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If you want to improve, you must change

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 10:37 AM

blog pic Why do so many salespeople refuse to learn new prospecting strategies and change sales tactics that don’t work? Change is the only way to grow and excel, so why not follow the path to the highest commissions, fastest closes, best meetings and most powerful relationships?

Much of this reticence comes from the fact that change feels uncomfortable. Change is hard. Change makes us vulnerable. We no longer have a clearly defined path. We’re not certain where our next steps will take us or exactly what to do when we get there.

Just as important, many sales leaders don’t know how to evaluate change, so they measure their reps on legacy activities — even when they know that change is essential to deliver significantly improved results.

Change starts at the top
In his amazing article “Do You Lead from the Top or Within?” businessman Ali Soheil offers an insightful perspective on what it takes for leaders in various industries to keep up with the pace of change in today’s quickly evolving business world. Put simply: To lead the effort for change in our organizations, we must first change how we lead.

“Only a small group of leaders truly understand and more importantly embrace good change management competencies. What most people talk about and label as change are in fact the antecedents not the change itself.”

Let me use a real-life example. A good friend of mine decided on a goal of losing some weight and getting healthy. He renovated his basement and bought some expensive exercise equipment and a fantastic sound system to stay motivated. Six months later, I asked how his training was coming along. He confessed he hadn’t done any.

This is a classic case of confusing the antecedent (obtaining the equipment) with the change itself. Change will not happen until behaviors change. Every antecedent is followed by encouraging or discouraging behaviors. In my friend’s case, the discouraging behaviors stemmed from a tired body at the end of the day, a couch, a bag of chips and his favorite TV show­ — things he had no plan to overcome.

As leaders, we make the same mistake every day. We get comfortable and declare a “win” too soon when all we’ve really done is introduce the antecedents. When you make changes which impact your customers or employees, you must take adequate time to understand the implications and plan for them. Otherwise you’ll have wasted your time and resources.


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/04/04/if-you-want-to-improve-you-must-change

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: success secrets, Sales Tips, Success Tips, sales advice

Effective Ways to Grow Insurance Business (infographic)

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 @ 04:54 PM

 

 


http://media.lifehealthpro.com/lifehealthpro/article/2015/04/13/grow-your...

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Building Client Relationships, insurance companies, Sales Leads

Medicare Advantage plans nab 1.25% raise for 2016

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Apr 09, 2015 @ 12:38 PM

blog pic The CMS said Monday that the benchmark payment rates for Medicare Advantage health plans will go up by 1.25% on average in 2016, a significant departure from the slight decrease the agency proposed in February.

When factoring in the expected growth of risk scores coded by insurers, payments will go up 3.25% on average, CMS officials said Monday.

However, in a defeat for the health insurance industry, the CMS held firm with its February proposal and will calculate 2016 Medicare Advantage risk-adjustment scores entirely under an updated model.

In February, the government said 2016 Medicare Advantage rates would decline 0.95% on average but would rise 1.05% when accounting for risk coding. Early reads of the CMS' 2016 final rate notice for Medicare Advantage plans (PDF) indicate health insurers at least got the higher rates they wanted after they hit the nation's capital with a six-week lobbying campaign—a campaign that drew bipartisan support in Congress.

“I think it looks like a win for the plans,” said Ipsita Smolinski, managing director of consulting firm Capitol Street and a former healthcare analyst on Wall Street. “It's not like CMS made any major policy changes. But nevertheless, it's good news for the Medicare Advantage plans and for seniors, who love the plans.”

Indeed, the rate reversal was not a change in policy, but “rather (a change) in the actuaries' estimated growth” of per capita Medicare fee-for-service spending, said Sean Cavanaugh, director of the CMS' Center for Medicare. Because more people are selecting Medicare Advantage plans instead of traditional Medicare, spending in the program is higher.

More than 17.3 million people are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, according to March data from the CMS. That represents about one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage membership has grown by more than 8% every year since 2010.

That large growth and continued popularity spurred the CMS to move ahead with a newer, more accurate version of its risk-adjustment model, Cavanaugh said.

