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Offering real-time news headlines on our blog allows us to provide you with greater value in two ways. First, you get daily headlines regarding your customers, so we encourage you to revisit this blog often. We know that many of your clients view you as advisors, and as such it would benefit your business to know the current issues that are affecting them from politics to health. Such knowledge can provide you with a great ice-breaker when making cold-calls or that one last answer they need before deciding to work with you.
Second, the partnership allows us to focus this weekly blog on bringing you the right business strategies and marketing techniques that will help you grow your business. If there is a certain business topic that you want to know more about (e.g. phone sales techniques), shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to research and report on the topic right here on this blog. Of course I won’t be able to do every suggestion, but I’ll definitely explore subjects that are of concern to the majority of this audience.
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New Senate Bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid introduced a health-care reform bill on Wednesday that would extend health insurance to more than 30 million Americans at a cost of $849 billion over 10 years. Mr. Reid claims that the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $127 billion over the next 10 years and by over $600 billion in the following decade. Republicans have promised to block the bill by threatening a filibuster. To avoid this, Mr. Reid needs 60 votes (of 100 total) to get the bill to a debate. The vote will be held this Saturday. (source: CNN)
House Cancels Medicare Pay Cuts: The House voted on Thursday to cancel a 21% pay cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients. The bill was passed mostly along party lines with a vote of 243-184. Republicans are furious, alleging that the passage is political quid pro quo for AMA backing the House health care reform bill. Republicans also state that the $210 billion cost of the bill is not offset by other spending cuts or tax increases. With the Senate already rejecting a similar bill, what happens next is anyone’s guess. (source: NPR)
Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information
Whether your business has existed for five months or fifty years, organizational brand management is vital to the ongoing growth and success of your organization. Despite its importance, you’d be surprised at the amount of neglect this aspect of business management receives. Great brand management has many benefits including:
• Appear “bigger” than you really are and/or better than the competition
On the flip side, poor brand management can be very detrimental to your business:
• You appear incompetent and/or inferior to the competition
Though at first it may not appear that you have much control over what other people think of your organization, there are many factors (conditions or acts) that you can control or at the very least influence to continuously improve your personal or organization brand. Here are five effective methods that we recommend for enhancing your brand.
1. Write a brand management plan: Before you can manage your brand, you need to know what you are managing. Take time to gather your leaders and determine what branding goals you want to accomplish. Some things to think about include “What is our identity?” “What do we want to specialize in?” “Do we want to be seen as an innovator?” Your plan doesn’t have to be an encyclopedia, just enough to get the point across throughout your organization. I like the old saying that says “If it’s not worth writing down, it’s not worth doing.”
2. Go beyond selling: In the process of marketing and selling to as many people as possible, many organizations forget the true value of the selling – improving the situation of the customer. Yes we all have numbers to hit, but that should not come at the expense of the long-term growth of your organization. Improving the situation of the customer not only means bringing them better products, but also providing excellent support of those products, educating your customers on how to further improve their situations, and getting to know their motivations (family, money, security).
3. Don’t brand based on price: O.K., so many of you may think this is ignoring marketplace realities, however hear me out for a second. Basing your brand on price alone is self-defeating primarily because in the race to the bottom, someone will always beat you there. Of course there are cases where you have to revert to the lowest price, just don’t make it a habit. Focus your marketing on your organization’s or product’s advantages, that way when everyone is offering the same “lowest” price, you’ll be the one making the sale and have the opportunity to cross sell on a higher margin product.
4. Under-promise and over-deliver: The fastest way of driving your brand into the dirt is to not follow through on your obligations. Although it is natural to want to actively make your organization appear to be the best by screaming it to the ends of the Earth, this strategy can backfire very quickly if you can’t meet the expectations you have created. Foster excitement among your clients and the market in general by being modest and truthful with what your organization can do and then exceed their expectations by giving them more value or world-class service (within constraints of course).
5.Turn brand problems into brand opportunities: Bad things happen – it’s just a fact of life and business. Rather than hide, minimize, or outright lie about mistakes or problems, the best method is to analyze the situation, determine a solution, and then market how your organization can be better because of it. One famous case is Tylenol. In 1982, seven people died after taking Tylenol pain-relief capsules that had been poisoned by a criminal who has yet to be identified to this day. This incident could have literally put Tylenol out of business; however they proactively addressed the problem leading to the creation of federal anti-tampering laws and reforms of over-the-counter packaging. Tylenol and parent company Johnson & Johnson were praised by the media for its handling of the incident. In seven years Tylenol became the most popular over-the-counter analgesic in the U.S.
Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Senior Market, senior insurance market news, Customer Retention, Creating Value, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships, Exciters
Update: The House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act Saturday night with a tight vote of 220-215. To learn more about this recent event click here.
Yesterday, both AARP and the American Medicare Association announced their support of the health care reform bill that will soon be voted on in the House of Representatives. Though AARP has been losing members over its endorsement of the Democrat –only supported bill, it still remains a powerful lobby with over 40 million seniors a part of its organization. According to the Associated Press, AARP Senior Policy Adviser John Rother said the organization supports the bill as it closes the coverage gap in Medicare prescription benefits, strictly limits what health insurers can charge older workers too young for Medicare, and creates a voluntary, long-term care insurance program.
The AMA acknowledged that the bill is far from perfect, but determined that the bill’s pros far outweigh the cons. The biggest point of criticism from the AMA is that the bill doesn't change the current Medicare payment formula which it says will lead to a 20% doctor pay cut in 2010. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is another group that also announced its support for the bill.
As mentioned before, the issue over whether federal funds can be used to pay for abortions is a divisive issue among Democrats in the House and threatens the bill’s passing. Democrat leaders say the issue will be resolved soon and there is a proposal now being considered that they believe will gain all of the party’s buy-in. The current proposal essentially prohibits the use of federal money for abortions, while allowing individuals on the public plan to pay for abortion coverage using their own money. Details are currently being ironed out on how the government can ensure that its subsidies will not be used to pay for abortions.
Another major issue that threatens the passing of the bill is illegal immigration. As it stands, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving federal subsidies, but the point of contention is over whether illegal immigrants can purchase insurance through the proposed government exchanges using their own money. The White House opposes this, while major Hispanic organizations such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other Democrats in the House believe it should be allowed.
UPDATE: Many of you want more information as to why these two organizations are supporting the bill. To learn more about each organization's respective decisions I've added a link to each organization's official press release:
American Medical Association Press Release: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/health-system-reform/ama-supports-house-bills.shtml
AARP Press Release: http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/policy/articles/health_care_reform7.html