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MACRA: Plan Changes and Eligibility

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 @ 12:45 PM

macra eligibility explained

MACRA - Plan
and Eligibility Changes 

Due to some recent confusion over plan changes and eligibility from the recent Medicare Access and CHIP Re authorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), we thought we would try to provide some clarity.

      • If a consumer is eligible for Medicare Part A prior to January 1st 2020, they will not lose eligibility to enroll into Plans C or F and may still purchase the plans in 2020 and beyond. Effectively, nothing changes for this group of Medicare beneficiaries.

      • Changes to MACRA will prohibit first dollar, out of pocket coverage of all claims on Plan F, High Deductible Plan F and Plan C, requiring *newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries to pay some of the cost of their medical care that was once covered entirely by one of these plans.

      • If a consumer is eligible for Medicare Part A starting January 1st 2020 or beyond, then they will not be eligible to enroll or purchase Plans C, F or HDF as an option for Medicare supplement plans. They will continue to have access to all other Medicare supplement plans.

      • For *newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries who can no longer purchase Plans C or Plan F in 2020, Plans D and Plan G will become the new “Guaranteed Issue” plans of choice.

        *Note: “Newly eligible” is defined as those who turn 65 (or otherwise qualify) on, or after, the law goes into effect, or who first become eligible for Medicare Part A after January 1st, 2020.


MACRA - Eligibility Chart 2

MACRA - Eligibility Chart 1

Information not applicable for all states


Keep it clear and simple

It’s understandable that there might be confusion over the changes. As an agent you will need to clarify and explain the changes to your clients, as well as what plans may be good alternatives in the absence of Plans C & F.

Plans D, G and N will likely move into favor that was once held by Plans C & F for these newly eligible beneficiaries going forward. Discuss the options with your clients and see what fits them best based on their unique situation.

As always, our marketers are here to help.

 

Other Related Articles

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Learn How to Sell Medicare Advantage Plans

14 Ways to Generate Medicare Leads

Tags: Sales Strategies

7 Ways to Grow Your Insurance Business

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Nov 14, 2019 @ 08:50 AM

businesss growth v2


7 Ways to Grow Your Insurance Business

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. But the right effort in the right places can pay off in spades.

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.

Section Links

 Find Your Unique Value
 Improve Your Communication Skills

 Create a Client Communication Strategy
 Leverage all Media Channels
 Continue to Learn
 Create a Referral System
 Take Time to Review and Evaluate


Find your unique value

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? Maybe you have a family member that had a hard time accessing health care as they got older, and now you want to help people avoid that situation.

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. Use it to describe not just what you do but who you are. Avoid a business introduction that just says “I sell this or that product”.

People don’t really care what products you sell. There are plenty of people selling those same products.

Potential clients will only care what you sell when they find out how much you care about helping them.

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. When they show interest, answer their questions from that perspective, tying in products that might help them.


“ People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. ” 
- Simon Sinek


Improve your communication skills

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.


Create a client communication strategy

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):


Communication Frequency

How often will you communicate with the client? This may vary per client.

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.


Tone and Style

This may depend on your take-a ways from a client meeting. What was their tone and communication style? How can you best be in rapport with your client? Make sure you understand their method of communication and mirror that to them. 


Preferred channels

Do they prefer phone call only? Email and phone call? Skype?

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.


Event Specific Communication

Is there a birthday or other important event that might trigger a specific communication?


Deliverable

Did you promise anything to the client? Forms, Product info? A cool t-shirt with your face on it? This is critical as you need to follow through on your promises.

Obviously there are endless items you may take notes on. You will need to identify the most important items for your clients and your specific needs.

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. ” 
- Jim Rohn

 
Leverage all media channels

There are a number of ways to reach out to your potential clients. You should experiment with each and decide which work best for your business.

We can break these different ways down into 3 categories: Owned, Earned, and Paid media. Let’s define them real quick.

Owned Media 

This includes your brand’s website, blog, social media feeds, and any other media you own and control.

Just to clarify, you may not own a social media platform like Facebook, but you do control your presence on the platform.

Earned Media 

This includes channels that are controlled by your customers and media outlets. This is the media that is spread without you having to pay for it.

Content you share on social media is Earned Media. Mentions of your Brand on other domains or press coverage is Earned Media, as well as links on other posts that support your brand.

It’s considered earned for obvious reasons. If you want to benefit from it, you have to earn it.

Paid Media 

This includes outlets that will promote your brand for a cost. There are many types of advertisement or sponsored content that fall into this category.

This type of media exists on business owned channels that will not show up organically through web searches or on social media. They will exist as an ad placement only.

Try as many as you see fit, but don’t use just one. Use multiple channels and you will find a much greater success.


