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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

5 Best Ways To Generate Leads

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 @ 12:30 PM

The most successful producers know that one of the keys to success is to make generating leads a strategic objective of the organization. Lead goals should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). It is a principle that we stress during our recruitment process. The reason we bring up this subject is because this month’s issue of Senior Market Advisor has a decent article titled 50 Best Ways to Generate Leads. The tips were selected from numerous submissions sent in by readers and industry leaders.

The tips are redundant and don’t really tell you anything revolutionary, but they serve as an excellent reminder and reinforcement of best practices we should continue to follow in order to generate quality leads. To save you time, we’ve condensed the 50 tips into five and added our own spin on them. Feel free to contribute your own tips in our comments section below.

Focus on Referrals – If you’ve done a great job with your clients, then never be afraid to directly ask for referrals. Your loyal customers are extremely valuable because of this so customer retention is important. Additionally, look to establish referral partners. If your clients have a good experience with the professionals you recommend to them, they will further trust your advice and see you as a solution provider for a range of services.

Leverage Technology Smartly – Not all technology is right for your business. If you know 90% of your market doesn’t use computers, then don’t waste your time creating a Facebook page, a Twitter page, or an E-blast campaign. For example if your goal is to keep your clients continuously updated on the latest news, it may be better to send out text messages to their cell phones rather than through twitter or through an e-blast. Also be aware of how much time you spend tinkering with technology – it may be better spent generating leads the old-fashion way.

Quantify Your Networking – You already know the importance of networking, but are you measuring the effectiveness of your networking? It’s good to set predetermined goals and continually try to improve your numbers. If you are going to a one or two hour event, keep reminding yourself that you need to make an X number of new contacts within that time. How many of these contacts turned into leads? How many of those led to real business? Look back each year and see if the events you attended were the right ones and are worthwhile to attend again.

Target and Customize – In all your marketing efforts take the time to plan and really make your efforts as lean as possible. By lean, I mean as targeted and customized as possible. Some of the ideas proposed in the article were to send out handwritten notes, personal pictures, using names in communications whenever possible, and meeting clients at special times such as their birthday months. Additionally, standing out from your competition is important too. Is anyone else using video testimonials? According to one industry leader, video boosts retention by 50% over live presentations.

The Don’ts – For every thing we should do, there are many actions that we need to avoid. Here is a list of don’ts that you should keep in mind:

* Don’t use mailing labels that lack personalization
* Don’t always copy your competitors – they may be on the wrong path
* Don’t “freestyle” your presentations
* Don’t promote products – promote solutions to problems
* Don’t just rely on one method to acquire leads
* Don’t sell yourself as an expert in more than one or two knowledge areas

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, Medicare Supplement, Customer Retention, Creating Value, Customer Service, Building Client Relationships, Professional Networking, Exciters

5 Methods for Building a Better Brand

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 @ 12:50 PM

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
• Increased customer loyalty and referrals
• Increased mind share among potential and existing customers
• Enhanced ability to attract customers of competing organizations
• Easier sales process

On the flip side, poor brand management can be very detrimental to your business:

• You appear incompetent and/or inferior to the competition
• Lose both existing and potential customers
• You are forgotten immediately
• Very difficult or nearly impossible sales process
• No future growth opportunities

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

PSM Community Update - May 2009

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, May 22, 2009 @ 03:59 PM

With no major developments occurring in our industry this week, we thought this would be an opportune time to update you on developments occurring here as we strive to bring our agents the best products, tools, information, and community. At PSM we not only focus on agent recruiting, but also on agent retention. As such, we want to hear from you on what we can do to help you further your business productivity, from Web site features to administrative services.

