What's the name of the premium bonus annuity game?
For clients who buy an annuity with a premium bonus, the name of the game is “net” – how many dollars will they net after any fees? At first glance, it seems that a higher premium bonus is the best choice. But… not so fast!
The premium bonus is calculated based on the first year premium and vests according to a vesting schedule over the duration of the surrender period.
Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information
Selling Medicare insurance online offers a host of compelling advantages for both insurance agents and seniors alike. The digital platform provides a broader reach, allowing agents to connect with potential clients regardless of geographical boundaries.
This convenience extends to seniors, who can explore Medicare plans, compare options, and even enroll from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need for in-person visits. The 24/7 availability of online resources ensures that information is accessible at any time, accommodating different schedules.
Additionally, the efficiency of online operations reduces overhead costs and paperwork, allowing agents to allocate resources more effectively. Through data-driven strategies, agents can deliver personalized recommendations based on clients' needs, enhancing their experience.
With real-time communication, rapid updates, and scalability, selling Medicare insurance online not only streamlines the enrollment process but also provides a dynamic and tailored approach that aligns with the digital age, benefiting agents and seniors alike.
Welcome to a NEW ERA in Medicare enrollment.
PSM has teamed up with SunFire to bring you a revolutionary new tool to write more Medicare business. With our all-inclusive platform, you can sell Medicare plans on your terms. Offer top carriers, receive the best commissions, all with industry-recognized service and support.
Discover an unparalleled array of valuable resources tailored exclusively for insurance agents serving the senior market. From personalized marketing materials to interactive sales strategies, our goal is to empower agents with the latest tools, technology and mentorship to achieve new levels of success. View Resources.
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In this guide we will explore some creative and effective marketing ideas to engage with your local community to build a formidable Medicare business. All while staying local and budget-friendly. Added bonus - Learn about a simple idea that is inexpensive and generates fantastic results. Download the guide today.
Building relationships and trust within your community is paramount. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to helping seniors find the right Medicare plans for their needs, you can establish yourself as a valuable resource and trusted partner in healthcare decisions.
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Know other independent agents who would thrive in our dynamic environment? Refer them to PSM and earn fantastic incentives! Your success is our success, and together, we'll build a thriving community of agents making a real impact.
Download the flyer here.
At PSM, we deeply value the hard work and dedication of our agents. Each year, we extend our appreciation by providing our agents with exceptional marketing programs and opportunities. Additionally, we collaborate closely with our carrier partners to present you with a wide range of enticing incentives and incredible destinations.
These webinars serve as a vital platform for insurance professionals to stay well-informed about the ever-evolving landscape of insurance, regulations, and industry trends. They offer a unique opportunity for agents to enhance their knowledge, refine their sales strategies, and adapt to the changing needs of their clients.
Whether it's exploring the intricacies of Medicare, delving into the complexities of compliance, or navigating the nuances of sales and marketing, these webinars provide a convenient and accessible means for insurance agents to expand their expertise and ultimately better serve their clients.
NASSAU PERSONAL PROTECTION CHOICE®
Retirement Check Quotes:
Nassau Insurance Company, specifically Nassau Life and Annuity Company, is a subsidiary of Nassau Financial Group, a diversified financial services and insurance organization. With its headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut, Nassau Insurance Company offers a range of financial and insurance products aimed at providing individuals and families with financial security and peace of mind.
Nassau Life and Annuity Company's primary focus is on annuities and retirement products designed to help individuals save for their retirement years and achieve financial stability. These products are intended to provide a steady income stream during retirement and support individuals in their financial planning.
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A Safeguard Plus® MYGA from Farmers Life Insurance Company is a single premium deferred fixed annuity that offers predictable interest earnings for a specified
Regardless of their savings timeline, clients can also benefit from:
Stay Informed: You'll receive updates on the latest developments in the insurance industry, particularly in the senior insurance market. This includes changes in regulations, new insurance products, and market trends.
Educational Content: Informative articles, videos, and resources that can enhance your knowledge and skills in insurance marketing.
Networking Opportunities: You can connect with other professionals in the insurance and financial services industry, which can be valuable for sharing ideas and building your network.
Industry Insights: Stay ahead of the curve with insights and expert opinions on industry topics, helping you make informed decisions in your insurance career.
Product Information: Receive updates on new insurance products and services that you can offer to your clients, helping you provide a wider range of solutions.
Compliance Guidance: Precision Senior Marketing may share information and tips on remaining compliant with industry regulations and best practices, reducing the risk of compliance issues.
Exclusive Promotions: Sometimes, following them on social media might grant you access to exclusive promotions, discounts, or training opportunities.
Engagement: You can engage with Precision Senior Marketing by asking questions, offering comments, and participating in discussions, fostering a sense of community and mutual learning.
Tags: social media
Insight From American National Life & Annuity Distribution Team
Tags: social media
We hope you enjoyed last week’s edition of Marketing Masterminds. In this session, Bobby and Brian further reinforced their sales process and answered live questions from our attendees.
If you couldn’t make it, we recorded the session for you to watch by clicking this link.
A copy of Bobby and Brian’s sales process is also available here.
Want to join us for another Q&A session? We’re hosting 2 more during AEP that you can register for by clicking either of the links below!
This $430 credit per 10 sales can be used for initiatives including:
* Street level contract direct to PSM / * Med Supp GI Business not included
Ask any successful Medicare Advantage producer what they are most likely to cross sell with every Medicare Advantage plan sold and you’ll likely hear the same response… Hospital Indemnity.
While Medicare is important to have, it may still leave gaps in coverage that a policyholder is responsible for.
For instance, most Medicare Advantage Plans don't cover the first 4 to 7 days of a hospitalization. Per the American Hospital Association (AHA) Hospital Statistics, the average hospital stay costs over $10,000, but can vary widely.
A Hospital Indemnity plan can help bridge the gaps left open from a Medicare Advantage Plan, by providing a direct cash benefit to the policyholder.
What are the Benefits of a Hospital Indemnity Plan?
Here's an example:
If you go to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain, you may be placed in a hospital room or bed. This allows the doctor to monitor your condition while performing diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your pain without formally admitting you.
Observation status is mainly a billing designation, but it matters since services received while under observation are not covered by Medicare Part A.
Medicare Part B will cover 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for any services received. If the beneficiary does not have Part B, then they are responsible for 100% of the costs incurred while under observation.
For most people, the out of pocket costs of having these gaps in coverage can be devastating. The right hospital indemnity plan could help ease that burden and make for a very affordable alternative to help your clients cover the unexpected.
When Can You Sell a Hospital Indemnity Plan?
The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have said that a Hospital Indemnity Plan can be marketed and sold during a Medicare Advantage appointment as long as it was agreed on the Scope of Appointment form.
You can also go back to your current clients with Medicare Advantage and do a basic Needs Analysis to see how the Hospital Indemnity Plan will benefit them and limit their out of pocket costs.
Relative Cost of a Hospital Indemnity Plan
Of the 20,400,000 people currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Program 46% are on a zero-premium plan.
Indemnity medical insurance costs depend on your age, the amount of coverage you want and the indemnity insurance company. You can buy coverage per individual or per family. For the benefit that a hospital indemnity insurance plan provides, the cost is relatively inexpensive.
When you sell a $0 or low cost Medicare Advantage Plan, this allows budget flexibility with a majority of consumers to cover the gaps left behind.
With a lower premium Medicare Advantage plan, your clients can entertain a Hospital Indemnity plan without breaking the bank and have peace of mind and a sense of security.
PSM offers several Hospital Indemnity options for your portfolio. We have plans from Aetna, Sentinel Life, Equitable Life, GTL, Heartland National and Medico.
If you have any questions, please give one of our experienced marketers a call at 1-800-998-7715 for more information on this versatile product for your insurance clients.
“Cross-selling occurs when an opportunity to sell a Medicare plan is also utilized to sell a non-health related product (such as life or home insurance or financial planning services). This activity is prohibited by CMS during individual appointments, marketing/sales events or when providing Medicare plan enrollment materials to consumers. Review the current Medicare Advantage Marketing Regulations and make sure you’re complying with Medicare’s rules regarding cross-selling.”
