Monthly Archives: September 2014

There is a Ghost Lurking in the Benefits Broker World

There is a ghost lurking in the benefits broker world. Many brokers are chasing it. I hear about it all the time when speaking to brokers. Yet, nobody can find it. Many claim to have seen it. Others claim to be the ghost. But I have yet to find it.

Is there really a ghost or is it in everyone’s imagination? I have come to the conclusion that this ghost is not a ghost after all. It is an idea. It is how to be different. Brokers are looking for that one thing that when they go out to a prospect and say let me show you something, everyone will want it. Many, many brokers are looking for this “ghost”. And most are still searching. They are searching for this dream or hope to find that silver bullet – that one thing that will separate their firm from their competitors that few can find.

The vendors calling on brokers know they are looking for this ghost or silver bullet and they promise to have found it. “I got the silver bullet”‘ the vendors promise. “I have that one thing where if you partner with me your dreams will come true. Prospects will flock to you. Just sign here and give me $1500 per month.” I hear this claim all the time. And brokers call me up and say “What do you think of so and so?” I ask, what are you looking for? I get no answer. It’s like they are looking for some undetermined thing. They take the meeting with the vendor. They spend the hour and a half and see some demo. But they can’t tell me what they are looking for. It’s a ghost.

Some brokers think they found it. They show me some technology or claim to have some unique service. I look at the technology. I understand the service. But I don’t see the silver bullet. They have not found the ghost. They are paying the $1500 and have shut down their search because they have found it. Or at least they think so. They want me to say it is the silver bullet but it isn’t so I can’t. And the search goes on.

You see the ghost is not a Private Exchange, or some technology. It is not compliance alerts or wellness newsletters. It is not a HR Call Center or some web-based HR Library. The ghost is inside you. It is an idea yet to hatch because most are looking for someone else to deliver it. I personally believe there are many opportunities to be different. To rattle the market in a way where people will start talking. But it starts with the person in the mirror. So my message is stop chasing the ghost. The vendor that knocks on your door with that great idea is knocking on everyone’s door. There are big opportunities to make this benefits world better. But one must start on the inside and not out. As Mark Cuban once said, The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”