Continue to learn

As an entrepreneur you’re expected to have a knowledge base that covers a lot of ground. From your own industry to business fundamentals, marketing, communication, and on and on.

Even if you have a solid knowledge of all of those things, everything is changing at hyper speed today.

Luckily online learning has come a long way in recent years. There are endless ways to study just about any subject, and get it done quickly and inexpensively.

Sites like Udemy and Coursera, among others, have an amazing line up of courses that are very affordable and self paced.

Business technology is also changing at a break neck pace. Whether it’s a social media platform or a CRM software, you can’t afford to get left behind.

It’s important to understand which of these tools might be right for you and your business needs. If you don’t, you can be sure your competitors will.

Make learning a lifelong journey and explore what means the most to you and your business. Stay out in front of coming changes, or you risk getting run over by them.


Create a referral system

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? Maybe it’s a client that is very appreciative of the work you do, or maybe a local business with customers in common that could bring referrals your way.

Make sure your referral sources know how to refer you. Don’t leave anything to chance.

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. There are software applications that can really streamline this process. Decide what works best for you, just make sure you take the time to do this right.

Don’t forget about an incentive for your referrals. You want to be referred over and over again, so make it worthwhile to those referring you.

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.


“ The purpose of a business is to create customers who create customers. ” 
- Shiv Singh

 

Take time to review and evaluate

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. How will you know if your strategy is working? Should anything be changed, added?

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. If you see something that could be changed for the better, set goals to change it.

Conclusion

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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Other Related Articles

Medicare Communication and Marketing Guidelines

How to Decide What to Write on Your Insurance Blog

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Tags: Sales Strategies

6 Tips To Improve Client Communication

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Fri, Nov 08, 2019 @ 04:24 PM

6 Tips to Improve Client Communication
(With Tips To Remain Compliant)

6 tips on communicating more effectively with your client

 

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.

Section Links

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



Be a Careful Listener

Sometimes the best way to listen is to allow a little pause after a client is done speaking. You don’t always need to respond. A space of silence can encourage your client to offer more of what they are thinking and feeling.

This will give you the best insight into what your client is thinking or what objections they may have.

Note: If you’re just nodding while thinking about what you’re going to say next, you aren’t listening.


" Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. "  - Stephen R. Covey


⍟ Be Ready to Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

Powerful questions are your key to understanding the thoughts and emotion your clients are experiencing. The goal is to understand their fears, goals and desires.

The Powerful questions are those that allow you to understand the motivation behind your clients decisions.

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 push 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 then 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


Be Consistent With Your Follow Up

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.

Happy selling.


" The difference between try and triumph is just a little umph. "   
  - Marvin Phillips

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How to Decide What to Write on Your Insurance Blog

Learn How to Sell Medicare Advantage Plans

14 Ways to Generate Medicare Leads

Tags: Sales Strategies

How To Deal With Difficult Customers

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Oct 14, 2019 @ 01:23 PM

How to Deal with Difficult Customers


Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

dealing with difficult customersAlthough you can learn a lot from an unhappy customer, a big part of running a successful business is keeping long term, happy customers.

When your customers are happy your business will grow. When they are not, you may start to have problems.

There are many different types of difficult customers you may encounter. Some may just require more information. Some may just be rude and disrespectful.

Whatever the situation, it’s important to know how too deal with anything that arises.

Below, is an Infographic from Fundera that lays out nicely how to respond to a number of different types of difficult customers.

Always try to learn from each of your experiences. If a customer responds to your efforts positively, learn from that experience so you can do it again.

If a customer just wouldn’t come around, remember that too. If you can identify that type of customer sooner, you can save yourself time and frustration in the future.

Just remember, if you are not able to connect with the customer and turn things around quickly, you are likely eating into your bottom. Don't wait too long before cutting your losses.


difficult-customers

 

 
 

Tags: Sales Strategies

How to Close a Sale: 7 Closing Techniques & Why They Work

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, May 06, 2019 @ 03:05 PM

How to Close a Sale


Closing is a make-or-break moment in sales. Choosing the right phrases to seal a sales deal is crucial. And this moment is likely the final verdict determining whether or not your efforts will amount to anything at all.

You're not the only salesperson who feels apprehensive about the close. However, without that feeling of risk, successfully closing a sale wouldn't be so thrilling -- which drives salespeople to continually strive for more.

Because sales professionals are expected to generate the best possible win rates for their effort, a large number of closing sales techniques have been developed over the years.

Here are a few proven closing techniques, and why they're so effective.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-closing-techniques-and-why-they-work

Image: www.Canva.com

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: closing sales, Sales Strategies

Email or Call? The Best Way to Reach Out to a Prospect For the First Time

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 02:25 PM

Email or Call? The Best Way to Reach Out to a Prospect For the First Time

computer data and notebooks


For years, there's been a debate raging in the sales community: When reaching out to a prospect for the first time, should you call or email?

