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"Catch Up, Update, Referral"

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Dec 09, 2011 @ 08:55 AM

Medicare SupplementsSuccess in selling to seniors is based on relationships, rapport, and trust. Recently a Forester’s research study concluded that there are three things all senior clients want from their relationship with their agent: to understand what they are buying, someone to be in control of their investments and insurance rather than feeling on their own, and frequency of contact. To maintain contact Rick Martin, CSA suggests a technique he calls "Catch Up, Update, and Referral."

  1. Catch Up. Every few months contact your senior clients to catch up and take a personal interest in their grandkids or recent travel. Confirm that they are getting what they need from their insurance product; discuss any difficulties they might have had, and explain how you can solve their issues. Also you should suggest other products they might need such as annuities, final expense, short term care, or long term care policy.

  2. Update. Seniors are interested in the news. With the Presidential election in 2012 political candidates will be talking about strategies to save money, including cuts to social security and Medicare. In these times it’s important to address any worries and fears your clients might have. The more you address their worries and assure them you will keep them up to date with any finalized changes, the more loyal those clients will be to you as their agent.

  3. Referral. A bonus to keeping up with your clients every few months is that you should gain at least two referrals on every call. Explain what you’ve accomplished in the last year and then ask how you are doing so far. When your client answers "great", ask them, "Who do you know who could benefit from my services?" Close to 70% of seniors said their agent relationship was the result of a recommendation from either family or friends.

Catching up with your clients every few months is a great way to take a personal interest in their life, confirm they have the insurance products best suited for them, and request referrals. With satisfied clients staying on the books and multiple referrals a year, you will be able to continue to grow your business in a substantial way.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you use this tactic in gaining referrals? What strategy do you use for referrals?

Source: InsuranceNewsNet

Additional Updates:
  • Woodmen of the World/Assured Life 2012 marketing materials - Learn More
  • Assured Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for GA - Learn More
  • Gerber Life 2012 marketing materials - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for NH - Learn More

Tags: Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Customer Retention, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Building Client Relationships, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Understanding the Important Role of Social Media

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 @ 08:30 AM

Medicare SupplementsIn the past few years it has become more and more evident that the Internet is not a passing fad. It’s no longer a means of achieving more success but of staying in the game. Therefore, your marketing strategy is no longer "should I be marketing on the Internet?" but "how do I effectively market on the Internet?" This can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to online marketing. The most important thing is to realize all of the opportunities and revenue when you expand your business to sell Medicare supplements online.

It’s no surprise that the role social media plays is huge. In fact, social media is the No. 1 activity on the web, and if Facebook alone was a country it would be the third largest nation in the world with more than 800 million active members. There is a whole new realm of success in internet marketing; here are the three most popular social media websites to be using:

  1. Facebook. As I said before, Facebook has the largest reach in social media today. However, it’s important to note that Facebook has a more "relational" sales style than "transactional." Share helpful videos and articles as well as photos from your company events and holiday parties. Steve Savant, author of "How to Become an Internet Sales Superstar" and host of the daily Internet talk show Business Insurance Zone explains, "Facebook is the estrogen zone." His suggestion as you start initially is to request to post photos via a spouse or other family member’s personal page, showing you with clients or at an event. Their friends can comment asking what you do, request a meeting, or offer a referral.

  2. Twitter. Twitter is excellent for getting the word out about your recent YouTube videos, upcoming events, as well as linking to your informational industry articles. With only 140 characters allowed (including spaces and punctuation) it’s important to think of a meaningful message to entice your prospects and clients to click on your link and explore the content further.

  3. LinkedIn. LinkedIn is usually thought of as the “business Facebook” in the social media world. Though it is not as social as its counterparts, their Groups are a great way to network and discuss industry topics with those who can relate. Also, your profile will allow you to connect with past coworkers who might provide referrals and connect with other agents who you want to work with.

To help spread the word, put your social media URLs on your e-mail signature and company stationary. Let your clients know they can find industry news and continuing education about their plans by "Liking" your page or "Following" your Twitter. Also, you should link to these sources on your homepage to further the information prospective clients have access to.

Though breaking into the social media sector may seem overwhelming at first, the referrals and business commissions are worth the extra effort to get involved. If you need any help or have questions, please call you marketer at 1-800-998-7715 for more information.

Please give us your feedback!
Do you use social media in your marketing? How has it helped you in your business? What did you do to get started?