*For Agent use only. Not affiliated with the U. S. government or federal Medicare program.
Why Agents Should be Selling Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke Insurance
As a Medicare agent it can be tricky to explain to a client who already has Medicare and Medicare Supplement insurance why they may need additional ancillary insurance coverage.
This gets even more complicated when you’re trying to discuss illnesses that they may find difficult to talk about, or as the statistics imply, have a high likelihood of being diagnosed with.
Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke are some of the leading causes of death among men and women. Medicare managed Care (MAPD) and Medicare Supplements will offer some solutions to these problems, but they won't alleviate ALL of the costs associated with being diagnosed with one of these major illnesses.
If your goal is to educate your clients and provide solutions for all of life’s unexpected occurrences, then every agent should have some ancillary options in their quiver to ensure you’re providing the best possible options and mitigating as much risk as possible for your clients.
Is there a need for Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke Insurance?
Thirty years ago Cancer Heart and Stroke Insurance didn’t exist. Most people just weren’t expected to survive many of the diseases that are survivable today, so they may be completely unfamiliar with these options or how they work.
With more people surviving these types of illness, more and more survivors of a major illness are facing financial difficulties because of them. It’s not just the lifesaving treatment that needs to be considered, but a number of possible financial hardships that may come out of the situation.
When people get sick they may soon realize that the expenses incurred due to lost work, continuing treatments and ancillary needs that weren’t considered, quickly become a mountain of debt.
Without trying to push the fear angle, it may be enough to simply review the statistics and help them realize the sobering fact that many people will need this coverage at some point in their life.
Let’s take a look at the statistics that support that need.
Heart Attack: Number one cause of death for men and women. 3
Cancer: Second most common cause of death. 1
Stroke: Third leading cause of death in women and fifth in men. 5
Survival Rates: Good News. Survival rates for all 3 illnesses are increasing.
The potential costs related to cancer, heart attack and stroke.
Cancer, heart attack and stroke are among the top 5 causes of new and existing long term disability claims. 9
This is why it is imperative to have additional insurance so you don't burn through your savings and 401K just to stay afloat and tackle the problem.
Costs for surgeries and procedures are expensive enough, but when you begin adding in the cost of missing work, travel to and from specialized facilities, and lodging is where people can get themselves in a real bind that could possibly lead to excessive spending or bankruptcy, if not properly mitigated through insurance.
Out of pocket costs of cancer, heart attack or stroke.
How Can a Lump Sum Policy Help?
While Medicare, Medicare Supplement Plans or Medicaid may cover most of your direct hospital costs, the other costs can vary depending on your illness and your personal situation. That’s where a lump sum payment works so well.
A lump sum benefit is paid directly to you or someone you designate, regardless of other health insurance coverage. A lump sum payment is distributed when you are diagnosed and can be used to help pay for whatever you choose, whether it’s medical expenses, groceries, a mortgage, electric bill, etc.
It covers the gap left by other policies and quickly gives you 100% of the selected benefit. This provides the additional coverage needed to withstand the financial impact of diagnosis.
There is no one plan that can cover everything, but the right plans do exist to create the best coverage for an individual based on their needs. A Cancer, Heart Attack and Stroke policy can provide much needed coverage when illness expenses extend outside those directly related to the treatment.
People’s financial well-being doesn’t need to suffer because of the total cost involved with a major illness. Reviewing their needs, risks and options is the first step to helping them put together a complete insurance coverage plan.
The more wrap around policies/coverage you offer to your clients the more secure they can feel knowing they have a “Blanket” of protection to cover them, in case something unexpected occurs.
1 American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2017, cancer.org
2 Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation Annual Report 2015, pcrf-kids.org
3 American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2018 At- A-Glance
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Heart Disease Facts 2017, cdc.gov
5 National Stroke Association, 2017 Facts, stroke.org
6 Cancer costs may rise 27% by 2020, John Commins, HealthLearers Media, January 2011
7 Stroke Fact Sheet, CDC and Prevention, cdc.gov
8 Top Ten Things to Know About Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics, American Heart Association heart.org,
9 https://www.uphelp.org/Emmet%20Pierce, download 8/29/18
Should You Start Selling Insurance Part Time?
Starting a new career as an independent agent is a daunting task.
Some may be starting out young while others may be a bit older and looking for a new profession.
Many ask; "How do I start something new when quitting my current profession is just not feasible?"
It takes time to learn new skills and processes and that could mean less money in your pocket if you quit your full time job.
If that's your situation, then starting a new career on the side may be a good option for you.
If you can keep your regular job and get started without the pay cut, that may give you enough time to build up momentum before going in full time.
So, should you start selling insurance part time?
We're going to help you decide if it might be for you, and it will only take a few minutes. We'll look at some pros and cons and talk about the steps to take to be successful.
⍟ Start Part Time and Earn an Extra Paycheck
⍟ Start Out With a Plan
⍟ Get Familiar With the Industry
⍟ Deciding What to Sell
⍟ Managing Clients Expectations
Start Part Time and Earn an Extra Paycheck
Not everyone has the option of simply starting over.
If you’ve been in an industry for years and want to make a change, you are likely going to see a sizable pay cut if you start over.
Unless, of course, you can keep your current job and start your new venture selling insurance part time.
This can be a great way to get your feet wet and test out the industry.
You can test the waters and see if it might be a good fit before making any risky decisions.
Down the road when you feel more confident and the money is starting to flow, it’s even possible to reverse your situation.
You could always go full time as an independent and keep a part time job just to make up the money.
This isn’t ideal, but there is no real shortcut.
You will have to put the work in one way or the other.
This strategy will however, allow you to transition to a new profession rather than jumping in cold turkey.
Like we said, it can take some time in the beginning to start making money selling insurance.
This slow ramp up in your new venture can begin while you’re still collecting another paycheck and not cramp your lifestyle too much.
Start Out with a Plan
Because you are starting part time it will be important to have a carefully thought out plan. If you aren’t devoting your entire day to learning the craft you could easily be thrown off course.
Because you will be spending most of your day on a different job it will be easy to forget where you left off and miss details you had fresh in your mind when you were last working on it.
You want to have a system of keeping detailed information that you can refer to daily. This can be almost like a journal to record thoughts, details, important tasks, etc.
This is where having contacts in the industry will pay off dividends.
Getting advice as to when to zig and when to zag is priceless when you are just getting started. These are things that will need to be addressed as they come up and will vary depending on your situation.
You may not know exactly what you will encounter but you can prepare ahead of time by having resources at your fingertips when you need them.
Get Familiar with the Industry
Starting part time will allow you to test the waters and feel what it would be like to be in the industry without the risk of quitting a job and losing that income.
You are starting a business, but the risk is lessened when you have another job.
This way you can decide if you like the work, what type of products might be best for you to sell, what populations you like to work with, etc.
If you’re jumping into a new industry it will be necessary to have friends that are already in the business.
If you don’t have any, make some and try to learn from them. Having a mentor would also be very beneficial.
Everyone who is in the industry went through a similar process so they will understand. Don’t be afraid of asking others if you can buy them lunch and ask them for some advice.
Talk to an FMO about what's required to sell the different plans and get a better understanding of what's required.
Deciding What to Sell
This is more of a personal choice. What suits your personality? What area are you most interested in? Do you know anyone successfully selling insurance who could mentor you?
There are a number of things to consider, but you will have to navigate that to find something that fits you.
There are pros and cons to selling different types of insurance, it really comes down to simply choosing one that you can see yourself talking about and helping people with regularly.
With over 10,000 people a day turning 65, we have identified the senior market as a great opportunity now, and for years to come.
At PSM, we have established a strong portfolio of companies and have introduced quoting and sales technology to help our agents get a jump-start to success. If you're having trouble deciding, our marketers are here to answer any questions you may have.
Managing Clients Expectations
Whether you are jumping in full time or starting slow as a part time agent, your clients shouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
To be successful you will need to be there for your clients when they need you. Having said that, there is a lot you can do to manage their expectations.
Don't ever let your clients feel like you are giving them part time attention. Every interaction you have has to make your clients feel like they have your full attention and efforts.
Setting expectation up front can really help with this. Let your clients know the best time(s) to contact you and when they do you will return their call quickly.
