Some might believe being a good salesperson is all about talking, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually all about listening to the customer. I’ve found that a great challenge of working in voluntary benefits is that one-size-fits all solutions don’t exist. Each customer comes with their own set of needs, wants and challenges, and you need to adjust your approach based on the client. And this requires listening.

As part of our ongoing efforts to listen to customers, we partnered with an independent research firm and surveyed more than 200 employers to understand what drives purchasing behavior for voluntary benefits. I believe what we heard was insightful and would strongly consider it as you evaluate whether to sell voluntary benefits.  Here’s a look:

1. 83 percent of employees with healthcare coverage and no voluntary benefits say they’re open to enrolling in voluntary benefits through their employer – and they don’t expect their employer to pay for them. 

The benefits that insurance provides to employees and their families are easy to sell. Who wouldn’t want more financial security and peace of mind? Who wouldn’t want support during a difficult time in their life? Who wouldn’t readily accept a check when others are sending bills for services?  As with any purchase, however, those benefits come with a price, which begs the question: Will consumers pay for it? In this case, the proof is in the pudding. According to our research, employees want voluntary benefits and are willing to pay for them.

For employers, voluntary benefits are a win as well. Offering voluntary benefits is an opportunity for employers to help soften the shifts that are occurring with some of their health care costs to the employee. Our research shows that employees not only want voluntary benefits, they expect to pay for it themselves. In fact, employees appreciate being offered voluntary benefits, as evidenced by our next finding…

2. 87 percent of employees in companies offering voluntary benefits feel they matter to their employers because of those benefits. 

In recent years, employers have focused more and more on creating a positive workplace environment for employees. Studies have shown the link between an engaged, loyal workforce and greater productivity, as well as enhanced employee loyalty. As the finding demonstrates, offering voluntary benefits helps create a positive workplace atmosphere by helping employees feel like they matter in their workplace.

Helping employees feel valued in the workplace is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to voluntary benefits’ impact on creating a strong corporate culture. A voluntary benefits enrollment can also be used as a platform to address important company messages or initiatives, such as 401(k) participation or a well-being program to continue enhancing a healthy workspace. Further, the financial protection from voluntary benefits helps put employees and their families at ease and allows them to focus on their work, rather than their financial burdens.

3. Finally, 62 percent of employees under 50 years old wouldn’t consider taking a job that doesn’t offer voluntary benefits. 

Young workers are your best indicator of what the future holds, and a majority of them don’t see voluntary benefits as just a nice added perk; they consider them a requirement. The flexibility and customization that voluntary benefits offer is a necessity for many of today’s young workers. Thus, familiarity with the world of voluntary benefits will be crucial for brokers looking to help their clients attract young talent

The upward trend of voluntary benefit sales over the past few years is well-documented. But it’s much more difficult projecting what’s to come. The statistics, however, don’t lie. As evidenced by our research, employees expect voluntary benefits, and they’re happy to pay for it themselves. Further, voluntary benefits offer options for building a positive workplace now and in the future. While there’s no one single path to success, what’s clear from listening to the market is that the future of voluntary benefit sales is bright.