This week we’re getting to know Sarah Mark of CapriCMW.
What inspired you to join the benefits industry?
I started my career in Insurance back in 2008 on the individual side of things and during that time I realized that I have a passion for helping individuals understand insurance and its complexities so they can make their own educated decision on which insurance best suits their needs. After a couple of years, I ventured onto helping small business owners in the same manner by providing payroll and HR advice to help streamline their operations so they could have a greater ROI for their business. I spent a good 7 years of my career learning the ins and outs of group benefits – how to create attractive plan designs, keeping informed on current trends in the industry, understanding the renewal process from a wholesaler perspective, and learning from other Advisors on their best sales practices which gave me enough confidence to make the switch and become a Benefits Advisor with CapriCMW.
Who is your mentor?
One mentor I aspire to be like is Chantell Arsenault. She always has a positive attitude and is always looking out for the best interests of her clients which aligns with my core values. She takes the time to understand her client’s needs and will go to bat for her clients; as she has no fear going to the Carriers and making requests to ensure that her client is well taken care of.
What is something that people do not know about you?
I am a huge Disney Fan and have visited Disney over 34x – I’ve only made it to Disney HK, Paris, California, Florida – so it is still on my list to visit Disney Tokyo, Disney Shanghai, and go on the Disney cruise!
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned in the business to date?
No deal is too small or too big. A prospect with a low premium may appear to be a small deal, but you never know where or how that prospect can influence future opportunities – ie: their company may grow in size, they may refer you to their circles of influence, etc.
Do you have insights about the industry that you would like to share? Thoughts about the future of our Industry?
As a result of the pandemic, we are really seeing a shift in employee’s mindsets on what they value from their employer which traditionally in the past was purely compensation. Employees are willing to earn less income for greater flexibility, whether that means they are being offered flex hours or the ability to have a hybrid work schedule where they can work partially work-from-home. We are seeing tech companies who have experienced significant growth during the pandemic eager to hire top talent by offering unlimited vacation days; and while it may seem like a wild idea – Millennials value choice. In recent studies of other firms who have offered this, their employees’ average vacation taken was actually less than 15 days…so just because Millennials value choice, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be abusing the options provided to them. Currently, 52% of employees are planning to look for a new job and 1 in 4 employees plan to resign when the pandemic subsides – as we are shifting into a candidate’s market – it’s important for employers to review their current benefits offering as part of their total compensation for attracting and retaining top talent.
What’s a tip that you could give to someone interested in becoming an advisor?
There are many advisors entering the industry nowadays and if you want to come in here and be successful… I would look at choosing a couple of industries that you are passionate about and pursue those opportunities! Your passion will shine through when you are speaking with prospects and by keeping your focus narrow – you can become an “expert” in that industry and have different speaking points to your prospects versus trying to juggle all types of clients in varying industries. We’re in a relationship business, so as you grow your book in that industry – your name and brand will also grow in that industry as your own clients will help refer their colleagues and industry peers to you to help them with their benefits as well!
What is something that you wish employers knew about running a successful benefits program?
Sadly, most plan designs are set up and experience few to minor changes since inception – In my opinion, employers should be reviewing their plan design annually with their Benefit Advisors so their plan is tailored and customized towards their current demographics of their group. Gen-Xer’s, Millenials, and Gen-Zer’s all have different perceptions about their benefits plan and what they view as a “valuable” plan. Your Benefits Advisor should organize an employee survey on your current benefits and help revamp your benefits to have a successful benefits program in place for attracting and retaining top talent.