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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information
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.
Hispanic Market of Growing Interest to Insurance Agents
Not only are Hispanics the fastest-growing young demographic in the U.S., but they have the longest life expectancy at birth, facts that might interest insurance agents looking to build their books of business.
Underwriters of life insurance policies might also want to take note as the nation becomes more ethnically and racially diverse and as Hispanics continued to be underrepresented in life insurance coverage.
The data are the latest findings published by the National Center for Health Statistics in “Health, United States 2016.”
“By 2015, just over one-half of the child and adolescent population was non-Hispanic white and one-quarter was Hispanic,” study authors wrote in the 488-page report.
The NCHS is the principal data collection agency of the Centers for Disease Control within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
There were about 321 million people in the U.S. in 2015, compared with 216 million in 1975.
In 2015, nearly a quarter (24.6 percent) of the population ages 0 to 17 years old was Hispanic, an increase from 17.1 percent in 2000, as that age segment grew fastest.
Hispanics ages 18 to 64 years old made up 17.3 percent of the population, an increase from 12.2 percent in 2000, the report found.
Hispanics 65 years and older made up 7.9 percent of the population in 2015, an increase from 5 percent in 2000, the health data found.
By comparison, in 2015 whites made up 51.5 percent of the population age 0 to 17 years old compared with 61.3 percent in 2000.
In 2015 whites 18 to 64 years old made up 61.5 percent of the population, compared with 70 percent in 2000. Whites 65 years and older made up 77.8 percent compared with 83.8 percent in 2000, the data show.
Life Expectancy Highest Among Hispanics
That the nation’s population is moving toward racial and ethnic diversity isn’t exactly new, but the latest mortality data about Hispanics might be.
During 1975-2015, average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. rose from 68.8 years to 76.3 years for men and from 76.6 years to 81.2 years for women.
In 2015, Hispanic men had a life expectancy at birth, on average, of 79.3 years and Hispanic women had an expectancy of 84.3 years.
Non-Hispanic black men, with a life expectancy at birth of 71.8 years and non-Hispanic black women, with a life expectancy of 78.1 years, had the shortest, according to the data.
Life expectancy at birth was 7.5 years longer for Hispanic men than for non-Hispanic black men and 6.2 years longer for Hispanic women than for non-Hispanic black women.
The leading cause of death in 2015 was heart disease, which claimed 23.4 percent of all deaths, the data show.
Heart disease was followed by cancer (22 percent), CLRD, or chronic lower respiratory disease, (5.7 percent), unintentional injuries (5.4 percent), stroke (5.2 percent), Alzheimer’s (4.1 percent), diabetes (2.9 percent), influenza and pneumonia (2.1 percent), nephritis and nephrosis, or kidney disease (1.8 percent), and suicide (1.6 percent).
From 2011 to 2014, diabetes, a condition in which the body is deprived of insulin, affected 12 percent of adults age 20 and older.
From 1988 to 1994, diabetes affected 8.8 percent of adults 20 and older, the data show.
Between 2011 to 2014, the prevalence of diabetes among blacks and Hispanics of Mexican origin was almost twice as high than for non-Hispanic whites, the data found.
5 Prospecting Methods That
It’s no surprise that prospecting is the No. 1 challenge advisors face, year after year. When, as part of National Underwriter’s recent Independent Producer Study, we asked about the most challenging aspects of selling insurance products, 55 percent of respondents named prospecting as their top trial. It was a landslide winner, in fact, beating such formidable obstacles as clients’ lack of understanding around the need for insurance (34%), negative opinions of insurance products (25%) and product affordability (22%).
As you look to overcome this challenge in the year ahead, keep these five techniques in mind. While there’s no silver bullet to make prospecting a breeze, these are the methods your peers know from experience to really work.
A steady stream of qualified referrals is the lifeblood of any agency. Eighty-two percent of survey respondents cited referrals as the most effective way to prospect for new business, and for good reason: No other method will provide greater bang for your buck, so to speak. Having a solid referral-generating process in place will ensure not only that you are constantly introduced to new prospects, but that you are constantly introduced to the right prospects — the ones that meet your Ideal Client profile.