After all, first interactions with prospects are key -- you're aiming to establish trust, provide value, gather key information, and perhaps even secure a follow-up meeting. If you don't use the right medium, they'll be less receptive to your message (and that's assuming they engage at all).

Luckily for sales reps everywhere, more than 20 sales experts and practitioners on Quora decided to weigh in.

The Best Way to Reach Out to a Prospect For the First Time

When In Doubt, Email First

The majority of experts recommended starting with an email. "An initial email usually makes more sense because it doesn't require [the prospect to] answer at the moment they receive it," writes Robert Graham, author of Cold Calling Early Customers.

Plus, as others pointed out, you can use an email as a reason to call.

"I always start by referring to this first email to show we're one step further in our relationship," explains Stan Frering, head of Client Relationship Management for Easytrip France.

Emailing has a third advantage over calling, according to EchoSign co-founder Jason Lemkin. It lets you educate your prospect on the product's value proposition, and clearly connect it with the prospect's situation.

"The prospect needs to understand the value proposition first," he explains. "It needs to be very strong, and very clear. No one will take a random call about a product they've never heard of it's not 100% crystal clear they have a huge, pre-defined need for it."

When to Ignore the Email-First Rule

However, there is one exception to the "email first" rule.

Lemkin says once your brand has been established, it's time to start calling your prospects.

"If your prospect has already heard of [your company], they'll know if they want to speak to you about the product and learn more about buying," Lemkin writes.

For example, say you're a salesperson for Dropbox. You call a prospect and say, "Hi John, I'm with Dropbox, and I noticed your CEO tweeted that your company is almost out of free virtual storage. I'd love to discuss how we could get you some more so you can keep all your files in one place."

John already knows Dropbox and understands why it's a useful product -- so he's got a good reason to stay on the phone.

However, if you were selling a brand-new cloud storage solution, Lemkin argued that it would be better to send John an email first so he has more time to consider your value prop.

Not sure how much clout your company name carries? To quickly gauge brand awareness, go to Google Trends and compare how many people are searching for your company versus your top competitors. If your company gets the most searches, that means it probably has the highest name recognition in your space.

A Better Method Than Phone Or Email?

But to one expert, the question of "phone vs. email" is innately flawed.

SVP at LivePerson Sean Burke says that, in fact, your default shouldn't be calling or emailing. He recommends using your network to get an introduction -- great advice, considering that having a referral makes a buyer five times more likely to engage.

"You'd be surprised how often this crucial first step is ignored," Burke writes.

Once your mutual connection has agreed to introduce you, ask him or her which communication method the prospect prefers. Most people have an individual preference for calling or emailing.

However, if you don't have a shared connection, Burke suggests looking at the prospect's social media presence. If she is "social" -- meaning she's got 500-plus LinkedIn connections and an active Twitter or Instagram account -- use those channels to interact with her and start adding value. If she's "traditional" -- meaning she doesn't meet those criteria -- Burke gives you the go-ahead to call or email.

Whatever You Do, Don't Cold Call or Spam

While opinions differed on the relative merits of calls vs. email vs. social media, the experts were unanimous on one point: You should never reach out to a prospect via any channel without doing research first.

"Ultimately, you are in a much better position -- either calling or emailing -- if you have background information on the person you are contacting," notes Jeremy Boudinet, head of marketing for Ambition. "That way, you can tailor your message off the bat, since you have an idea of how you can add value to that person or company."

Sales Email or Sales Call? Experiment and Find Out

Although these guidelines should definitely guide your prospecting strategy, don't forget they're just that: guidelines. "Why not take a test-and-learn approach to this problem?" writes Nick Dellis, Weebly's VP of Business Development. "What works for you may not work for others."

Dellis suggests emailing first, then calling with 10 to 20 prospects, doing the reverse with another 10 to 20 prospects, and comparing the results.

"Taking this approach of testing ideas and optimizing is the only way to find out for yourself," he says. "And it'll help you be a better salesperson in the longer term."

First Contact Email

If you choose to start the conversation with an email, be sure you include a rapport-building element and communicate your value proposition.

Not sure what a first contact email should look like? Here's an email template you can use to start your outreach.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/the-best-way-to-reach-out-to-a-prospect-for-the-first-time

Image: Freepik

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: Sales Tips, sales advice, Sales Strategies

How to do one thing at a time

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 @ 10:50 AM

How To Do One Thing At A Time

one thing at a time

In his 2013 book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, author Gary Keller reminds us that everyone has 24 hours in a day. So why do some people earn more, achieve more and get more done? They “go small,” he says:

“When you want the absolute best chance to succeed at anything you want, your approach should always be the same. Go small. ‘Going small’ is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”

Going small to follow one path sounds easy, but there are fresh opportunities and shiny objects around every corner. Distraction is everywhere. There are times when you want to test the waters, and creativity often requires sampling. But if you truly want to move the needle, it demands a narrow field of vision.