Medicare Advantage plans use a risk-coding model to adjust for different demographics and conditions—known as hierarchical condition categories in industry parlance. Each beneficiary's health status incorporates those different categories to predict their future healthcare costs, and that risk score is then multiplied by the baseline rate to determine how much a plan will receive for a specific beneficiary.

Insurers are paid more to cover patients who are sicker and have more complications. For example, Medicare will pay a higher rate for an older beneficiary with colon cancer than a younger, relatively healthy senior.

But risk adjustment in the program has come under fire, as many healthcare companies have allegedly inflated the risk scores of their patients to garner higher Medicare payments.

The CMS has calculated the risk scores the past few years by blending old and new models. The hope is that transitioning to the new risk-adjustment model will weed out procedures and codes that are susceptible to fraud and abuse. And because Medicare Advantage operates in a capitated payment environment, insurers will still have an incentive to try and diagnose diseases and conditions early, Cavanaugh said.

“I am not surprised that the agency stuck to its guns on the new risk model,” Smolinski said. “Payment accuracy is of utmost importance to CMS, and Congress for that matter. Whether it's hospitals or plans or post-acute providers, the Medicare program has an obligation to make sure that federal dollars are not being spent wastefully or in a fraudulent manner.”

Health insurers, though, have slammed the new hierarchical condition categories, arguing they will hurt plans that treat the sickest seniors. A report sponsored by America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's lobbying group, said the new model will cut payments for members with chronic kidney disease by 23%.

The CMS also provided further guidance on provider directories and networks, saying health plans are expected to update their online provider directories in real time.

The 2016 payment rates mark the final year of reductions to benchmark rates mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA set out to lower payments to the Medicare Advantage program, which previously exceeded traditional Medicare payments by 14%. Now, Medicare Advantage plans are paid about 2% more, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (PDF).

UnitedHealth Group and Humana are the largest Medicare Advantage insurers. Each company covers more than 3 million members. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Aetna cover more than 1.1 million Medicare Advantage enrollees each.


http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150406/NEWS/150409925

 

Source: modernhealthcare.com

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage blog

Medicare Advantage Tops 17 Million Members

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Apr 02, 2015 @ 11:49 AM

blog pic More than 17.3 million people were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans as of March 2015. Year over year, total Medicare Advantage enrollment increased by more than 1.3 million as managed Medicare continues to be an attractive growth market for health insurance companies. The latest CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) reports indicate 54.3 million are eligible for Medicare in the United States and U.S. territories. Medicare Advantage (MA), with an unpenetrated market of 37 million and growing, is big business for many health plans. UnitedHealth and Humana lead the segment and each leader enrolls more than 3 million MA members. Kaiser Permanente and Aetna also command significant market share with more than 1.2 million MA enrolled.

This brief provides insights about competitive positioning in the Medicare Advantage market. We also assess market share for individually purchased versus employer-sponsored benefits and look at changes in Medicare Advantage plan type preferences.



Competitive Dynamics

Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment stands at 17.3 million, which represents an 8% increase year-over-year. Ten companies, each with more than 250,000 members, have a sizeable stake in this segment and collectively they provide coverage for 67% of the market. Per the reference table below, all leading MA companies realized growth from March 2014 to March 2015 except for Anthem and Highmark. The aggregate net gain for the leading companies, year-over-year, was 8.2% and segment growth for all other MA companies was on par.

UnitedHealth retains its position as the top Medicare Advantage organization in the country; with 3.4 million enrolled, UnitedHealth owns 20% of the market. Humana ranks a strong second with 18% share and 3.1 million lives. Kaiser Permanente is positioned as third on the leader board, enrolling 7.5% of the total market or 1.3 million. Aetna trails closely behind Kaiser Permanente owning 7.2% of the market and more than 1.2 million lives.



Each year, Medicare Advantage plans rely on February and March enrollment reports to not only evaluate their standing but also assess which competitors gained and lost members during the last AEP (Annual Election Period). The AEP occurs between October 15 and December 7 each year and is also referred to as the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.