Referral expert Bill Cates suggests growing your referral network by being careful to keep referral sources informed about how you are following up on their help. This communicates that you value their insight and advice. Says Cates: “When someone gives you a referral, there are three things you MUST do to keep the referrals coming from that source: a) Follow up on every referral you get as soon as possible; b) Let your source know that you are following up on their help; c) Thank your referral source with a handwritten note and a small gift.”
At 34 percent, community involvement was named the second most effective prospecting technique. It’s Branding 101: The more people who associate your name with a positive message, the more clients you will have. Jim Brogan, president and founder of Brogan Financial in Knoxville, Tenn., makes community involvement a cornerstone of his practice, and has seen a boom in business as a result – not to mention a greater satisfaction and sense of fulfillment in the work he does each day. He encourages financial advisors to ask these questions as they consider how to get involved in their community: How many people in your community know who you are and what you do? If they hear the name of your business, what is the brand they associate with it? Is your brand different than any other financial advisor in town? Do you have a unique message and marketing initiative that helps you stand out from the crowded field of financial advisory firms?
Leading a seminar serves two important purposes: First, it establishes you as a thought leader in your area of specialty; second, it puts you in front of a group of prospects that have already expressed interest in your product line. Twenty percent of our survey respondents cited this as an effective prospecting technique – and while it may be tried-and-true, there are plenty of ways to tailor your seminar approach for today’s buyers. Industry coach Kerry Johnson suggests shunning the somewhat dated dinner seminar and instead holding a Social Security seminar designed purely to educate prospects. The overhead will be lower and, in many cases, the conversion of prospects to clients will be higher. Johnson notes: “Since you have taken away the motivation to get a free meal, the attendees are left with solving retirement problems. This is your retirement planning sweet spot.”
It may sound old-school, but cold calling can still work according to 15 percent of our advisors. In fact, picking up the phone beat out sexier methods such as social media (7%) and advertising on the radio or television (5%). Coach Kelley Robertson acknowledges that cold calling is tough, but asserts emphatically that it is not dead. To see results, you must put in the time you would with any other prospecting technique — and, of course, have thick skin. Robertson’s advice to agents: “You need to make a lot of dials. You need to target the right companies. You need a compelling opening. And you need to speak to the right people.”
Just under 15 percent of respondents cited direct mail as an effective prospecting technique — and J. Ryan Parker, general manager of Element Financial Group thinks the number of agents that prospect this way may actually be much higher, while also noting that it should not be a stand-alone prospecting method. Says Parker: “I think a lot of prospecting still revolves around direct mail — more so than people realize [because] seminars are powered by direct mail. This is obviously not the most cost-effective way of marketing yourself; you can probably spend a lot less money doing this on the Internet. But the clients producers are looking to reach, the seniors and the boomers, just aren’t as prone to go to Google and look something up. This is why more of your successful planners are still using direct mail. That said, online needs to be part of every producer’s prospecting strategy because it streamlines the business process. If I get a lead from the Internet, it automatically enters into my CRM, and we can follow-up from there. Internet is absolutely critical for today’s producers.”
With more than 11 million Americans comparing and purchasing new Medicare Supplement policies nationwide each year and all of the technology in this day and age, why would you limit your senior market insurance business to your home state? Precision Senior Marketing is here to share with you where those policy holders reside so that you may get licensed in those states and begin selling Medigap from virtually anywhere.
The data to follow is based upon a recent press release from the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, alongside some research we’ve conducted upon the occupational employment and wages of insurance sales agents made available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and an article Pew Research Center dropped back in July titled, “Where do the oldest Americans live?”
Florida: 730,177 individuals holding Med Supp policies
The Sunshine State is home to more than two million individuals age 65 and older. If you're already licensed to sell Medigap policies in Florida (which you should be), some hot areas where you may inquire about purchasing prospecting lists include Panama City, Lynn Haven, Panama City Beach and the Northwest Florida nonmetropolitan area. If you’re in or around the Panhandle area, these spots might be worth a face-to-face visit considering that they are relatively close to each other and have a high senior-to-agent ratio, meaning the opportunity to convert leads to customers would be significantly high.
