Why ASCEND?

Why ASCEND?

NLG & SC LabeledTo fill a huge void in the employee benefits industry, Nelson Griswold and Scott Cantrell, authors of the industry bestselling book, DO or DIE: Reinventing Your Benefits Agency for Post-Reform Success, and our influential Host Committee are hosting ASCEND – The Agency Growth & Leadership Summit.

In the face of the industry disruption created by ACA, the top independent employee benefit firms in the U.S. have found ways to remain relevant, profitable, independent, and growing.

If you want to discover their secrets from the leaders themselves, plan now to attend ASCEND.

Designed by & for owners of employee benefits firms, ASCEND is like no other industry event you’ve ever attended. If you want to experience a truly interactive, collaborative experience with the most progressive & innovative agency leaders while discovering agency growth strategies & honing your leadership skills, you want to attend ASCEND.

Other industry events do a great job covering products, plan design, ACA, regulatory updates, compliance, and other technical issues. But these topics, while important, won’t grow your business. ASCEND is committed to your business growth…with tactics and strategies that will grow your firm in the face of healthcare reform.

The purpose of ASCEND is to connect the most innovative, progressive & successful leaders of employee benefits firms from across the U.S. along with the top thought leaders and subject matter experts in the areas of agency growth, leadership & business-building strategies.

The goals of ASCEND are to build a national network of agency leaders, support mastery of growth strategies & tools, foster leadership development, and create a progressive culture of innovation and cooperation in the industry.

Agency leaders and the employee benefits industry desperately need a high-level event exclusively for independent benefits agency owners and practice leaders to provide them with the real-world strategies, best practices, tools, and peer relationships they need to ensure their continued success in the post-reform market.

DO or DIE 6 x 9 - 3D mockup tilt - SMThe organizing theme of ASCEND is the four key areas of agency growth identified in DO or DIE:

  • Portfolio – The toolbox of solutions you bring to your clients;
  • Marketing – Telling clients & prospects about your solutions to attract qualified prospects;
  • Selling – The consultative process of converting prospects into clients to deliver value; and
  • Management – Managing sales & operations to maximize top-line revenue & profit.

Growth & Leadership

With the massive disruption facing our industry, agency leaders need to know both how to grow their business and also how to effectively lead their firm and their team through the challenge of implementing change. ASCEND programming will feature both proven growth strategies and critical leadership skills. Attendees will receive guidance around key agency leadership issues such as strategic planning, hiring producers and staff, sales management, creating a sales culture, building an effective marketing program, succession planning, leveraging technology, compensation structures, and more.

Anti-Conference1

The “Anti-Conference”

With no need to recreate the Benefits Selling Expo, NAHU National Convention, or one of the excellent EBA/Source Media conferences, ASCEND will provide a unique and highly valuable experience to attendees, unlike any other conference or event currently available to industry leaders.

Specifically, ASCEND will be unique in several other specific ways:

Outcomes Focus – First, ASCEND will be driven by and focused exclusively on agency outcomes. While all other industry conferences are concerned primarily with inputs – the content and speakers presented – ASCEND is dedicated to generating positive outcomes in the attending firms. The format and content will be designed to help benefits agency leaders drive change in their firm to create a reform-proof agency and sustainable growth.

Business-Building Programming – Unlike all other industry events, ASCEND is NOT about products & services, plan design, compliance, or ACA. Instead, this event is focused on helping agency leaders identify specific, proven strategies for creating a reform-proof firm, attracting new business, and leading a more efficient, effective, and profitable agency.

High-Level Interaction – While other events expect you to sit, listen and maybe take some notes, Summit attendees will be active participants throughout the entire event, working on designing and developing strategies and tools their firms can immediately leverage for growth. Every attendee also will participate in peer-exchange roundtable discussions to collaborate and share best practices, growth strategies, and other valuable information.

Exclusivity & Networking – Attendance will be strictly limited to benefits agency owners, principals & benefits practice leaders. And attendees must apply to attend. Thus, every single participant will be a highly qualified peer, making the event a uniquely valuable opportunity to learn what is working at other top firms and to build a national network of high-performing agency leaders. Additionally, attendees will receive a listing of all attendees with their top areas of expertise and top areas of need, to facilitate networking and building a national peer network.

Instead of the typical “sit still & listen” lecture approach, ASCEND will feature three unique types of sessions:

  • Sessions that combine guidance & insight from top experts with step-by-step
    implementation plans & tools in a hands-on workshop setting to start the attendees on
    the path to implementing the key strategies that will help them grow their business;
  • Highly interactive peer-exchange roundtable sessions for attendees to share & discover
    successful strategies and best practices; and
  • Topic-specific roundtable discussions led by industry thought leaders who will answer questions and provide custom insight to attendees.

Valuable Deliverables

At other conferences, attendees usually leave with, at most, some scribbled notes. At ASCEND, attendees will receive actionable strategies, easy-to-implement tactics and ready-to-use tools so they can implement the strategies quickly upon returning home. In each session, attendees will be provided with step-by-step tactics as well as implementation checklists, templates and other tools to ensure they not only understand the concepts and information but also so they can implement them quickly and begin seeing the returns of their efforts.
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GuaranteeThe ASCEND Performance Guarantee

Attendees also receive the benefit of the complete 100% Money-Back ASCEND Performance Guarantee. You are guaranteed the value of the business-building information & growth strategies and the overall experience at ASCEND.

If an attendee believes that he or she has not received value equivalent to or surpassing their investment by the end of the first day of the Summit (Friday January 22, 2016), we will refund the entire registration investment PLUS $500 for travel expenses. And after leaving the conference, he or she can enjoy the rest of the weekend enjoying Nashville.

No other industry event offers any such guarantee, but there is so much confidence in the value that will be delivered at ASCEND that the organizers are happy to “put their money where their mouth is.”

Simply put, there is no risk to attend ASCEND – you either get value equal to or greater than expected, or you get your investment back.