This year, Humana experienced the largest gain in terms of membership, adding 369,747 members for a net gain of 13.2%. UnitedHealth's MA enrollment grew by 271,245 for a net gain of 8.5%. Aetna saw a net gain of 13.9%, adding 152,780 members to its MA book in the last year. Per the reference table below, membership gains were fairly substantial for other growth leaders in this segment, ranging from 83,365 for Kaiser Permanente to 32,729 for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The majority of people with Medicare Advantage purchased a plan directly from the company and this is referred to as individual or direct purchase enrollment. As of March 2015, about 82% (approximately 14 million) of MA membership was individual. This speaks to why plans invest considerable time to devise market and selling strategies in preparation for the AEP every year.

Only 18% of total MA membership (slightly more than 3 million) originated through an employer group health plan or retirement health benefit. Nonetheless, group membership grew by 6% year-over-year primarily driven by UnitedHealth plan gains. Some companies strategically target group MA business because employers are interested in the cost savings MA plans can offer. Note that 57% of Aetna's MA membership is through group plans. Though many employers are shifting away from providing retirement benefits, larger volumes of people retiring may continue to sustain group Medicare Advantage opportunities over the next few years.

It is important to note that individual and group enrollment counts are slightly lower than total segment enrollment due to different reporting requirements.

 


http://www.markfarrah.com/healthcare-business-strategy/Medicare-Advantage-Tops-17...

 

Source: markfarrah.com

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Tags: medicare advantage updates, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage News, medicare advantage enrollment,, ma enrollment,

5 things the fastest-growing insurance agencies have in common

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 10:24 AM

blog pic Insurance agencies are like snowflakes, no two are alike. However, after spending lots of time with agency owners in hyper-growth mode, I learned that there are several traits they have in common. Below are five that stand out, and duplicating these tips can help your firm become a high-performing agency.

  1. Culture - Top-performers have a culture that’s focused on production. When we talk about building a sales-focused culture, people often assume that we’re dismissing the importance of great service. This is not the case. In fact, agencies with the best sales culture tend to have the best service teams as well. Keep in mind: You can’t flip a switch to create a world-class sales culture. It takes communication, training, charisma and an owner that’s laser-focused on their people, processes and tools. You’re slow to hire and quick to fire but top performers love working in your agency. Not only are they growing professionally and personally, they’re having fun doing it. You’re a leader not a manager, and employees know that they have your support every day. Your attitude, not your aptitude will determine your altitude.

  2. Technology - Agents experiencing hyper-growth understand that technology can scale a business quicker than manual processes. When they invest in new technology it’s implemented properly and everyone in the agency buys in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen agents invest in the latest and greatest technology then expect it to be a magic bullet. Unfortunately, it sits on the proverbial shelf and collects dust because they can’t culturally adapt. It's not faith in technology, it’s faith in people.

  3. Sales & Marketing - Agency owners at the helm of fast-growing agencies view themselves as sales and marketing organizations that happen to offer insurance products. They’re active on social media, email marketing and have a top-notch website. They add to their pipeline with purchased leads and have a strategy for every prospect they encounter. They have a sales process that everyone in the agency follows and it’s reviewed in meetings, trained to new hires and most importantly, it works! The term “sales” isn’t a bad word but is embraced in the hyper-growth agency.

  4. Metrics - Agents that are growing know how many quotes they received today, yesterday, this week, last week, last quarter; well, you get the picture. They know how many sales, lines of business, premium and new commission is written, then celebrate when sales goals are reached or exceeded. They know how many cross-sells the service or sales team converted and chances are; bonuses are determined by these metrics. Whether they have 2, 20 or 200 people they know their teams closing ratios; which rep should get the next lead and have this data available in real-time. Agencies that are data-driven can turn dials, pull levers and make changes on the fly. This ensures a pipeline full of leads that are being distributed to the right person with the highest propensity to close. Stop guessing! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