For example, our company always chooses an annual focus area. Last year was about data. Across all our teams and functions, everyone worked to boost user productivity by leveraging data. That task looks different for each employee, but we’re aligned with a single, shared goal. When you focus on what’s important, the results can be incredible. 

Lay out all the options and pick what really, truly matters. Set your focus area and stick to it.

Start as small as possible

The advice to “go small” works on multiple levels. Choosing your goal or main project is the first step. Then, once you know what you’re trying to achieve, zoom in closer.

When we’re working on a major project, I always try to step back and ask: “What’s the smallest version we could create that would still produce results?” Once you have that mini version, gather feedback. Refine and work your way up to a bigger, better model. Keep going, and you’ll achieve more than you thought was possible.

Create automated systems

Technology is far from foolproof, and until recently, our admins were constantly tackling server issues at 3 a.m. Every time it happened, I reiterated the need to find a real solution – one that didn’t require midnight wake-ups.

Eventually, we installed automated tools that tell us, for example, when our servers are 80% full. They notify us again when the servers reach 85% capacity. Now we never hit that 95% panic zone. We’ve automated an issue that drained our focus.

Systems aren’t exciting, but they are essential. Create efficient processes and automate as many steps as possible. You’ll free up valuable time and energy to stay focused on your “one thing.”

Designate a leader

Sports teams need coaches and captains. Orchestras need conductors. Group activities almost always function better when someone’s leading the way, even if the work is highly collaborative. At JotForm, all of our cross-functional product teams have leaders – and good ones dramatically increase both focus and productivity.

So what makes a strong leader? In my experience, it’s someone who can make quick, smart decisions. They listen closely, gather information and make choices that move the group closer to its goals.

If you’re working solo, it’s equally important to step back from your daily tasks and measure what matters. Be your own leader. You can always reach out for help, too. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, mentor or advisor, a different perspective is often highly valuable – but remember that the final decisions are always yours.

Explore – within your boundaries

All this talk of single-minded focus can sound really dull, especially if you’re a creative person. I get it. But doing one thing at a time isn’t about boring yourself into efficiency. There can still be room for exploration if you create clear boundaries. Build your sandbox, and then you can play in it.

Because we spend a full year chasing one big goal, our teams are welcome to follow some tangents along the way. There’s no rush to the finish line. I also realize that off-the-wall ideas can spark innovation, so we encourage experimentation.

If your team is eager to explore, set some markers so you don’t get lost. For example, our Friday ‘demo days’ are the time when everyone checks in and shows what they’ve done. If a team has gone off the rails, we can gently bring them back on track. Usually, though, we’re excited about what they’ve accomplished.

You can set up markers as a solopreneur as well. Think of your project as a large circle that contains lots of smaller circles or checkpoints. Once you have those boundaries in place, you’re free to wander.

Set tech limits

In a 2010 study published in the journal Science, Harvard University psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert discovered that people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing.

Even more striking? Distractions make us unhappy. As Killingworth explains, “Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness. In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”

That’s a stunning thought: being focused can actually make you feel better, regardless of what you’re doing. From starting a business to finishing a spreadsheet (without checking Instagram), single-tasking will not only help you achieve great results, but you’ll enjoy the process a lot more.

Startup gurus and productivity experts have endless suggestions to help you stay focused, but here’s what consistently works for me:

Box your time. Creating time limits is oddly motivating (and effective). Whatever you want to do, try ‘boxing’ it into a set time period and ignore distractions, including email, calls, texts, making coffee, alphabetizing your bookshelf or grooming the cat. Get laser-focused for that set period of time and then take a break. Repeat as needed. You can apply this same principle to projects, teams, products or just about anything else that requires true focus.

Box your energy. We all have energy limits. Even the so-called “sleepless elite” (high performers like Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi and fashion designer Tom Ford) will eventually run out of fuel. Doing one thing at a time will preserve your precious energy. And just like time-boxing, you can get even more intentional about shifting your energy toward what matters.

For example, if I have a big interview or presentation on my calendar, I’m careful about what I schedule around it. I try to avoid meetings. I get more sleep. I eat more leafy greens and I do what I can to stay relaxed. I’m ‘boxing’ my energy toward an important goal.

Make a clean break

In June 2018, the makers of a message board app surveyed more than 11,000 employees at 30 of the biggest technology companies. They asked: Are you currently suffering from job burnout? More than 57% of participants said yes.

