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You are in the benefits business. Or maybe more on the financial or retirement plan side of employee benefits. The coronavirus pandemic affects everyone. You have likely been told to work from home. How can you efficiently use your time?

1. Make sure clients can find you: Clients and plan participants need answers. Although customer service numbers make sense, many people are accustomed to calling “my guy” when they need to know something. They call you. Do they know how to reach you when you aren’t in the office? Are your calls forwarded? Do you check voice mail frequently? How about e-mail?

2.When questions need answers: People don’t want to waste time. They will sit on musical hold if they are confident a human voice will eventually pick up and answer their question.

You know the questions people are likely to ask. Many might require “calling customer service.” at the plan provider. This is a good time to put together an e-mail with a few frequently asked questions and where to call for answers. Businesses and individuals will know you are anticipating their needs.

3. Which companies are reviewing provider relationships? Some of your business comes from competitive situations. Businesses and organizations send out RFPs. This can be anticipated in two ways:

  • The easiest is to look at competitive situations where you bid (and lost) over the past few years. The chances are good they are sticking to the same timetable.
  • The second is looking at the traditional public places where this information is posted. Many publications have online versions now. You can do research from home. You can also go directly to the organization’s website to see if they post that information. Plan to compete in some RFP situations.

4.LinkedIn connections. You want connections at companies where you do business or would like to do business. LinkedIn’s search feature allows you to scan within a company’s “people.”

You can see if there are 2nd level connections, places where you know people in common. You can also see third level connections. You can approach it from a different direction, scanning for a specific job title and seeing what comes back. Send out some personalized invitations to connect.

5. LinkedIn messaging. You have lots of connections. Some you know better than others. This isn’t an audience where you just push out posts, hoping they will see them in their feed –  engage with them on a business or personal level. Take advantage of the circumstances. Everyone is likely “working from home” and will give social media more attention than they do at work.

6. Prospects who fell through the cracks. Everyone has prospects like this. Maybe they weren’t ready to buy. They sent an e-mail that you somehow never saw until months later. They exchanged messages, then went silent. These prospects have something in common. They engaged with you before. How about building a list of people to contact when life returns to normal?

7. E-mail cleanup. I like to put things into folders. Cleaning up e-mails often means sending things to places, making the Inbox volume smaller.

Do you have an “Opportunity” folder? Others that you felt might be future business but you haven’t looked into developing? After cleaning up your e-mail in box, review those other folders, particularly those future opportunities.

8. Continuing education. It’s so obvious, it’s saved till last. You know it’s a requirement to keep your licenses current. You often wait to see what the firm will do to make it easy. But take it on yourself. Find what your professional organization offers. Sign up for online courses. Get it done while you have the time.

Consider the time you are spending at home as a gift. How are you going to spend it?

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.