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Don't hoard toilet paper or good ideas 💡

firm operations sales Mar 18, 2020

I'm checking in from the Bay Area where I'm "staying-in-place" for at least three weeks with the husband, kids (21 & 16) and 2 foster puppies.

We're already discussing the "family tattoo" we're each getting at the end of this adventure. Suggestions? 

I've been trying to decide whether to work or sanitize our canned goods. 🤷‍♀️Do people really need an update from the BenefitsLady in the midst of this chaos? I've rewritten this 10 times the last few days.

Here's my current thinking. Your clients are stressed. My clients are stressed. There are things we can do and offer that will help others. We shouldn’t hoard toilet paper or our talents. Now is the time to crowdsource ideas and positive energy in the employee benefits community.

It will be different, but let’s stay engaged and connected.

This morning I caught up with an industry friend for an hour for a casual Zoom coffee. I’m looking at my calendar and scheduling connections with people who positively impact my energy.

Interested in a virtual (casual) chat? 

Whether you’re a broker or benefits solution, leader or individual contributor, let’s schedule something over coffee or a cocktail. I’d like to know what’s on your mind. Let me know if you’d like the foster puppies included.

This is getting long. It’s therapeutic for me to download my thoughts and it’s keeping me from stress snacking.

We've been discussing strategic planning and paying attention to our TTFR: Thinking To Formatting Ratio.  

What’s the most important thing right now? Understanding how a screeching halt to the economy is going to impact your client’s business. What can you do to bring certainty and order to this chaotic environment? Being a reliable business partner and clear communicator has never been more important.

For commercial clients in the employee benefits world, it doesn't appear the cost of care is going to be our biggest Coronavirus issue. Initial testing estimates are between $50-99 and tragically the patients most likely to require significant treatment will be in the Medicare population. 

Watching the entire Bay Area shut down reminds me of my early Practice Leader days in the financial crisis in 2008. On my mind from downturns past?

  • Irrespective of what work force modifications are called (termination, work stoppage, furlough, voluntary leave or layoff), clients often don't understand their contract terms and what options they have to continue benefits coverage. This morning Marriott announced they were furloughing employees, without pay, but keeping them on benefits. For how long? Not clear.
  • The same client that was asking for perks & conveniences last month may need to change their plan midyear to preserve jobs. If they need to shave 20% off their benefits budget by July 1st, what levers can they pull?
  • Requests for fee decreases, premium holidays or waivers on outstanding invoices are coming. As an organization, get thinking about your approval process to minimize stress for your teams that want to serve their clients.
  • Consider extending services & resources beyond existing service agreements & current clients. My inaugural 6-month Account Executive Academy was going to wrap up at the end March. I’ve extended it through May (at least) so the group can collaborate in this uncertain time. I think I need them as much as they may need me.

We’re all reeling with the surprises of the past week. Let’s prioritize preparation for the downstream economic impact this event is going to have on our clients and harness the power of our community.

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