Many people are struggling to stay on what can feel like a treadmill without a ‘stop’ button. The tech-fueled blur between work and personal time can be difficult – and confusing. And if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, it’s all in your hands.

The solution? Create as many boundaries as you can, within your sphere of influence. As much as possible, separate work from your personal life. I know this might sound overly simple, but even if you work from home, it’s up to you to create real limits.

Set office hours, for example, and don’t clock in outside those periods. When I leave the office, I do everything I can to leave work there, too. I want to be present for my family. I want to enjoy my time with them – and I need to rest and recover. I don’t work on the weekends, either. If I do have a new idea on Sunday afternoon, for example, I’ll send a quick note to myself (but I won’t dig into it).

If I want to share something with a team member, I will send them an email, but I’ll write ‘FOR MONDAY’ in the subject line. If I see emails at night, I remind people that they should wait until the next morning (and then I try to take my own advice).

Take real time off

I can’t say it enough. Even if you’re working hard to build a business or accomplish great things, downtime is not optional. You need to rest. Your body needs to recover, your brain needs to consolidate all those inputs, and you’ll be infinitely happier and more productive if you give yourself a break.

The data confirms it: After a vacation, 64% of people say they’re “refreshed and excited to get back to [their] job.” Hiking in nature and staying disconnected from all devices for four days can lead to a 50% spike in creativity. If employees took just one extra day of paid leave each year, the result would add $73 billion in output to the US economy.

So, whether you’re crafting a business plan, writing a novel, lifting weights or perfecting your Bolognese sauce, give it everything you have. Do that one most important thing and then move on. It’s that simple – and that powerful.

Source: https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/us/business-strategy/how-to-do-one-thing-at-a-time-161803.aspx 

Image: Freepik

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Tags: Sales Tips, Sales Strategies

How to Develop Empathy with Your Prospects and Close More Sales

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 09:26 AM

How to Develop Empathy with Your Prospects and Close More Sales

(Photo: Pexel)

The robots are coming. And they're here to take your sales job.

At least, that's what we're afraid of. It might be true that technology can be integrated into many steps of the sales process. But, thankfully, it can't do everything.

For now, there are a number of skills computers can't learn, and one of those is our human ability to create empathetic connections with prospects and customers.

This is a key ability for the modern seller. Develop empathy and you'll enjoy more effective sales conversations. More importantly, you'll build a skill set that’s in demand and hard to replace with technology.

What is Empathy?

Quite simply, empathy is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person and respond appropriately. It doesn't mean you have to feel the same thing (that's sympathy).

Empathy is your capacity to sense what’s going on in someone's else mind and guess at the best way to engage based on your understanding of that perspective.

How Empathy Drives Sales Conversations

At its heart, sales has always been about the interpersonal engagement between two people. We always hear about sales professionals being "people people." That's simply another way of saying they’re empathetic.

When we talk about emotional intelligence, one of the most important things we're referring to is the ability to recognize, understand, and respond to the emotional state of others in an appropriate way.

Think about your sales interactions. Key steps include building trust, uncovering needs, and creating confidence. If you can't do those well you're not going to find a lot of success.

All of them are driven by sales professionals' ability to create a bridge with their prospects. By picking up on the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that our conversational partners apply, salespeople with high emotional intelligence can create stronger connections and more easily influence others.

This is especially important as sales processes get more complex and involve more people. It's critical to be able to understand the motivations and thoughts of everyone involved in the process. In a world where information is a commodity, you need to be more than a source of facts and figures.

You need to possess the ability to engage on an emotional level and become a resource for potential customers. If you want to guide them through their buying journey, it's imperative you connect on the human level.

Tips for Developing Empathy

Luckily, your emotional intelligence isn't a fixed trait. Much of your empathy is developed as you mature, but it's a muscle that can be exercised and improved. There are actually pathways in our brains called mirror neurons. They have evolved to recognize and respond to the hundreds of small, usually unnoticed, signals people give off when they interact.

Taking it a step further, as we grow up, we develop what neuroscientists call the Theory of Mind. It describes our ability to put ourselves in the place of someone else and see things from their perspective. It also allows us to understand others might have thoughts, feelings, and motivations causing them to do what they do. And it's why you can pick up on the unspoken signals of your friend and ask, "What's wrong?" before they even have to tell you they just had a bad day at work.

Building your ability to pick up on these signals, and learning how to interpret them, can pay huge dividends. And it's not complicated. You don't have to take special classes or training seminars.

In fact, your daily sales activities provide constant opportunities to build your capacity. Here are five exercises you can use to cultivate your empathetic skills.

