation.
4. The Follow Up
Before you end your initial meeting, set up your next appointment. This follow-up meeting will give you the opportunity to build on the relationship. Consider what’s important to you as a small business owner, and apply it when closing a sale.
Bring case studies, client testimonials, and educational resources to establish your role as a trusted leader in the health insurance industry. Relate to their small business on a personal level – and explain what you can bring to the table that will help them evolve as a company. Prepare specific plan options and explain how they can benefit the organization and its employees. Emphasize the importance of partnership as you work together to create custom healthcare coverage solutions that will help the small business grow and succeed.
When it’s time to close the sale, integrate technology. The Millennial small business owner will expect online contract signing, quoting, billing, and more. Competing in the small business arena can be challenging, but rewarding. The considerable potential for increased revenue and brand expansion in successful small group sales may take new sales strategies and skills, but we’re here to help. Download and refer to The Roadmap To Small Group Insurance Sales to learn how to sell insurance solutions to small businesses successfully.