Most people are reasonable enough to not expect you to answer the call immediately each time you call, as long as you set their expectation up front.
Nevertheless, just because your not able to work full time as an insurance agent does't mean you can put off communicating effectively with your clients.
Make every effort to take calls at every opportunity. Whether that's your lunch time, break time, and any time throughout the day you can pull away.
Being an independent insurance agent can be a very rewarding career. If you stick with it and develop a sizable client base you will also be building a book of business that will serve as your nest egg when, or if, you decide to sell it.
If you are entrepreneurial minded and like the idea of being your own boss, or owning your own company then there is plenty of opportunity as an independent insurance agent.
Just because you can't quit your full time job doesn't mean you can't still get started on a new rewarding career.
With the right approach and help from a good FMO you can start on a part time basis and begin building a business you can develop into a full time career.
Good luck in your efforts and remember, we're just a phone call away.
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Sales and Marketing = Creation and Capture
No one works in sales without having losses. Some of those losses are the result of errors, bad choices, poor strategy, or sloppy sales approaches. Some of those losses are the result of circumstances that are difficult to overcome. You can do everything right and lose, and you can do many things wrong and win. Either way, losses come with the territory.
Client issues are also part of sales. Even if you own the outcomes you sell your clients with someone else being responsible for doing the work that generates those outcomes, because you promised your client better results, they are going to look to you for help and for answers. You are accountable for the outcomes you sell, or you put future deals at risk (or more likely, you never see the new opportunities at all).
Selling is made up of two major outcomes. The first outcome is opportunity creation, and it requires that you do the work of prospecting, whether you like that work or wish there was another way. The second outcome is opportunity capture. The first outcome always precedes the second. The workload for opportunity creation is equal or greater than the workload of opportunity capture.
There will always be someone with a lower price that sells by suggesting they can produce the same result at a lower price point. Much of the time, these competitors will have an irrational pricing model that would cause you to lose money, and you will struggle to understand how they stay in business. But when they have been in business for decades, the only way you beat them is by creating greater value, not by explaining that they can’t survive with their pricing model.
Selling is not situational. It is individual. There are always salespeople who succeed at selling the most commoditized, undifferentiated products and services and do well for being able to so. There are also people in sales roles with the most compelling, differentiated offer who struggle to sell what should be a much easier sell. There are intangibles that count for a lot more than most people recognize, and these tangibles are not commonly taught or developed. Success then, is a product of developing yourself.
Great news! We are here to assist.
We are pleased to provide you with a library of pre-approved marketing materials to help you retain and grow your book of business.
These pieces have been created to engage consumers and motivate them to consider working with you to meet their Medicare needs.
In today's competitive market, it is helpful to have marketing materials that help you stand out with potential clients.
We also understand the challenge of coming up with something creative and engaging, in addition to adhering to CMS guidelines.
Lucky for you, we have worked with our carrier partners to make sure our agents have access to not only carrier approved marketing materials, but also a library of generic pre-approved Medicare marketing materials. Get your free marketing materials here.
Direct mail is an effective means of driving response among Medicare eligibles. It allows you to target your message to specific people at specific times.
Even though direct mail is considered more effective than other mass media options, it is important to do everything you can to help maximize your success.
Here are some tips to follow:
Marketing Pieces Include:
Age-In, CSNP, DSNP, Educational, Generic and more
To request access and speak with a marketing Representative about what pieces are available and how to have the customized, Get your free marketing materials here.
You can also call us at 800-998-7715 and speak with one of our friendly marketing representatives.
Medicare Marketing Guidelines
Rules Renamed to "Medicare Communications &
The Medicare Marketing Guidelines (MMG) have seen some significant changes since 2019. The MMG, which governs Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAO) and Plan D sponsors, were also re-named to Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines (MCMG).
In this article, we’ll take a look at some important changes to the regulations that you should be aware of moving forward.
Below, I have highlighted some of what we consider the most relevant changes to the guidelines. It is not an exhaustive list, but I think it’s a good place to start.
The following sections have changed since 2019:
[ Note: Plans/Part D sponsors may impose additional restrictions on their subcontractors, downstream entities, and/or delegated entities, provided they do not conflict with the requirements outlined in the MCMG. ]
Let's look into some of the changes to the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines:
The most obvious change to this section is the distinction between Communications activities and Marketing activities. Communications activities do not need to be submitted for CMS review.
The MCMG defines Communications as:
Activities and use of materials to provide information to current and prospective enrollees. This is the more generic of the two categories and does not require CMS review. This can be seen as a loosening of the restrictions.
The MCMG defines Marketing as:
Marketing can be considered a subset of Communications and provides more detailed information. Marketing materials are those that could include information on a plan’s benefit structure, cost sharing and measuring or ranking standards. These types of materials are subject to CMS review.
Put another way, marketing materials are those with an intent to draw a beneficiary’s attention to a MA plan or plans to influence a beneficiary’s decision-making process when selecting and enrolling in a plan or deciding to stay in a plan and contain information about the plan’s benefit structure, cost sharing, and measuring or ranking standards.
Section 30.6 explains that a sponsor may initiate contact via email to prospective enrollees and to retain enrollment for current enrollees.
It also notes that text messaging and other electronic messaging (social media) is considered unsolicited and is not permitted.
As in 30.6 above, Section 40.2 adds email to the list of allowable unsolicited contact methods, as long as there is an opt-out function in the email.
This section also clarifies that unsolicited text messages are not permitted.
There is no longer any language preventing an agent from asking for referrals during a one on one appointment. (No more excuses)
Section 60.4 clarifies that waiting rooms are considered part of the common areas and common areas are approved for sales activities.
It also states that Communication materials may be distributed and displayed in all areas of the healthcare setting.
Section 90.1 includes a new material identification process, as well as guidance on what types of materials will require submission to HPMS.
The section relating to the rules that apply to referral programs (30.9) has been removed. This will allow for some flexibility in gaining referrals.
If you offer a gift for referrals, just remember, you will still need to abide by the Nominal Gift standards (40.4).
Appendix 2, Disclaimers:
Disclaimers have been simplified and are now located in Appendix 2 of the MCMG. Some of the relevant proposed changes are listed below.
The following disclaimers may be removed from your materials:
The following disclaimer may be removed from your advertising materials:
The following disclaimer may be removed from your materials:
The following disclaimer may be removed from your materials:
You no longer have to put the following text in email subject lines. As long as the material is not considered Marketing.
Appendix 3, Pre-Enrollment Checklist:
The Pre-Enrollment Checklist was added to consolidate disclaimers on a given plan. The Checklist is designed to help enrollees understand important rules before making an enrollment decision.
This update marks a significant change to the MCMG. There are new additions, several sections have been moved around and others removed entirely.
We recommend reading through the entire guidelines to ensure you’re aware of any possible impact to your business.
We have pre-approved Medicare Marketing Materials as well as carrier approved marketing materials available for our agents.
As always, our experienced marketers are here to answer any questions you may have.
How to recruit Agents to Your Downline
& Grow Your Business
Are you ready to hire agents to your downline? It’s a big question. If you haven't been down that road yet, in time you will.
An angel on one shoulder says "It's time to grow and start hiring agents to work for you. You can do this."
And the devil on the other shoulder says "Who are you to think anyone would want to work for you? Your doing fine just the way things are, why risk it?"
How do you know when it's the right time? What are some pitfalls you should be aware of?
One things for sure, adding agents to your downline can provide additional income with far less work than if you sold the same policies on your own.
If you are a successful agent, and can teach others the process you’ve used to be successful, then recruiting agents to your downline may be a good way to grow your business.
What do you have to offer agents?
Before you make a decision to add agents to your downline, you have to be honest with yourself and your capabilities. Agents have to have a reason to work with you.
If you can’t show that you are successful and provide a framework they can follow to help them be successful, then why would an agent work with you?
You will need to decide what you would provide your agents. How will they be compensated? Would you train them, offer office space to work in?
Will you offer leads and provide bonuses?
You will be managing these agents and must have a clear vision of how they could become successful and a plan on how to help them get there.
When agents that work with you become successful, you become successful, so it is in your best interest to put every effort into helping them get there.