Source: InsuranceNewsNet

Additional Updates:
  • Woodmen of the World/Assured Life Med Supp Application Tips - Learn More
  • Assured Life Med SELECT Provider Directory Update - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World Rate Increase of Colorado - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Med Supp Application Tips - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Med SELECT Provider Directory Update - Learn More
  • Gerber Life South Dakota GI Rights Update Notification - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Utah - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Florida - Learn More

Tags: Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Web Tips, technology, Customer Retention, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Leads, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Customer Service, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

The Key to Closing: Asking Questions

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 10:15 AM

Medicare SupplementsAs most agents know, selling is not about closing. A poor closing ratio is a manifestation of the trap some salespeople fall into during the beginning of the sales process. Instead, sales are about establishing a relationship with your prospects and clients based on your real interest in their supplemental insurance needs. If you have found yourself having trouble closing lately, it is time to start asking yourself some questions.

  1. Are my leads qualified?

  2. Are my prospects interested or are they just tire-kicking?

  3. What questions do I ask?

  4. What is my follow up plan?

When you obtain a lead you will want to assure you have an interested client that will not result in a “tire kicker” who will waste your time. When you receive referrals they will most likely be interested. However, it is especially important to qualify when your leads have been purchased from a third party source.

Once you have confirmed the prospect is interested take time to ask questions to help you determine which products will best for their needs. In addition to a Medicare Supplement that suits their budget you can also suggest final expense insurance, short term insurance, or long term care insurance. Combo Apps, available from Forethought Life and Sentinel Life, allow you to use one application for both a Medicare supplement and final expense plan. By suggesting multiple products for the same client you have the opportunity to increase your commissions and customer retention, build your brand, and expand your business.

If your prospect is interested but not ready to make a buying decision immediately, follow up with them. Email can be useful, but a phone call is more personal and will show your genuine interest in their insurance needs.

Please give us your feedback!
Have you found that a problem with closing is a symptom of another problem? What do you change when you are having trouble closing?

Source: LifeHealthPro

Additional Updates:
  • HOT New Med Supp Carrier from Heartland National - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for CO & NJ - Learn More

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Success, Heartland National Medicare Supplement, Creating Value, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Stand Apart from Your Competitors

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 @ 10:24 AM

Medicare SupplementsIt is important that every agent develops a strategy to stand out amongst talented competitors to build a successful career. By developing a solid plan you will create your own category and brand to help you achieve your goals. Mark Gaunya, co-author of Bend the Healthcare Trend, explains that from a branding perspective there are five questions to ask yourself in order to work towards combining your knowledge and experience in creating your own category.

  1. What subject are you passionate about? By identifying what you are passionate about you’ll know what to focus on for your success. Mark Gaunya advises, “Passion can’t be faked, and it’s what separates superior from average results.”

  2. What is your area of focus? Are you exclusively selling Medicare Supplements? Do you offer a complete portfolio of all the supplemental insurance products? Once you have decided on your niche, develop a strategy to achieve long-lasting success.

  3. What is your hook? This is what will separate you from other agents and help you gain recognition as an expert in your field.

  4. What local and national media partnership opportunities do you have? Connect via phone, email, and social media to offer your expertise for free in order to get your name out in your community. Especially with Annual Enrollment Period coming up, now is a great time to create a YouTube video on a topic of interest or write to the editor of your local newspaper requesting an interview with you on tips for seniors during the AEP season.

  5. What will allow your brand to last? Products will come and go but your experience, knowledge, and solutions are ultimately what will guide you as an agent. Gaunya states, “Solutions designed to solve your clients’ challenges are what you are ‘selling’ not the products.”

Though it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of day-to-day life and continuous prospecting, it is also important to remember to set aside time for your branding and marketing. Some of the most valuable time you spend on your business will be that spent on marketing. It will allow your business to continue to grow as you prospect, while also separating you from your competition.

Please give us your feedback!
How much time to you spend on your marketing efforts? Does that time pay off? Have your clients ever complemented you on how different you are from other agents, based on your expertise?