Discover the 5 ways to develop Empathy here

Additional Updates:
 

Tags: closing sales, Sales Strategies

Why You Should Be Selling Dental Insurance

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Wed, Mar 21, 2018 @ 12:51 PM

Why You Should Be Selling Dental Insurance.pngMedicare Still Doesn't Cover Dental Care. And That Can Be a Big Problem.

This is a good read on the lack of dental coverage provided by Medicare and the important role of a insurance agent to help keep beneficiaries covered. PSM offers an array of dental plans available to our agents along with the guidance on how to best incorporate into your business.

From the article...

Many people view Medicare as the gold standard of United States health coverage, and any attempt to cut it incurs the wrath of older Americans, a politically powerful group. But there are substantial coverage gaps in traditional Medicare. One of them is care for your teeth.

Almost one in five adults of Medicare eligibility age (65 years old and older) have untreated cavities. The same proportion have lost all their teeth. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have some periodontal disease, or infection of structures around teeth, including the gums. Bacteria from such infections can circulate elsewhere in the body, contributing to other health problems such as heart disease and strokes.

And yet traditional Medicare does not cover routine dental care, like checkups, cleanings, fillings, dentures and tooth extraction.

Paying for dental care out of pocket is hard for many Medicare beneficiaries. Half have annual incomes below $23,000 per year. Those who have the means, but are looking for a deal, might travel abroad for cheaper dental care. Tens of thousands of Americans go to Mexico every year for dental work at lower prices. Many others travel the globe for care.

Although low-income Medicare beneficiaries can also qualify for Medicaid, that’s of little help for those living in states with gaps in Medicaid dental coverage.

According to a study published in Health Affairs, in a given year, three-quarters of low-income Medicare beneficiaries do not receive any dental care at all. Among higher-income beneficiaries, the figure is about one-quarter.

Traditional Medicare will cover dental procedures that are integral to other covered services. So if your Medicare-covered hospital procedure involved dental structures in some way, important related dental care would be covered. But paying for any other care is up to the patient.

Lack of dental coverage by Medicare is among the top concerns of beneficiaries. The program also lacks coverage for hearing, vision or long-term care services. However, many Medicare Advantage plans — private alternatives to the traditional program — cover these services.

For example, 58 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees have coverage for dental exams. In receiving these benefits through private plans, enrollees are also subject to plans’ efforts to limit use by, for example, requiring prior authorization or offering narrow networks of providers. These restrictions can be problematic for some beneficiaries, and about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries opt for the traditional program, not a private plan.

Adding a dental benefit to Medicare is popular. A Families USA survey of likely voters found that the vast majority (86 percent) of likely voters support doing so. The survey also found that when people do not see a dentist, the top reason is cost.

Ms. Willink’s study estimated that a Medicare dental benefit that covered three-quarters of the cost of care would increase Medicare premiums by $7 per month, or about 5 percent. The rest would need to be financed by taxes.

The cost of such a benefit might be offset — or partly offset — by reductions in other health care spending, reflecting the fact that poor oral health contributes to other health problems.

Making a case for this in the political arena would not be easy, though. The initial cost would be an inviting target for politicians who express concern about fiscal prudence, regardless of any potential long-term gain. But expanding Medicare has been done before.

In 2006, a prescription drug benefit was added to the program. The law for that program was enacted in 2003, and in that same year, the surgeon general released a report calling for dental care to be treated and covered like other health care. Whether by Medicaid or Medicare, that wish is still unfulfilled.

As you can see, more than ever it is important to carry a strong dental product in your portfolio. We would love to assist with any questions you have and make sure you offer this comprehensive coverage to your clients

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/upshot/medicare-missing-dental-coverage.html

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Tags: dental hearing and vision insurance, Medicare Sales, Sales Strategies

A Comprehensive Guide to Talking to Prospects on the Phone

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 @ 10:58 AM

A Comprehensive Guide to Talking to Prospects on the Phone

A Comprehensive Guide to Talking to Prospects on the Phone

If you’re not comfortable on the phone, sales probably isn't the career for you. Learning how to capture and keep someone's attention without physically being in their presence is a skill all salespeople need. It’s also a skill that demands constant practice and improvement.

This guide covers everything from pre-call preparation to sales script tips. More of a visual learner? Scroll down, or click here, to see a detailed infographic from The Gap Partnership.

Phone Sales Tips

Capture-13.png

Make Sure You’re Comfortable on the Phone

There are a few basic characteristics everyone needs in a phone-centric career like sales. Don't have the characteristics outlined below? Either practice until you do or look for another gig.

  1. Enthusiasm: Be eager to discuss your client’s background, pain points, and goals. Your prospect can sense when you sound bored or uninterested and will be less willing to open up. So, ramp up your enthusiasm until you're both excited to find a solution for their use case.