It’s essential that you have the ability to mentor your agents. You will need the relevant product and sales experience as well as the soft skills required to communicate effectively with your agents in order to help them grow.
It’s important to clearly communicate the advantages and opportunities they will have when working with you. It’s equally important to share the values, goals and attitude that you represent as a company.
If someone has what it takes to be a successful insurance agent, but has values and goals that are in conflict to yours, then that relationship just won’t last.
Even worse. If an agent working under you upsets a client because they were acting in a way not consistent with your company’s values, then you could find yourself connected to a situation that doesn’t represent who you are.
That type of bad press can wreak havoc on your reputation, and you should do everything in your power to prevent it from happening
Having agents working with you could be a blessing or a curse, depending on the individual.
Searching out agents that share your values and goals will help ensure that the business you grow is a successful and sustainable one.
What to look for when recruiting agents?
For starters, you have to know what you want your agents to be selling. Do you want them to sell Medicare Supplements, Life Insurance, Medicare Advantage, Final Expense?
For instance, if you sell Medicare supplement plans and you know an agent who has been selling final expense, then they likely have customers that are also in the market for Medicare supplement plans.
By teaching them what’s required to sell Medicare supplements, they could then offer those products to their existing clients, making you and your agents additional income.
Do you want someone to be licensed to sell a specific type of insurance, or are you willing to help them get licensed?
You can find someone experienced in a similar market like described above, or a young promising recruit with no experience at all. It all comes back to what you want from that person, and what level of training you can provide.
Remember, only about 10% of new insurance agents make it through their first 5 years. If you can provide support that can improve those odds, then you have a chance to attract agents and benefit from helping them become successful.
Hire young agents and train them for success
Don't just rely on job postings. People are often very different in the workplace than they are in an interview.
Your best employees will likely come as recommendation from an associate or someone you run into in public that just fells like a good candidate.
I've heard many people mention that they've hired people in various sales related jobs that they encounter throughout their day.
If you find yourself in a restaurant having a conversation with a friendly, young, outgoing, waiter or waitress that seems to really care about the service they provide, I'm willing to bet they won't be there for long.
An individual like that will likely be hired fairly quickly because of the potential that is just simmering under of the surface of that youthful smile.
These hires can often be some of the best you could ask for.
Shaping someone with potential into the perfect employee is much more likely, and profitable, than finding one through job postings.
Where to find new agents
The idea is to get the word out on multiple platforms. Don’t just pick one or 2. Make a serious effort to reach as many possible candidates as you can.
Recommendations - The best place to find new employees is by asking friends and associates if they know anyone that fits the template of what you are looking for. This type of recommendation is one of the best source of new hires.
Working Sales People - Another great source of sales employees are those working sales persons that you run into every day. Be ready with a business card and an elevator pitch for potential employees. If you meet a spunky young salesperson with great potential, you want to be able to move quickly before someone else does.
Colleges & Universities - College placement departments are very willing to work with local businesses to get their students real world experience before they graduate. You can give them an idea what you’re looking for and they will find the right students for you.
LinkedIn - Great for finding agents in similar fields. LinkedIn allows you to be very specific in what you’re looking for.
Social Media - Create a Post letting your connections know what you are looking for and ask them to pass it along. This is the easiest and often one of the most successful ways of recruiting. And it’s free. Unless, of course you wish to offer something in return.
Job boards - A little more expensive but still one of the best ways to find recruits who are actively looking.
Events/Conferences - A great way to locate professionals in a specific industry. People at conferences or other similar events are a captive audience. Introduce yourself to some and let them know what you’re trying to achieve. Bring flyers or postcards and get them in front of as many people as possible.
These are just a few options, but I think you get the idea.
If you feel you have a template for successful and you like the idea of building a network of agents you can help become more successful, then you might be ready to give it a try.
Just remember to focus on quality, not quantity, and before long you could be expanding your company to a level you never would’ve imagined just a couple of years ago.
How to Make an Upline Change
In order for a business to be successful all parties involved have to benefit or the relationship will eventually break down.
As an insurance agent, it’s likely only a matter of time until you find yourself in a situation where you feel that your upline partnership isn’t working for you.
When that happens, it may be time to cut ties with your current upline and move on. This can be a simple or complicated process, depending on your upline FMO and the carrier involved.
It is important first to understand that, if the carrier in question will honor a signed release from your upline, it needs to be from the highest level in your hierarchy. Carriers will not accept a signed release from a mid-tier FMO.
For example, as an FMO we have a direct relationship with the carriers we broker for. For the most part, carriers will honor our release requests, no questions asked.
We have a general open release policy and would normally process a release without delay. Having said that, we also give our mid-level down lines flexibility to implement their own release guidelines and allow them to release down lines as they see fit, as long as carrier guidelines are respected.
For the most part there are 2 ways to transfer your contract to a new upline. A “Signed Release” or a “Self-Release”.
Let’s take a look at these options:
An agent may request to be released from their upline for immediate transfer to a new FMO. It is important to stress that this request must be signed by the top level upline and NOT by a mid-tier. If the top line FMO signs the release, the agent is then free to transfer to a different broker immediately.
If an upline doesn’t want to give an agent an immediate release, then an agent can exercise the Self-Release process. It may vary by carrier, but as a general rule there are a couple of ways to do it:
Below is a sampling of a few carriers and their release process:
Aetna Med Advantage/Part D - Notice and new contracting must be sent to Aetna to start the clock. You can continue to write business during their 3 month Self-Release period.
Mutual of Omaha - Non-Production for 6 months will allow an agent to transfer their contract.
Aetna Med Supp - Email notice must be sent to Aetna Supplemental to start the clock. You can continue to write business during their 6 month Self-Release period. However, different guidelines apply if you have producing downlines.
Humana - Notice and new contracting must be sent to Humana to start the clock. You can continue to write business during their 3 month Self-Release period.
United Healthcare – Email notice must be sent to UHC to start the clock. You can continue to write business during their 6 month Self-Release period.
Some Med Advantage carriers implement transfer freezes in the 4th Quarter of each year, which prevents an agent from transferring their contract no matter what the release scenario may be. UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Humana are a few of the major carriers who implement a transfer freeze period.
With that being said, it’s important to carefully consider the timing if you’re looking to initiate a self-release.
For example: If an agent were to start a self-release and that self-release time frame expired in the middle of a transfer freeze (9/1/19 to 12/31/19), they would be forced to stay under their current upline until the end of the freeze period. In other words, they are stuck until after AEP and usually until January 1st of the next year.
Obviously, if the agent could have timed the self-release so that the self-release time frame expired before the freeze period, that may have been the more favorable situation.
Again, not all carriers have the same process, so ensure you understand the carrier’s requirements before starting the process.
The important thing to remember is that, if your business relationship isn’t working, you have options. It is also a good idea to understand the release policy of your upline, before you work with them, so you are not surprised when the situation arises.
Your success is up to you, but a bad business relationship can definitely make that success more difficult.
If you have any questions, our experienced marketers are here to help.
How to decide what to write on your Insurance blog
How to Be Professionally Persistent
If you are going to win your dream clients, you are going to have to pursue them over time. This means that you are also going to have to communicate with them at a cadence that keeps you top of mind, and it means you are going to need to do so without being a nuisance or a time-waster. Here are a few values-based ideas to help you persist while maintaining your professionalism.
Relationships Are More Important Than Transactions: You have a choice to make as you persist. If you decide to push hard for what you want, being overly-aggressive and pushy to gain the commitment you want, you will be proving that what you want is more important to you than the relationship. The “whatever it takes” mentality is useful, but it should not include the lack of integrity and caring that underpin all great relationships. If you must choose between having what you want now and having the relationship, choose the relationship. This is how you play the long game, and it is what allows you to persist.
Always Trade in Every Interaction: In every communication, you have the ability to create value for the other person. You can share some idea that may help them—even if they don’t do business with you right now. You have a chance to learn something about your prospective client that will allow you to better serve them in the future. You are not only shaping their view of what they are doing and how they might do better, you are also shaping their preference to work with you by shaping the relationship. If every call and every email is a straight ask and nothing else, you are not trading value.