Illinois: 690,858 individuals holding Med Supp policies
More than one million individuals age 65 and older reside in the Land of Lincoln. If you’re licensed in Illinois and have a website, you might want to invest some time and money into SEO. Areas where there are an abundant number of seniors and just a few agents in the field include the Kankakee-Bradley area, Danville and Decatur. If you haven’t quite yet made the leap to capitalize on a website for your senior market insurance business, internet lead vendors like Get Seen Media can assist you in expanding your reach by providing 100% search-based, quality leads through platforms such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Texas: 675,379 individuals holding Med Supp policies
Like Florida, the great home state of PSM has more than two million individuals age 65 and over. While you certainly may be familiar with our slogan “Don’t Mess with Texas”, we combat that notion by encouraging you to get licensed in the Lone Star State and get contracted with Transamerica Premier (that is if you aren’t already an appointed agent) Why Transamerica Premier? It just so happens that they’ve got a highly competitive Medigap policy in Texas right now and an electronic application to help you write business over the phone, so request the details today before your competition beats you to it! To make the absolute most out of your new business opportunity, generate pre-qualified prospects with a mailing program that targets areas such as San Angelo, Victoria and the Southern Texas nonmetropolitan area. In addition to mail-back leads, our friends at Kramer Direct offer a toll-free phone service for receiving call-back leads for non-Texas natives. They also offer an exclusive discount to agents contracted with PSM, so get in touch with them today!
Pennsylvania: 634,643 individuals holding Med Supp policies
One million individuals age 65 and older reside in the same state where both our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed. Agents who have a website for their senior market insurance business and are either living or licensed to sell in the Keystone State should invest in SEO for hot areas such as Williamsport and Altoona. These areas are where you may find the highest population of seniors in Pennsylvania. If you’re looking for internet lead vendors who can filter by state, location and even medical conditions, take a peep at Get Seen Media. Feel free to reach out to our Account Representative, Adam Clancy, who can provide you with quality leads generated through search engine platforms such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Bonus tip: Recently, we’ve conducted some research and have found that Companion Life is has a highly competitive Medicare Supplement in Pennsylvania. Be sure to request details and get contracted A.S.A.P.!
New Jersey: 500,694 individuals holding Med Supp policies
With more than one million individuals age 65 and older calling the Garden State “home”, New Jersey holds countless opportunities for senior market insurance agents. If you’re in or around the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton area, it might be advantageous of you to head to an independently-owned golf course nearby and ask the owner if he or she would be willing to accept a donation of 1,000 (or more) score cards if, in exchange, you were granted the opportunity to place a small ad upon them in the printing process. The Ocean City area is a pretty hot spot for seniors, too! Once spring finally rolls around, you’ve got a perfect excuse to plan a day trip for face-to-face meetings with clients in the area and catch some rays on the Pier.
California: 427,108 individuals holding Med Supp policies
Eureka! With more than two million people age 65 and over, it’s safe to say that the Golden State is a hot spot for seniors to reside. Many of them tend to live within the Madera-Chowchilla area and the Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area. Before making a trek across the state if you happen to be in or around the areas, it might be advantageous of you to inquire about some qualified internet leads from our friends at ProspectZone within those zones.
North Carolina: 425,904 individuals holding Med Supp policies
North Carolina has more than one million persons age 65 and older, making it a great spot to target when selling Medigap policies. Targeting areas in North Carolina like Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Jacksonville with a mailer piece would most likely generate a high ROI, as we've found that there is a dense population of seniors and very few agents within the field. Check out How To Master the Art of Direct Mail Lead Generation by Allyn Kramer of Kramer Direct and then give them a shout if you're interested!