  5. Change - How often have you looked at your agency and wondered what could’ve been? Change is a core principle that every agency owner needs to embrace or risks being left behind. Don’t be afraid, you can be whatever you want, but it’s not going to happen unless you change. The world completely changed outside of your agency, has it changed internally? Recruiting top talent, adopting a digital presence and developing a sales process for the connected consumer is key to your success. These are changes that need to be made if you want to not only survive, but thrive in 2015 and beyond. If you’re not changing, you’re dying. One of best things about our business is the ability to create whatever type of agency you choose. You’re unique and there’s nobody that can replicate what you do on a daily basis. You have a choice every day your feet hit the ground so maximize the opportunity and, lets get growing!

 


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/03/23/5-things-the-fastest-growing-insurance...

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: insurance companies, insurance similarities,, insurance company similarities,

How to become a person of influence

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 @ 12:05 PM

blog pic Influence. If you want to become your dream clients’ trusted advisor, you need to be able to influence them. You need people to believe you’re someone worth following, someone worth trusting, someone worth doing business with.

Think about the people who have been influential in your life. These people were honest and acted with integrity. They walked their talk. They had character. And they truly cared about you as a person. This is why you count them among the few individuals who had such a powerful influence over you.

Persuasion. Persuasion is something a little less than influence. It means you have to argue your case. You need to advise or urge someone to take action. To be sure, someone with influence may have to use persuasion at times.

Think about the last time someone persuaded you to do something. It’s likely he was someone with influence—but maybe not someone with so much influence that you’d unquestioningly follow his lead.

Coercion. Coercion is the use of force or intimidation to get someone to comply with your wishes. It includes the idea of manipulating someone. It indicates an imbalance in power. All force isn’t necessarily physical. With coercion, the force is psychological.

If you’ve ever been coerced into doing something, I bet you didn’t like it. People are never happy to be coerced.

When you look at the old-school tactics that salespeople use, they’re closer to coercion than influence. They’re no longer effective or useful to professional salespeople. Tactical things such as “tie downs” may still work, but destroying a relationship to win a transaction isn’t a good strategy for anyone playing the long game. Making people feel bad about their decisions and about you is never a good idea.

Be a person of influence. You want to be a person of influence. You want to be a person of character. The more influence you have, the less persuading you need to do.

If you’re in sales, you’re going to have to persuade your dream clients to take action. You are going to have to persuade them to see things through a new perceptual lens, to change their beliefs about what is possible. You won’t always have enough influence to help people without having to persuade them.

But if you are going to be a trusted advisor, you can never use coercion. You can never be manipulative. The application of psychological force is the strategy chosen by someone who doesn’t want to take the time to become a person of influence.


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/03/17/how-to-become-a-person-of-influence

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Sales Tips, sales advice, influence,

8 ways to successfully sell to seniors

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 @ 03:12 PM

blog pic Seniors are by far the fastest growing market segment in the United States. It’s also one of the most lucrative. According to the latest U.S. census, this demographic comprises 37 percent of the total U.S. population and will grow to 45 percent this year. Seniors also possess approximately $1.6 trillion of all the disposable income in the country and have a combined household net worth of around $19 trillion. They also spend a cool $7 billion online each year.

So it should be no secret then that insurance agents will find the senior population an attractive market to serve. The key to doing so successfully, though, is in the art of the sell. It’s going to take a bit of adjustment on the part of brokers. Their buying habits are different from the Gen X crowd and certainly Millennials, particularly when it comes to Medicare-related policies. Before you make your first call, be prepared to “be” the following eight things:

  1. Be more personable.
  2. Be a sounding board to their own ideas.
  3. Be focused on their quality of life.
  4. Be easy to work with.
  5. Be digital.
  6. Be cognizant of the emotions involved.
  7. Be there for life.
  8. Be a resource.

 


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/03/04/8-ways-to-successfully-sell-to-seniors...