Persistency Requires Consistency: One of the major differences between people who professionally persist and those who don’t is that they don’t think of it as developing a relationship. You’ll want to pay attention here if this is something you need to do. If you call your dream client every January, you really aren’t being persistent. If you call every quarter with nothing to say, you are checking the box, and that means there is no real interest. Professional persistence requires consistency of communication over time. If there are long stretches of time where you disappear and go dark, the lack of consistency makes it easy to reduce your request for time, or some other commitment.
Being professionally persistent isn’t tactical; it’s strategic. It is an operating principle when it comes to producing the results you want, and especially as it relates to winning your dream clients. And it’s how you play the long game.
Funny Insurance Memes 😂
So what's funny about insurance? Usually not that much, but when we make fun of ourselves and the situations that cause us frustration on a day to day basis, it's pretty easy to laugh at ourselves.
Holy AEP Batman! I think we can all identify with this one.
Funny, and a few years ago, it may have been accurate. Today we have excellent Dental Options that people will actually use.
Thanks to all the creative minds that came up with all these memes.
While you're at it, check out the history of the meme in this infographic from Mozy.
Tags: Insurance Memes
Facebook Ads for Insurance Agents
For starters, if you haven’t read it yet, we recommend you take a look at “Social Marketing for Insurance Agents” for a general overview of social media marketing before diving deeper into Facebook Advertising.
Remember, this is just one channel in your marketing strategy. Your marketing efforts will be much more successful when used in combination with other channels.
Giving your prospects multiple points of communication will increase your ability to connect to your prospects and to create a long term relationship with them.
In this article we are going to continue, in detail, to describe how to create Insurance Facebook Ads.
There are a lot of options within the Facebook Ads Manager. We will run through the basics of creating an Ad and point out some key points to keep in mind when creating an Ad.
Let's get started by navigating to the Ads Manager within your Facebook business page. This is where you will create new ad campaigns or get an overview of your current ads. If you haven't created your Facebook Business Page yet, what are you waiting for?
From your Facebook business page, click on Pages in the top left menu and select Ads Manager.
[ Click screenshot to open larger image ]
Clicking Ads Manager will take you to the page below. To create an Ad Campaign, click Create.
On the next page, ensure you are in the "Create New Campaign" tab at the top, (Underlined in blue) and review the options under marketing objective.
Before we select a Marketing Objective, let's review the Ads Manager screen and get familiar with the different sections.
In the upper left corner you see your ad account id#. If you have access to business manager or access to other ad accounts you would see them listed here in the drop-down menu.
The column on the left is the work flow for creating your ads. Each step must be completed before you ad is ready to be published.
At the very top, and the beginning of the ad creation process is the Campaign level. This is where you choose your Objective. What do you want this ad to accomplish?
Next you have the Ad Set Level. This is the Who, Where, When, & How Much
At the lowest level of the ad process you have your creative. This is what the target audience sees when you ad is displayed. Images, text, links, and call to action.
So, lets start by selecting a marketing objective. When you choose a marketing objective Facebook will optimize your campaign for that selected goal. Facebook will then deliver your ad to people that have proven to be more likely to carry out the desired result your looking for.
if you choose traffic, which will allow your ad to link to a landing page on your website, Facebook will show your ads to people who have proven to be more likely to click on those types of links.
Let’s review the Marketing Objectives and their definitions.
Now that we know what it means, let's choose the Traffic objective. This will tell Facebook to show your ad to people who fit your audience description and have a history of clicking links to websites outside of Facebook.
We are looking to get our prospects to click the link which in turn will bring them to a website landing page. This is where you will have an offer they can't resist, and will be prompted to enter their contact information, becoming a newly minted lead.
[ Click screenshot to open larger image ]
After setting your Objective it’s time to set your Audience. Facebook has over 2 billion users, so you’ll probably want to narrow that down a bit.
By thinking in terms of your audience or persona you are trying to engage with, you can break down the larger group of “seniors”, if you wish, into many smaller groups for hyper-targeting.
Facebook lets you get really granular with your audience. You can specify your audience by:
The size of your audience is up to you. Are you targeting local seniors within a 25mi. radius of your location or are you targeting seniors on a national scale?
Whichever you choose, ensure your content offer is appropriate for the audience you are selecting.
If you are marketing to seniors across the country, make sure your offer is actually applicable to people across the country. If it isn't, you may want to consider creating separate ads for different locations.
If you have a list of contacts Facebook allows you to upload them using the Custom audience option and find them in Facebook.
There is also the option to find a Lookalike audience. The Lookalike audience is a tool that allows you to target users whose demographics and interests are similar to that of your existing business page followers.
This type of targeting is where Facebook excels. Facebook uses Its massive database to connect the dots and find a relevant audience that you may not have been able to reach otherwise.
Facebook advertising allows you to post on other Facebook properties like Instagram and Messenger. For this example, we are going stick with Facebook.
You have the ability to select the budget and reach for your ad campaign.
Select a length of time you would like to see the ad run, and set a daily limit and Facebook will tell you what your ad will cost for the time frame selected.
In our audience below it shows a possible reach of 130,000 people.
At $10 per day Facebook estimates you would reach between 340 - 1400 of those people each day. Increasing your daily budget would increase the number of people reached per day.
With a budget of $10 per day Facebook shows that you will spend no more than $70.00 for the week. The exact daily amount may vary slightly as Facebook's algorithm spends slightly more at the beginning of an ad, in an effort to identify the best prospects for your ad.
If you haven’t run ads previously you may want start by running your ad for a short duration to test your ads and get an idea on your return.
Select a Start and End Date and tell Facebook exactly which days you want your ad to run. You can always expand the reach and duration of your ad and run it again.
If you run a campaign for a few days at $10 dollars a day, that should give you a basic idea on how your campaign will perform. All days do not perform the same on Facebook, but you can still get a feel for what type of return you can expect before spending more money.
You could also test a slightly different version of your campaign. Use a different call to action, a different add image, maybe select a different geographic region, or different days of the week and see if you get a different result. When you do this type of testing, the insight you gain will help you tremendously on your next campaign(s).
When you complete the add you will simply figure your conversion rate to decide if you are willing to spend more money in the ad, or go back to the drawing board and work towards a better ROI.
After setting your budget, select Landing Page Views in the Optimization for Ad Delivery field.
When you are happy with this page, continue on to the next.
At the top of the next page you can name your ad. Be sure to create a name that will make sense when you are looking at your ad in the future.
Review the Identity section and make sure the Facebook page listed is your page before moving down to the Format section.
For this ad we are using a single image format. Depending on your specific add, you could use whatever seems most appropriate. I think it's a good to keep your first couple of ads simple so you can better analyze what is working and what is not.
The section after the Format section is the Image section. I've skipped that one for now and went down to the Link section, shown below. That is where you will paste the link to your landing page.
Facebook will try to pull an image from your landing page to use as the add image. If you don't have an image on your linked page, or it just doesn't work for your Facebook ad, you can go back up to the Image section and upload the appropriate image.
Below the Website URL field you will find a spot for your ad headline. Take your time to think of a short, concise headline that will urge your prospects to click the link.
In the AD Preview you'll notice a pull down menu that shows Mobile News Feed. If you click the pull down you will see additional options like Desktop News Feed, etc. This will show how your ad will look in different formats, allowing you to adjust your ad accordingly.
When your happy with how your ad looks and reads press the green Place Order button and you've just created your first ad. Facebook will review your add to ensure it doesn't violate Facebooks Advertising Policies before they approve it.
Well, there it is, your first Facebook Ad campaign. But lets be honest, the work is just beginning.
Once your add starts running it's time to measure your results and adjust your campaign appropriately. Try different content, different length articles, formats, time frames, etc. Find what gets the best responses from your specific niche and keep fine tuning for success.
Facebook will show you a variety of metrics, like click-through rates, daily spend and engagement. It's good to review all the data. Be sure to key in on the data that matters most for each ad campaign.
In this case you would want to keep on eye on how many clicks you are getting through to your landing page. The click-through rate would be key on this campaign.
Once a prospect clicks through and is on your landing page, you will monitor that page in a similar fashion, outside of Facebook.
If your landing page isn't converting many prospects into leads, that would be an issue on your landing page, that should also be understood and corrected. Make sure your looking at the data that really matters according to your goal.
