The 18th annual BenefitsPRO BrokerExpo in Austin did not disappoint! From gaining industry insight to building deeper connections, there’s always fresh energy to take home to your business.
Today I'm sharing three stand-out themes from top brokers…
1. Always hustle
You can’t make it in the biz without bringing the hustle, right? Some winning strategies were shared by Erika Ensign, Bret Brummitt, Felipe Barganier and Brandon Scarborough in the Prospecting for New Business session. A couple of takeaways included attending events that target your key prospect profile and leveraging relationships by asking clients for referrals with their key vendor partners.
Plus, the Fast & Furious session hosted by Susan Combs is a definite fave every year. This year’s judges included Erika Ensign, Kim Perez, Nick Giacolone, and Masi Azizi. We heard creative ways to stand out and make your clients feel special from delivering cookies to dancing – hey, maybe you could even mix the two? Adding a stand-out element like this to your business acumen can create a winning combo.
And part of the hustle MUST include marketing, as Wendy Keneipp expertly led in her session, Filling the Pipeline: How to Combine Marketing & Prospecting for Success. Agencies who consistently partner prospecting efforts with multiple marketing activities will see success. Step one is being brave enough to evaluate your current marketing efforts and identify the gaps.
2. Celebrate others
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want” was a great quote from Cameron B. Cummins in The Habits of High Performing Advisors session. On the panel along with Cam were Ben Conner, Kimberly Eckelbarger and Josh Butler where some of the other advice included:
- Maintain a sense of urgency
- Develop influence
- Work on Emotional Intelligence
- Build confidence by knowing your strengths and weaknesses
- Be curious, not judgmental
- Collaborate with others on an aligned mission
- Create value in every meeting
Cheering one another on brings energy to all – and the perfect example is the BenefitsPRO Broker of the Year Panel. Big shout out to finalists Kimberly Eckelbarger, founder of Tropical Benefits, Elsa G.,VP of Insurance Services at PeopleStrategy, Braden Monaco, Partner at Blue Horizon Benefits, and Ami Shah, VP of National Accounts Corporate Synergies - and to this year’s winner Josh Butler, President of Butler Benefits and Consulting. Hearing stories from each of these leaders was inspiring, as was the genuine celebration from everyone in the room.
3. Choose growth
Three key ways leaders create growth include 1) investing time into relationships, 2) setting actionable goals to business vision and 3) making a commitment to continual learning.
Nancy Giacolone’s BEN talk included each of these aspects. Using illustrations from her experience as a motorcyclist, Nancy shared wisdom to move from the passenger seat to the driver’s seat in your business journey. Actionable takeaways included the importance of business community, being focused and well-prepared.
Various book recommendations sent me home with a great reading list including:
- How to Get a Meeting with Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing
- How to Grow Your Business Like a Weed: A Complete Strategy for Unstoppable Growth
- The Wedge: How to Stop Selling and Start Winning
- Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork
- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It
Finally, as I reflect on the entire week, the keynote from LeVar Burton rings true. Whether you knew him best from Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, or the PBS hallmark show Reading Rainbow, this statement hit home: It's not what happens to you, it's what you do with what happens.
Those in our industry live this out year after year, making pivots to deliver the best strategies and solutions to our clients in an ever-shifting landscape. That’s a group of rockstars (or as Eric Silverman would say “rockstars rockin”) that are truly committed to growth. Our freshbenies team is proud and grateful to partner with you. Keep rockin’!
Now it’s your turn! What were your top takeaways from this year’s Broker Expo? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.