  2. Patience: Be ready to listen. Don’t rush your prospect through the conversation, because you never know when a tangent might lead to valuable insights that will help you close. Be firm in guiding the conversation, but allow enough time for the prospect to share openly.

  3. Passion: If you don’t love what you’re talking about, how can you expect anyone else to? Passion is critical to selling. Of course, very few of us are “passionate” about selling software, cars, or service packages, so we have to find an angle that does make us excited. If your software helps users get promoted or frees up time they can spend with their families that’s something to get passionate about. Tell yourself a story that motivates and inspires you, and you’ll have the same effect on others.

  4. Confidence: Be comfortable sharing your views. Everyone -- including prospects -- wants honesty. If you think a prospect might not be a good fit for your product/service, tell them. If you don’t have a feature your prospect wants, be honest about it and propose solutions or product roadmaps that prove you’re proactively thinking about ways forward. Your confidence sets the tone of the call, so be authoritative and proactive.

  5. Sense of Humor: Don’t take yourself or your sales call too seriously. Have a little fun and help your prospect relax. You might try a trusty joke ("Want to hear a joke about a piece of paper? Never mind... it's tearable.") or self-deprecating humor, but break the ice and it’ll be much easier when you press for next steps.

Be Prepared

Never dial the phone without preparing. Whether you’re taking your first call or your 400th, there are a few things you should do before every meeting:

  1. Define your purpose: Ask yourself what you want to achieve during this call and how you'll get there.

  2. Prepare questions in advance: What questions do you need to ask to achieve your goal?

  3. Brainstorm answers: What are likely responses your prospect will have to your questions? By thinking these through ahead of time, you’ll anticipate push back and tangential questions and be more --prepared to answer them.

  4. Practice: Whether pitching a new product or giving the same spiel you’ve orated a hundred times, check in every few months to see how you’re doing. Record yourself giving a practice presentation and conduct your own call review to tune up your demo.

  5. Visualize: Put up a picture of your caller -- or another person -- and pretend you’re talking to them while they’re on the phone. Sound creepy? Maybe. Does it help you speak to the disembodied voice at the end of the line like they're a real person? Absolutely.
  6. Dress the part: Would you be confident if the caller saw you? If not, that'll project over the phone. Dress in a way that makes you feel great and your caller will pick up on it.

Achieve a Relaxed Voice

You can sense when someone’s smiling on the phone, right? It’s not just your imagination. Talking with a grin creates a higher frequency in your mouth which changes the tone of your voice and reassures the listener.

To practice this technique, record a sentence in your own non-smiling style. Then record the same words again with a smile and notice the difference.

Also, you can achieve a relaxed and persuasive tone by putting your voice’s most powerful tools to work. Here’s how:

  1. Pace: Speak too slowly and your listener might get bored or frustrated. Speak too fast and they may mishear. An expert caller will mirror the pace of the person they’re speaking with. And remember: It takes 10-30 seconds to adjust to a new voice, so give your listener time to adjust to you before diving into the most important part of your presentation.

  2. Volume: A drawn-out, high-pitched voice says, “I don’t believe what I’m hearing,” while a low-and-slow pitch says, “I want to be left alone.” Aim for an emphatic, high-pitched volume telling your listener you’re enthusiastic. And, of course, avoid sounding loud and abrupt, because that says you’re angry and not open to discussion.

  3. Tone: Don’t apologize for “interrupting” with your call. This sounds like you’ve done something wrong -- which you haven’t. Instead, act as if this call is doing your listener a favor.

  4. Clarity: Be clear and concise in what you stress in your presentation. Consider the meaning of a sentence and how important the stress of each word can be.

Take these examples:

•  Apathetic: “What would you like us to do about it?”
•  Defensive: “What would you like me to do about it?
•  Curious: “What would you like me to do about it?”

Convince Your Listener

They key to running professional calls is being aware of how your physical cues are impacting your prospect and the energy of your meeting. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  1. Body language: It’s natural to use your hands as you talk, and that’s a good thing. The more you gesture, the more vocal range you use. And when you increase your vocal range, your calls sound natural and conversational. Only 7% of a message is transferred using words. 38% is transferred by the way those words are spoken and 55% is transferred by body language. Headsets are a great way to free up your hands and let them do the talking during your call.

  2. Non-verbal communication: Non-verbal sounds, including laughter, sighs, and gasps, are all ways to influence and encourage your listener. Likewise, pausing on and stressing certain words can affect your listener’s reception as we mentioned above.

  3. Good posture: Yes, really. Your body’s posture is important to how you sound on the phone. To achieve the most accurate sound, position the receiver mouthpiece an inch away from your mouth. And remember, your lungs can’t fill properly when you’re slumped in a chair, which negatively affects your tone and volume. So, sit up straight, and make your mom proud.