It is important to see this as a process. Monitor how your ads perform, change up your content and tweak the settings to find your sweet spot.
If you are consistent in putting the effort into creating relevant content offerings to your audience, you will see the benefits it brings to your business.
It can be a slow roll at first when gaining traction on social media. Nevertheless, don’t let that discourage you. Growing a business is a marathon. If you’re willing to put in the time and learn as you go, you will see it all pay off.
There aren't many platforms with the reach and ability to hyper target your audience the way Facebook does. Especially if you're audience is the senior market.
Know that seniors have proven to be slightly more expensive to market to compared to younger buyers. You will pay a little more per prospect compared to a 19 year old. That's just the nature of our business.
With the ability to set a modest budget to run a couple ads and learn what is getting the best conversion, you can find your prospects without spending a ton of money with Facebook Ads. Stick with it and take the time to understand how Facebook Ads operate and you won't be disappointed.
Always remember that social media is only one part of your marketing strategy. Leverage face to face meetings, network events, etc. as sources of content. Tell your stories, so that your audience sees the bigger picture of who you are and all you put into your business.
Let's face it, social media isn't going anywhere. If you don't learn to use it now, you may be losing out to the people or agencies that are.
A Guide for Agents Who Want to Learn How to Become Certified and Sell Medicare Advantage Plans
Tags: Medicare Advantage
8 Simple Ways to Get More (and Better) Client Referrals
I know some people who hate asking for referrals from their clients for fear of disturbing them or asking for “too much.” I understand the mentality, but I believe it is wrong.
When you get your clients to promote your agency in a simple and uncompromising way, it’s doing them a favor. Why? Referrals are what we might call social currency. We all like to recommend companies and quality products because it is a way to help each other.
Unfortunately, many insurance agents never properly prepare and train on how to request referrals in an effective and convenient way for both parties. This can lead to interactions like the following:
Agent: “If you are satisfied, could you maybe give me the names of three people who could also benefit from my excellent service?”
Customer: [uncomfortable pause] “Oh ... um ... well ... I guess you could call my ... I really don’t have phone numbers with me now ...”
Agent: “Sorry, but can you think a little harder about a few people before we end our meeting?”
I do not want your clients to lose the opportunity to make referrals, but at the same time, you shouldn’t have awkward conversations.
Here are eight ideas for generating great referrals:
“I am helping my clients increase their social status by facilitating the recommendation of an agency that is easy to work with, cares about clients and can save money for their friends.”
If you do not convince yourself of this, your problem may be more complex than simply needing referrals.
» It will be easy to explain and replicate for your clients.
» You are less likely to have an unwanted referral.
» You can develop promotional material for your products (brochures, etc.).
» Your clients will have an extra motivation to refer you and will be more willing to do so.
Explain to your client the benefits of having their family members know your contact information in case of an emergency. This can even be done as early as the first sale.
To the client, it will appear that you will be available to them at all times. For example, if you sell a policy to the mother of the family and she experiences an emergency, it’s important for other family members to have your contact info.
In the blank space, write the name of your client and give it to them to pass to their contacts.
Eliminate that risk by explaining the types of clients you serve and what you can offer them.
Be careful about describing your clients with a profile different from theirs, as it will make them doubt if they are with the right agency.
Here are two exercises that illustrate my point.
Exercise 1 — Ask your client: Excluding your co-workers or family, think of someone you know who would be happy to make sure their loved ones are protected, or to have a financial plan for their retirement. Take time until you have thought of someone.
Exercise 2 — Now think of a neighbor who would be happy to have those same services. The first question is more difficult to answer because the client will not know whom to refer.
The second question has fewer options, and I bet you yourself imagined your neighbor thanking you for helping them.
The point is, when you ask for referrals from your clients, ask them to think about a specific group of people from which it is easier to choose.
This block of text is a good place to request referrals, because your client will be reading the email and can forward the information to their contacts.
Use “Fwd my contact information” as your action message to remind the reader how to recommend you and above all, invite them to do so.
This accomplishes many things. It shows how much you appreciate their confidence in you. This will increase your chances of getting more contacts, and your social media followers will be able to see this.
It also reinforces to your existing clients that other people are so happy with your services that they are inviting their friends to get to know you. This social test will improve customer perception and retention.
This means that you can send a casual message to the person you’re connected by to request to be introduced.
Obviously, a lot depends on your relationship with that third person, but you never know what you can achieve by trying. Now it is my turn …
If any of the ideas presented in this article are useful and you know someone who might appreciate it, please share it.
You will be helping two people with a minimum of effort. Happy hunting.
As a small business owner you should always be on the lookout for inexpensive ways to grow your business.
Of course, what might not cost you in dollars, will cost you in time and effort.
Below are 7 ways to help grow your business. They aren't all that complicated, or expensive. They just aren't always used to their fullest effect.
Individually they are all important, but, used together they are a force multiplier that will amplify your chances to grow your business.
Start with your WHY. Is there a bigger purpose to selling senior insurance products?
Do you want to help seniors find the best solutions to access medical services so they can better enjoy their golden years?
Do you have a personal experience that people can relate to?
Whatever your bigger picture is, put it into words and make sure it really captures WHY you do what you do.
Let that purpose define your business.
People don’t really care what products you sell.
There are a number of competitors who may sell what you sell, but how many of your competitors have the same WHY as you?
This is a unique value that makes you stand out from your competitors.
Lead with your WHY statement and show them you care about helping them.
It goes without saying that communication is incredibly important.
Communication starts with listening. If you can’t listen carefully and understand why someone is seeking a solution you provide, then your chance of selling to that customer is greatly reduced.
Your ability to be empathetic and be a good listener is key to not only getting more sales but to maintaining a happy workplace.
No matter how good you think you are at communication, you will need to up your game over time.
There are a lot of ways to do that, but it’s critical you pick one, and put some quality effort into getting better.
It’s critical to keep the right notes on your clients, in a way that will facilitate future communication.
Besides the obvious personal info and relevant history, below are a few things you may need to think about (not an exhaustive list):
Communicate too often and they will tire of hearing from you. Communicate too little and they will think you don't care.
Whatever you decide your communication frequency should be, share it with your client and ask if they are good with it?
Ask them if it is too much communication. Show respect for their time and understand that they are being barraged with email and calls as it is.
They will appreciate you asking them and will not feel interrupted when you contact them, since you get their buy in or permission for the communication.
This can seem like a trivial detail, but consider it a part of matching the communication style of your client.
Meet them where they are and you will have a better chance of contacting them.
Is there a birthday or other important event that might trigger a specific communication?
Obviously there are endless items you may take notes on.
Although each client may vary a little, you could likely create a default template that will work with most clients that would really simplify the communication process.
“ If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles. ”
There are a number of ways to reach out to your potential clients.
We can break these different ways down into 3 categories: Owned, Earned, and Paid media. Let’s define them real quick.
Just to clarify, you may not own a social media platform like Facebook, but you do control your presence on the platform.
Content you share on social media is Earned Media.
It’s considered earned for obvious reasons. If you want to benefit from it, you have to earn it.
This type of media exists on business owned channels that will not show up organically through web searches or on social media.
Try as many as you see fit, but don’t use just one.
As an entrepreneur you’re expected to have a knowledge base that covers a lot of ground.
Business technology is also changing at a break neck pace.
It’s important to understand which of these tools might be right for you and your business needs.
Make learning a lifelong journey and explore what means the most to you and your business.
I’m sure we don’t have to talk about how important referrals are. So, let’s talk about how you get referrals.
For starters, before you can get referrals you have to first be referable. In order to be referable you have to create a first class customer experience.
How do you pick the right referral source?
Make sure your referral sources know how to refer you.
Give them some content to pass along or send an email detailing how you want your business to be referred.
Give multiple points of contact so customers can find you where they like to communicate. Phone, email, text, Facebook, Linked-In, etc.
This should all be set in a methodical system.
Don’t forget about an incentive for your referrals.
A steady stream of referrals is business gold, and will be pay off big time. Take your time and get this process wired tight.
It’s better to put the time into developing a good referral process than it is to get out there and find new clients by yourself.