New York: 398,035 individuals holding Med Supp policies
With more than two million individuals age 65 and over, it’d be smart to get contracted in the Empire State. Surely, our friends at ProspectZone would love to hook you up with qualified internet leads in areas such as Glens Falls, where there happens to be a high senior-to-agent ratio, or even elsewhere. If you’re familiar with Smart Leads™, which is a program that extracts data from interested prospects in real-time, they happen to be the creator of it. Cool, huh?! Linking up with ProspectZone will also give you access to innovative tools to help improve ROI, so check ‘em out today!
Michigan: 393,229 individuals holding Med Supp policies
More than one million individuals age 65 and older live in the only state that resembles one of the most popular pieces of must-have winter apparel (a mitten). Hot areas to target with a mailer piece include Bay City and the Muskegon-Norton Shores area, which happens to be a popular spot for seniors to call “home”. Our friends at Laser Image can estimate approximately how many leads are available for you to reach in these zip codes and you only pay a price per lead with their new Medicare Supplement Cost Per Lead program. You can even choose from their lead menu which lead piece you want to use! Variety is always nice, right?
Virginia: 343,765 individuals holding Med Supp policies
While Virginia has a bit less than one million individuals age 65 and older, it still holds vast opportunities for your senior market insurance business whether you happen to reside in the state or not. Our tips for you are to: 1. Get licensed to sell in the oldest of the original 13 colonies (if you haven’t already) and 2. Give our friends at Laser Image a buzz to find out more about their new Medicare Supplement Cost Per Lead program. He would love to help you set up a mailer that targets areas such as Harrisonburg, Danville, Winchester and the Northeastern Virginia nonmetropolitan area, where there’s only a few other agents in the field. As a bonus, you’ll also have free access to LeadForce, which is their lead management tool, to organize and work your leads. Find out more about Laser Image’s unique cost per lead program on our site by giving this link a click.
Another lead vendor you may want to get in touch with is USADATA. If you’re an appointed agent with Mutual of Omaha, they’ll hook you up with an exclusive discount on leads. Their lists are not only affordable, but also come pre-scrubbed against FTC and State Attorney General Do Not Call Registries and the DMA’s Do Not Mail file.
For more information upon how to go about getting licensed in different states, selling Med Supps by phone, or any other questions you may have, feel free to reach out to our expert team of marketers today at + 1 (800) 998-7715. We’d love to help you expand your reach in states outside of home.
While surfing Facebook, you come across a local senior market insurance agent's page and see that he or she got a couple dozen people to slap some stars down and write a pleasant sentence or two about him.
Facebook page reviews go beyond just twinkling stars and kind words: they provide valuable real estate that opens new doors, re-opens old ones and presents new business opportunities that weren't previously apparent.
By neglecting the reviews section on your Facebook page, you're likely losing out on deals you could be winning. So, how exactly do you begin generating revenue from this valuable real estate? Read through this post to understand core ways that Facebook page reviews can benefit you.
Generating new business from existing clients
Be proactive in collecting Facebook page reviews by asking your clients to write them. Not only will this extra outreach [hopefully] add to your collection of positive reviews, but also serve as an excellent opportunity to reconnect with them.
For example, let's say you were to contact a client asking for a review who you had previously sold a Medicare Advantage policy. The client could then inquire about a hospital indemnity product to compliment their existing MA policy. And BOOM - just like that, an existing client would bring in new business from your outreach.
Cataloging case studies
Think of your Facebook page reviews section as an archive of case studies available to you when brainstorming new marketing materials to promote your business, such as email campaigns, presentations or proposals.
Use your Facebook page to your advantage by pointing prospects to reviews from clients facing challenges similar to their own. The larger your library, the better the odds.
Building trust with prospective clients
When a prospect stumbles upon your Facebook page, they are granted an opportunity to see what other senior clients may have to say about doing business with you.
Encourage your clients to drop by your Facebook page and vocalize their opinion upon how you were an essential and influential resource in guiding them to select a plan that best-suits their healthcare needs. Not only does this build trust with prospective clients, but also relays social proof.
While you may not have previously deemed Facebook page reviews as valuable assets in your sales process, hopefully these core examples show how they can be. Implement these practices, and you'll quickly begin winning deals you may have been previously losing.