  4. Never put them on hold: It’s impolite to put your prospect -- or anyone -- on hold without warning or explanation. It also breaks your rhythm and interrupts the connection you’ve built with your prospect. If something urgent does come up and you have to interrupt your call, never place someone on hold for more than 20-30 seconds without offering to reschedule the meeting.

Use Your Call Script Successfully

Call scripts are there for a reason. Practice with them, but keep a few other things in mind before you jump on a call:

  1. Quit clichés: Common sales phrases like “game-changer,” “par for the course,” and “win-win” are contrived and will turn your caller off. Speak with conversational, everyday language you’d use with a colleague or even a friend, and try to make your prospect forget they’re on a sales call.

  2. Edit: If you’re given a script, edit it to suit your natural vocabulary and way of talking.

  3. Don’t read it verbatim: Many salespeople have scripts, but don’t read from them directly. Use it as a guide, and you’ll sound much more natural.

  4. Have a contingency plan: If a prospect is busy or you’re reaching out for the first time, be prepared for them to try fleeing the phone as quickly as possible. When this happens, break from your script and pull out your contingency plan. For example, if a prospect says, “I’m actually in the middle of something right now,” try responding, “That’s totally fair. Would you mind if I take 30 seconds just to tell you why I called? If it doesn’t make sense, you can hang up. Does that sound OK?” You’re more likely to catch your prospect off guard and keep them on the phone.

Be a Good Listener

Easier said than done. Many salespeople railroad their prospects with too many questions, giving them little or no time to respond.

Others ask too few questions and simply throw out solutions without really understanding their prospect’s unique use case. Here are a few tips for being a good listener who really “gets” your prospect:

  1. Don’t interrupt: When face-to-face, we give non-verbal cues like shifting slightly, opening our mouths, and nodding to let the other person know we have something to add. Over the phone, those non-verbal cues aren’t available. But that doesn’t mean you should interrupt. Hold your thoughts until there’s a natural break in the conversation to avoid sounding impatient or rude.

  2. Show you’re listening: Try reflective listening by adding an occasional “yes,” “hmm,” and “I see” as you listen. Make sure these phrases don’t overpower the speaker. Instead, pepper them into the conversation to let your prospect know you’re on the same page.

  3. Avoid background noise: Show your caller they have your full attention by avoiding background sounds like typing, rustling, or radio/television. If you work on a busy sales floor, book a conference room so you and your prospect aren't distracted by background activity.

Have Great Timing

The best time to conduct outreach is on Thursdays between 8:00 am and 10:00 am and again between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The worse time to call someone is on Tuesdays between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

You can also use timing to get a leg up on your competitors. Know they’re calling prospects between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm? Try phoning prospects outside this timeframe to stand out, and maybe reach high-level prospects who normally have a gatekeeper screening their calls.

Stay Positive

Don’t overwhelm prospects with your intense enthusiasm. Starting a sales calls with an eager “Hey! How are you [prospect name]!?” might come off as a pushy and inauthentic.

Maintain a genuine tone and mirror your prospect’s demeanor. A less salesy way to keep things light is by sprinkling positive language into your call. Here are a few examples of cheerful language:

“Brilliant”
“Certainly”
“You’re welcome”
“Fantastic”
“It’s my pleasure”
“Of course”
“Immediately”
“It’s no trouble”
“I will find out for you”
“Absolutely”
“Rest assured”
“Wonderful”
“Please”
“Thank you”
“That’s great”

And don’t forget to establish rapport. The best way to start off on a positive note is to be polite, honest, and personalized with your prospect. Use their name, give them your full attention, and take ownership of follow up and next steps.

Close with Style

All of this is worth nothing unless you close the call well. Be clear, offer a review of what you’ve discussed, and always thank your prospect for their time.

  1. Give verbal signs the call is ending: A common way to do this is by giving a summary of the discussion and offering next steps.

  2. Make sure you’ve covered it all: Ask your prospect, “Is there anything we didn’t cover that I can speak to before we end the call?”

  3. Always be thanking: Never end a call without thanking your prospect for their time and attention. They didn’t have to take your call, so acknowledging their busy schedule is always appreciated.

Successful phone calls are an art. Master these techniques and see more deals move forward and your peers and managers take notice. For more information on selling Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage Plans over the phone, check out this resource page: http://www.psmbrokerage.com/sell-medicare-supplements-online or contact us at 800-998-7715 to request information.

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/everything-you-need-to-know-about-selling-over-the-phone-in-a-single-infographic

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare Supplement, sales advice, Sales Strategies, internet sales, phone sales

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