Since you’ve developed so many good business practices and have been keeping such good data on your clients and prospective clients, you will need to review these processes from time to time.
No strategy lasts very long without needing change.
Every year, take some time to view things from a higher perspective. Is what you are doing now going to work next year?
Are there new tools that could help grow your business?
Review your processes objectively and don’t go easy on yourself.
Remember to show off your own unique style that communicates WHY you do what you do. The WHY is what people will connect with.
Put these tactics to work in a meaningful way and you will find customers are much more excited to work with you, bringing you continued business and the success you desire.
We wish you luck on your journey and, as usual, our marketers are always here to help.
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Tags: Sales Strategies
7 Tips To Close More Insurance Sales
Closing sales isn't just about the words or tactics you use at the end of the sales process.
A strong close requires a foundation built throughout your sales process.
If you don't set yourself up properly before decision-making time, you aren't closing anything, you're simply selling with no direction.
If you are laying the groundwork properly you will have a trajectory through your sales process that will end up with a strong close that works for you and your customer.
Let's review some tips that can help you strengthen your closing game.
⍟ Listen Intently
⍟ Remember, You’re Selling a Solution to a Problem
⍟ Use the Power of Stories
⍟ Limit Your Offer to a Few Good Options
⍟ Highlight the Value to Justify the Price
⍟ Ask the Right Questions and Let Them Close Themselves
⍟ Summarize Previously Agreed Upon Points
1 Listen Intently
Sounds stupid simple right?
While every salesman has ears, not every salesman knows how to listen. Often time they are rehearsing what they are going to say in their head and missing the cues their client is giving them.
It’s important when you meet a client to resist the urge to just jump right into a sales pitch explaining the reasons your prospect should consider a certain product.
It’s very important to remind yourself to avoid that urge and start simple. Start with listening and connecting.
Ask all the questions you need to ask in order to get to know your client better. Ask about their family, show them you are human and they are not just another sale to them.
When you get past the initial introduction and make your connection with your client, get them started with some simple questions that will allow them to explain their needs in regards to whatever type of insurance you may be discussing.
After all, that’s why you’re there, to discover their true needs and solve a problem for them. Give them time to speak and listen intently. Listen to everything they have to say without interruption, and watch their physical cues as well.
Listening intently will answer a lot of your questions upfront as well as inform you as to what type of objections they are stuck on if they haven’t told you directly.
2 Remember, you’re selling a solution to a problem
Once you’ve listened intently to your potential client you have a good idea of their needs. Or, at least, have developed a better set of questions to clarify the problem they are trying to solve.
When you have a good assessment of their needs, then you can start to find the pieces to the puzzle. Armed with this information you are better informed to look at the different product(s) to propose to your client.
Someone focusing on the sale from the word go may have taken the client's word that they are looking for a Med Supp and never would have learned that they could also benefit from Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke coverage.
Approaching your potential clients with a sales consultant strategy, you are positioned to earn their trust and better provide an offer that truly covers their unique coverage needs.
3 Use the power of stories
Storytelling is a powerful way to share any type of information. Human beings are hard-wired to take in information that is framed in a story.
Instead of just giving a list of benefits when discussing coverage, a story can lay out a situation that your client can identify with and better understand the benefits they can realize with a certain coverage.
When you create a story around a product your clients can imagine themselves in that scenario, experiencing the emotions that reveal a need for specific coverage.
While imagining your story they will feel the emotion of the situation and also the relief of having the coverage that could help them avoid a difficult situation.
When you use a story to illustrate something you can still go back to listing facts, figures, and the practical description of a product. Those facts will only enhance their understanding of the product now that they heard it framed in a story.
4 Limit your offer to a few good options
You can’t help but be amazed at the options we have all around us. Regardless of what you’re looking to purchase, it can be mind-boggling trying to choose from all the different options.
This can get even more overwhelming when we are shopping for something as important as insurance coverage.
We’ve all been there. Standing in a store staring at walls of similar products trying to figure out the differences, comparing price, assigning value, etc. Often time, we can’t make a decision so we walk away.
Remember that when you are presenting options to your clients. Ask the right questions to narrow down what their needs are and find the few best options that are best for their situation.
Give them a small number of choices that are truly a good fit and help them understand the benefits of each in simple language. Make sure they understand the options completely before asking them to move forward.
Don't get them bogged down in details. Do the work upfront and let them have an easier time making a choice. You will have greater success, and happier clients if you do.
5 Highlight the value to justify the price
It’s inevitable that the process of comparing products is going to lead to talk about the price. As you know, the price of anything is directly related to the perceived value of what is being paid for.
Hopefully, you have a process of helping your clients understand the clear value and benefits related to having a certain coverage.
Before you get to the stage of comparing costs, all of the benefits of and value of the coverage need to be laid out. Your client needs to have a clear sense of the value before they ever see a price.
It can be hard to explain the benefits in a way that fully appreciates the value that is provided.
This is where storytelling can work wonders. If you can trigger an emotional connection to the benefits coverage provides, you can better impart the true value involved.
6 Ask the right questions, let them close themselves
Before you can help your client you need to know your client.
Asking the right questions to better understand their needs will help you identify the right coverage for your client but it may also make your client aware of coverage needs they weren’t aware of.
By asking probing questions and reviewing what they mean to your client, you are walking them through the process of seeing the value of different types of coverage.
A skilled agent will go through this process and gain trust from their client because they recognize the agent is trying to solve their problem. Building trust in this way will make them more comfortable when it comes to reviewing options and suggestions you provide.
This will also help them uncover the value of the coverage for themselves, reducing any friction they might have.
Anytime you can lead a client to understand the value, as opposed to just telling them the value, you will have a much easier time closing the sale.
7 Summarize previously agreed-upon points
This is a simple and powerful technique that can be easily overlooked, or not quite used to its full effectiveness.
Throughout the process and steps we talked about in the above sections, you will have evoked emotion and hopefully even had a client recount a situation that is similar to the situation you created a story about.
You would have also asked questions like, “Mr. Brady, you’ve mentioned your family’s increased risk for cancer and heart attack, and are concerned about the possible costs of something like that occurring in your life. Would you be interested in seeing how a Cancer, Stroke, and Heart Attack Plan could fit into your coverage plan?”
When the client answers those types of questions they are closing themselves. Once they’ve done that you need to just summarize their agreement with the value you’ve already proved.
The perceived value you’ve described to your client is going to make accepting the cost of the coverage easier to swallow.
Closing is one of the most important skills you can develop. Although, It needs to be thought of in the context of your needs assessment.
Guide your clients through the process of understanding how different forms of coverage can help them by using stories to uncover their emotional connection to the coverage.
If you set up your conversation in the right way and ask the right questions upfront, closing becomes a whole lot easier.
Good luck and happy selling.
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At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included a requirement that Medicaid programs keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, in exchange for enhanced federal funding. Primarily due to the continuous enrollment provision, Medicaid enrollment has grown substantially compared to before the pandemic and the uninsured rate has dropped. But, when the continuous enrollment provision ends, millions of people could lose coverage that could reverse recent gains in coverage.
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, signed into law on December 29, 2022, Congress set an end of March 31, 2023 for the continuous enrollment provision, and phases down the enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds through December 2023. States that accept the enhanced federal funding can resume disenrollments beginning in April but must meet certain reporting and other requirements during the unwinding process.
This brief describes 10 key points about the unwinding of the Medicaid continuous enrollment requirement, highlighting data and analyses that can inform the unwinding process as well as recent legislation and guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help states prepare for the end of the continuous enrollment provision.
10 Reasons to Use E-Applications
Since the Coronavirus lock down, the ability to use e-applications has become a hot topic. The lockdown really highlighted the importance of being able to sell from home and complete applications online.
In an industry based on relationships, it is still possible to conduct business, successfully, and build trust with clients without meeting face-to-face.
There are still ways to connect with customers, such as: over the phone or via video call.
E-Apps give you the flexibility to not be right there with your customer but still be able to get a completed application from them.
Agents are starting to realize the many benefits of filling out applications online. This isn’t relegated to times of mandatory social distancing. There are good reasons agents should be using e-applications all the time, whether we have a quarantine situation or not.E-apps are a great way to submit business. They are quick and easy for agents and clients alike, and can be signed electronically. An application that may take you 30-40 minutes by paper may take you just 10 minutes online.