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market, sales advice

7 ways to build trust online

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Mar 05, 2015 @ 05:21 PM

blog pic It’s easy to build trust when you have the opportunity to connect with customers in person. You can look into their eyes, read their expressions and interact on a personal level. Even on the phone, you can read a customer’s tone of voice and react accordingly. But building trust online is a different story—not necessarily more difficult, just different.

Certain companies have excelled at building trust online, such as Zappos, Apple and Sephora. They have been recognized in many surveys and studies as being among top online retailers. So how can you build trust online? Here are seven uncommon, common-sense ways:

  1. Remember that people do business with people. Even in the online world, where customers purchase through a website, that website is designed by people to be used by people. Make your site easy to navigate and simple to understand.
  2. Be accessible through multiple channels. In other words, you may have a great call center, but you should also have support available through the other channels, such as email, text, Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Make contact information available on each page. Make it easy for a customer to call, email or connect with you by repeating your contact information on each page of your website.
  4. Keep telephone hold times to a minimum. It can be frustrating for a customer to have to wait for extended periods of time. It sends a message that the company doesn’t care enough to staff properly. Consider technology that will let the customer know how long the wait time is and offer the option of an automatic callback.
  5. When a customer contacts you via social channels, respond quickly. Get back to your customer in minutes, not hours or days. If I wanted my question answered two hours from now, I would have waited two hours to ask it.
  6. Share social proof. Use testimonials from happy customers to help prove trust and increase customer confidence.
  7. Ask your customers to post online reviews. This shows that you’re confident you will deliver a great customer service experience and resolve any problems which may arise, resulting in a glowing review.

 


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2014/09/13/7-ways-to-build-trust-online

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Sales Tips, sales advice

The 5 biggest challenges agents are facing now

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 09:24 AM

blog pic Selling insurance is important but challenging work. In a competitive industry that’s changing rapidly, the obstacles are many. But knowledge is power, as they say, so in Retirement Advisor’s recent Advisor Survey we asked your peers to name these obstacles directly. The answers ran the gamut from specific product concerns to looming legislation worries to straightforward sales hurdles that would resonate equally with those who sell houses or medical equipment or tax planning advice.

Following are the five obstacles that independent insurance agents say are the most significant they’ll face this year, along with suggestions for how to meet them head-on.

  1. Lead generation (50.59%)
  2. The economy (44.71%)
  3. Health care reform (35.29%)
  4. Industry legislation (20.0%)
  5. Cap rates on indexed annuities (20.0%)

 


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/02/25/the-5-biggest-challenges-agents-are-facing...

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: health care reform, Sales Leads, sales advice

Do you want a happy client?

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 03:01 PM

blog pic Years ago, when I had just launched my speaking career, a friend shared the concept of the sold (and thereafter abused) customer with me. Now, the word abused may be a bit strong, but his point was well taken. For many customers, the pre-purchase experience is vastly superior to the post-purchase experience.

My belief is that customer service starts the moment the customer even thinks about doing business with you. Customer service isn’t just what happens after the sale, it’s also what happens leading up to the sale. And once it starts, it should continue through the entire life of your relationship with the customer.

Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing sales expert Joey Coleman present a speech on the “first 100 days.” This refers to the first 100 days after a customer pays for whatever you sell. The period of time between when the customer decides to buy from you and when he receives your product or service is when he is most likely to question his purchase. During this period, the customer may come to feel abused or neglected.

For example, you may have bought something on a website which took take several days or longer to arrive. Or you may have signed a contract to build a home but been forced to wait months before construction began. Coleman posits that your best opportunity for customer loyalty comes during these first 100 days. Of course, you need to manage the long-term experience, but this initial period is crucial.

The idea of the first 100 days is to create as many touch points as possible, which will enhance the experience for your customer. This is known as proactive customer service and it is the best recipe for customer loyalty.

So take your already-great customer service up a level by adding intentional customer interactions which will confirm in your customer’s mind that she has made the right decision to do business with you.


http://www.lifehealthpro.com/2015/02/16/do-you-want-a-happy-client

 

Source: lifehealthpro.com

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Tags: Customer Retention, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships

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