Photo by Benjamin Rasmussen
When Benefits Selling launched eight-and-a-half years ago in the late spring of 2003, Rich Johnson graced the cover.
To say that he’s done all right since then might be considered something of an understatement.
“We’ve grown by nearly 300 percent in revenue and more than doubled our staff since that first article,” Johnson recalls. “More importantly, we’ve added significantly to our list of larger single-employer clients. This has significantly increased our revenue per client, which allows for greater profitability and continues to increase our referral base and our presence and image in the marketplace. The majority of our producer/consulting hires the past five years have come from major global broker/consultants (much like myself). They have found the entrepreneurial spirit and employee appreciation in our firm to be a refreshing departure from the larger firms.
“Personally, I’m finding more time (I take Fridays off) to enjoy some hobbies outside of work to keep me fresh. Now that our three adult children have left, my wife and I as empty nesters trek to our vacation home in Grand Lake most weekends where we enjoy numerous outdoor activities. You know the light is showing at the end of the tunnel when you start receiving industry career honors—last month I was honored to be the 2011 recipient of the Colorado Group Insurance Association Career Excellence Award.”
- Make good hires. We use a professional online assessment service to confirm we are placing the right people in the right seats. Taking our time and identifying “A” players in our recruiting has paid huge dividends in both client service and new business development.
- Invest in resources. We’ve identified our market sectors and key client needs and purchased resources and affiliations to augment our personal touch.
- Be a joiner. Our best clients come from referrals or as a result of relationships that develop by becoming involved in various organizations. We are in the people business and we need to stay in front of people, clients and prospects to maintain and grow.
- Make it fun. To be successful you have to love coming to work, to be with your co-workers and clients and do so in a light, low-stress environment. We place plenty enough stress on ourselves just keeping up with our clients and competitors, so it’s important to create an environment that’s positive, energetic and a culture that fosters teamwork and laughter.
- Share the wealth. We have what I believe to be the strongest producer incentive compensation formula in our marketplace. In addition we provide monthly updates to all staff on our financial progress and annual objectives. At year end, a percentage of profits go to back to the staff, as well as to charity.
- Create incredible client experiences. We exist because of our clients and every person in our office goes the extra mile to serve the needs of our clients. Our brand is measured by our client’s experience in working with our firm and our people.
- Value your relationships. Our image to our clients, prospects, competitors and our carrier partners are all critical to our success. We actively participate on carrier broker councils, make an effort to manage our relationships with our carrier markets and truly partner so when a tough renewal, or great prospect, or marketing opportunity or a service issue arises, we have a partner on the senior management team of the carrier that respects us and will work to make good business decisions.
- Know your place. Know your place and maintain a spirituality that keeps you humble.