10 Reasons to Use E-Applications
1. E-Apps Are Quicker
E-apps are a much quicker way to do business. They aren’t just quicker to fill out, the time to process the applications is also sped up. In some cases, turnaround time for approvals can be decreased by up to 2 weeks.
2. Fewer Mistakes With E-Apps
There are far less mistakes with an online application, since the application can alert you if something is missed or input incorrectly.
3. Pre-Qualify your clients
You can pre-qualify your clients by answering required health questions. No waiting days just to find out if they qualify. Find out instantly with most carriers.
4. E-Apps Save Time
In addition to application and approval time savings there are more efficiencies agents gain by using this process. An agent will also benefit from the time not having to drive out to client’s homes as they would with paper applications, not to mention the associated costs of travel.
5. Serve More Clients With the Time You Save
The time gained by using online e-applications can now be put into dealing with more clients, increasing the number of applications that can be submitted compared to the old manual process.
6. Covid Has Made a Virtual Meeting a Friendly Option
People can be hesitant when it comes inviting a stranger into their home. This can make a virtual meeting and e-app option much easier to sell to clients.
7. Get Paid to Submit E-Apps
You heard that right. Most insurance companies are offering bonuses to agents when they use e-apps. Why are they doing this? Because they benefit from the efficiency of online applications just like everyone else does. As agents turn more and more to online applications it allows insurance companies to streamline their business around that process.
8. Quicker Underwriting Approval
Some carriers offer immediate underwriting approval. With these carriers you know on the spot if your client is declined. No more waiting for days just to find out the app was approved or not.
9. Complete Multiple Apps at Once
Some carriers such as Mutual of Omaha and Cigna (as of the date of this article) allow you to submit applications for different plans. Ex. A client that is looking for a Med Supp. and a cancer policy can be done in one pass without the redundant paperwork.
10. Get Paid More Quickly
Since the entire process of completing, submitting and approval of applications is quicker with e-apps, then you will obviously get paid quicker. Getting paid quickly means more money in your pocket in less time. Its hard to argue with those types of benefits.
Don’t think of handling applications online as a novel method to be used in just a few circumstances.
There is no reason not to be using e-apps as often as possible. Using e-applications is simply the best method available right now. It will benefit you, your clients and the carrier if you do.
As always , if you have any questions about the tools we have available to help you become more productive, our experienced marketers are here to help.
Tags: Online Enrollment
6 Tips to Improve Client Communication
(With Tips To Remain Compliant)
Your clients are trusting you to help them with some very important decisions.
It goes without saying that your clients are the backbone of your business. They could also be a continuing source of praise and referrals for years to come, if you treat them properly.
When I say “if you treat them properly”, the measure of that isn’t how well you think they were treated. If your client doesn’t feel like they were treated well, then they weren’t. It’s that simple.
When you meet a client for the first time there is a natural gap between the both of you. That gap is your lack of understanding of their needs and feelings.
The bridge to get you closer to your client is built with communication.
Below are some key aspects of communication that, if done properly, can help ensure you and your client will both benefit from your interactions.
⍟ Be a Careful Listener
⍟ Be Ready to Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time
⍟ Be Empathetic
⍟ Be Honest & Transparent
⍟ Be Clear & Build Rapport
⍟ Be Consistent With Your Follow Up
⍟ Tips to Remain Compliant While Communicating With Clients
These questions will vary depending on your business and your relationship with the client or prospective client.
⍟ Be Empathetic
Empathy is the ability to understand, be aware of and vicariously experience the feelings, thoughts and experience of another.
In order to put empathy into practice you will need to be able to resonate with another persons experiences. You will need to put yourself into a place where you can feel what they’re feeling (to some extent) and understand their situation from their point of view.
This is more than just a simple understanding of what they are going through and a pat on the back. If you can imagine yourself in the circumstance of a client, you should be able to appreciate what they are going through enough to reach a measure of the feeling they are experiencing.
If a client is becoming emotional about anything while you are trying to assess their needs and move them forward, just pause and give them space. Give them time to express themselves, and just listen.
At some point, the fact that you just listened for a time, while they vented, can be enough to get them back around to the issue at hand.
When a client shows a willingness to start discussing business, you have the green light to proceed.
If a client is overly emotional or using an excessive amount of your time in the process, It might be a good time to ask if they would like to re-schedule with you.
" Selling is not something you do to someone, it’s something you do for someone. " - Zig Ziglar
⍟ Be Honest & Transparent
This should be a given, and I almost didn’t include it since it should be so obvious.
Nevertheless, we continue to hear people complain about dishonest sales tactics, or outright lies. People today are skeptical by default. Get caught in a lie or hide information for your own benefit and it will come back to you.
Let’s be clear. Pretending you know something in order to avoid admitting you don’t is a lie. Leaving out important information that your client should know just to get a signature, with the intent to tell them later, or not at all, is dishonest.
In today’s environment, being honest and transparent is seen as a breath of fresh air. There is no reason to be dishonest.
No one is expecting you to be perfect. They will, however, reward you for being honest and acting with integrity.
⍟ Be Clear & Build Rapport
Whether you’re having a conversation in person or or via email, keep your discussions as clear, direct and specific as possible. Avoid over-explaining things when not necessary.
A key to great communication and being understood better by others is adapting your style to the person that you are speaking with.
Through careful listening, being empathetic, honest and truthful, your are building rapport with your client.
If your client uses a direct formal tone, respond in kind. If they are more casual and playful, respond similarly. This is the most direct way to get someone to understand you clearly.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be an entirely different person or change the way you are—but if you want your client to feel a stronger bond with you, you should adapt your communication style to fit theirs.
When you tailor your communication in this way you will find that you will have much more success being understood by your client.
" The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about. "
- Seth Godin
Good follow up is a big part of successful communication. Just because your client enrolled in a plan, doesn’t mean you can forget about them.
If they are confused or unhappy about anything concerning their choice you want to know about it. If you don’t, you can be sure the next agent that talks to them will, and you will no longer have that client.
While there may not be one perfect way to follow up for everyone, there are some general ideas that can help guide you.
For starters, don’t wait to make a follow up appointment with your clients. Follow up appointments should be scheduled at the initial appointment.
Let your client know that you would like to follow up with them and suggest a schedule. Whether that’s 3 days after the initial appointment, 30 days later, 60 days later, that’s up to you, just make sure you discuss it with your client so they agree to the schedule and know what to expect.
Always make it easy for your client to get in touch with you. Make it clear that they can contact you with any questions and give them at least 2 methods of contact.
Some agents send holiday and or birthday cards to their clients. This kind of gesture is up to you, but if others are doing it and you aren’t, what will your clients think when they see a friend get a card from their agent wishing them well for the holidays?
⍟ Tips to Remain Compliant While Communicating With Clients
It’s important to keep compliance in mind with everything you do as an agent. As I’m sure your aware, there are a couple rules to communicating with prospective clients.
We will outline some for reference, but please check with the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines and keep up with Medicare related news for updates. There are many stipulations that depend on your specific situation and they tend to change.
First, let’s mention the Scope of Appointment (SOA). Before you make an in person visit with someone you need to complete an SOA form.
For more specific details on how to complete a Scope of Appointment, see our blog on Scope of Appointment.
Remember, It is now allowable for an agent to contact someone via email without an SOA, as long as you have an opt-out function. For more see our article on Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines.
Don’t forget to ask for referrals! Especially since it is now allowed by the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines, on a one on one appointment.
⍟ The Final Say
There are many techniques and schools of thought on communication. This is one them.
I think it covers some of the important bits. Through experience and practice you will find your own groove. Keep what works but don’t stop learning and trying new things.
We are always learning more about the human mind and how it works. That will inform how people are influenced, and therefore, how you can best reach them.
And, of course, the rules and regulations will continue to evolve.
You must be aware of those regulations if you want to have the opportunity to keep communicating with prospective clients.
If you have any questions, as always, our experienced marketers are here to help.
" The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph. " - Marvin Phillips
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Tags: Sales Strategies