Online Contracting
Our most popular tool, online contracting from PSM dramatically improves the convenience of contracting with the competitive carriers that we represent. Now you can contract with multiple companies through an easy 3-step process that takes about 10 minutes and only requires a 1-page fax. Find out more

Med Supp by Phone
Ever wonder how the top producers do it? Its simple - they leverage the latest technology to service a national market. Through a combination of old and new (phone and internet), top producers are selling Medicare supplement products from the Mutual of Omaha companies throughout the United States without ever leaving their offices. Let us show you how

UnitedHealthcare Med Supp & Med Adv Now Available
PSM is proud to now offer what is arguably the most popular medicare supplement product from the nation's leading, senior-oriented non-profit organization. This product is underwritten by UnitedHealthcare, one of the biggest and most stable insurance companies on the market. Tell me more

Poll of the Week
We're really excited about his one. Ever wonder just how many agents think the same way you do on a particular controversial issue? Well now you can find out with our new Poll of the Week feature. Each week we will pose a question or topic that you can vote on. Every Friday we will calculate and post the results from the previous week's poll, as well as post a new poll question. You also have the option to comment on your vote if you feel the need to elaborate on how you feel on a given topic. I will post select comments along with the results. Take me there

Hot or Not Industry News
Yet another cool feature, we now have a page that links to the latest, most relevant news articles on the Web. Additionally, you can vote on each article, as well as make comments. Your votes will either push a given article up or down on the list. Articles will be ordered in terms of popularity. Since our blog is focused only on the biggest industry developments each week, we have added this feature to bring you other recent developments that you may find informative to read about and comment on. Let me vote

Social Media
PSM is now on the three major social networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition to our company page, we have also created the Senior Insurance Agents Group on both LinkedIn and Facebook. This is a great way to directly communicate with other agents throughout the states and to show your affiliation with the insurance for the exploding senior market.

LinkedIn Senior Insurance Agents Page

Facebook Senior Insurance Agents Page

Twitter Page

New Partnerships
When a particular service to our agents falls outside our scope of business, PSM partners with the best companies.

Continuing education credits are a necessity for our agents, so we've joined with 360Training.com to give our agents a discount on online CE courses. Now you can get your CE credits from wherever you have an internet connection. I want to learn more

Lead generation is yet another high-demand service. As such, we have partnered with multiple companies to offer discounts and competitive pricing on an array of lead generation products and services. We are proud to announce our newest partnership with The Directory, Inc., a company that has a wealth of experience, many satisfied customers, and an informative Web site. Let me check them out

Incentives are key in motivating our agents to maximize the potential of the senior market. Despite the current recession, where others are cutting costs, PSM continues to invest in its agents by rewarding superior performance. This time we've partnered with Mutual of Omaha to offer an amazing, 4-day port of choice cruise for agents that place $63,000 in premiums with any of the Mutual companies between May 15 and August 15. For more information call 1-800-998-7715.

Blog Views
Considering our blog has only been live for about 3 months now, we are proud to say that each week we average about 800 page views and are continuing to see growth as word spreads. So for those of you wondering whether anyone reads your comments, well, now you know your potential audience.

Last Thing (We Promise)
In observance of Memorial Day, PSM will be closed on Monday, May 25. Have a great three-day weekend, and thank you for tuning in each week. We hope you find our blog posts to be both informative and intellectually stimulating.

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, senior market blog, Medicare Advantage, Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Senior Market, Customer Retention, health insurance industry, insurance news, Customer Service, Exciters

Senior Market Success in a Recession Series – Tip 2

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Tue, Jan 20, 2009 @ 04:14 PM

Call Your Clients to Alleviate Their Fears

Proactively call your clients to alleviate their fears and concerns
The current recession is worsening everyday and is affecting the vast majority of people and businesses in some way.  One of the segments of society that has been hit hardest is the senior market.  Investments made by many seniors have seen huge losses, causing them to question the security of their retirements.  The doom and gloom stories of mass media are only fueling the concerns of seniors, with many articles spreading FUD.

As an expert, now is the perfect time to call your clients and answer questions, as well as correct any misinformation they may have come across.  Providing answers to their questions will alleviate their fears and concerns and further strengthen your advisor-client relationship.  If you don’t have the answers, work with them to find a solution – an excellent opportunity to cross sell a new product.

Quality in business is all about exceeding customer expectations.  “Exciters” are product and service benefits that excite customers because they don’t expect them.  Exciters are vital to increasing customer loyalty, recommendations, and brand image.  Proactively calling your clients, recession or no recession, is an exciter that is a sure way to grow your business over the long term.  Remember, retaining a current client costs five times less than gaining a new one.

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Senior Market, Customer Retention, Referrals, Quality Management, Exciters

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