Source: InsuranceNewsNet

Additional Updates:
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for GA, ID, TN, and WI - Learn More

Tags: Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Senior Market, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Big Sales on Less Money

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Sep 09, 2011 @ 09:02 AM

Medicare SupplementsEvery agent has experienced it at one point or another, your sales funnel is getting empty and you don’t necessarily have the funds to purchase multiple new leads. It would be great to have a budget to support your ideal marketing and PR plan however that isn’t always the case. There are several things you can do to create more sales without spending a lot of money. Reworking your existing database, creating an informational webinar, networking, and asking for referrals will all help you increase your production, and it will get you back on track in preparation for the busy season ahead.

Here are some tips you can deploy immediately: :

  • Look to your existing database – Are there prospects that never became clients? Contact them and see if they are now ready to buy. Are there clients who might need additional products, like final expense or long term care insurance? Even your smallest current accounts will be the fastest return on investment and time since they already work with you and know your business is solid. Do a check-in with them and see which additional services you can offer.

  • Create an informational webinar or tele-session – Promoting yourself and your business in a short, informative online video can give you visibility for your expertise, direct traffic to your website, and allow you to promote your services via social media. These can be made as easily as from a webcam or asking a friend or family member to help you by filming it.

  • Network – Get involved in the community you serve and make more introductions. Make a personal goal to make five introductions a week, or one a day.

  • Ask for referrals – All of your satisfied, existing clients are sure to know friends and family who can benefit from your service. Most people do not get referrals simply because they do not ask for them. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Start today in order to start filling your sales funnel in preparation for Annual Enrollment Period!

Please give us your feedback!
What have you done in the past to create more sales with less money? Do you have any tips for those currently in this situation?

Source: Senior Market Advisor

Additional Updates:
  • Gerber Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for AL & KY - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market Success, Web Marketing Advice, Referrals, Customer Service, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Experts Weigh-In on Medicare Advantage

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Aug 05, 2011 @ 09:59 AM

Medicare SupplementsIn the August issue of Agents Sales Journal market experts Jay Cox, Howard Peck, Richard Peitzmeier, and Tony Colistra were called upon to give their take on the Medicare Advantage market. They spoke of the tremendous opportunities in the Medicare Advantage market and urged those agents who might have moved away from the market due to changes to come learn the benefits. Noting the new rating system will improve the quality of care for Med Advantage members they are optimistic about plans that are proactively working to better the care that members receive. They also see the market going toward a more quality focused approach. Though the details of the cuts Congress is proposing to Medicare Advantage haven't been released the agents speculated that they would include either a decrease in the payment to doctors, increased premiums to policyholders, or reduced benefits. This would then be beneficial to the Medicare Supplement market, for those seniors looking for more coverage who may not have even known Medigap existed due to geography or lifestyle.

Cox stated that Med Advantage is a year-by-year benefit, and that adapting to the changes is part of selling the product. He explains the importance of the yearly education; it is essential for agents to stay abreast of the changes and keep their clients informed. He advises agents working in the business to have a mid-year check-in with their clients in order to assure they are taking full advantage of their benefits, explaining that this justifies the agent's role to skeptical clients. It also builds trust, adds value to your service, and allows another chance to seek out referrals from satisfied clients. His no-holds-barred advice is "don't evaluate it; just sell it. When it changes, we'll change. If it stops, we'll stop, and we'll worry about what to do next then."

Colistra states that "The future for Medicare Advantage is a bright one… Med Advantage plans have proven themselves to be innovative, offering valuable services to member. All of these points combined point to an industry that will continue to thrive." With the Medicare population expected to double in the next thirty-five years, Cox advises those agents still on the fence about going into the Medicare market to "Try it, you'll like it!"

When prospecting with clients it's important to keep a diverse portfolio, including both Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage, in order to meet each client's individual needs with a plan that offers both the coverage and price-point they are looking for.

Please give us your feedback!
Have you chosen to roll with the changes in the Medicare Advantage market? How has it benefited your business? Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the market?

Source: Agent Sales Journal

Additional Updates:
  • UnitedHealthcare Agents: 2012 List of Non-Commissionable Counties - Learn More
  • Mutual of Omaha Med Supp New e-App Quick Start Guide - Learn More
  • Sentinel Personal Choice Annuity: Delivering the Best Rates for your Clients - Learn More

Tags: United Healthcare Medicare Supplement, Annual Enrollment Period, Senior Market Success, Medicare Advantage, Sentinel Life Medicare Supplement, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Recognizing Referral Action Triggers

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 27, 2011 @ 09:08 AM

Medicare SupplementsBill Cates, Referral Coach and author of Get More Referral Now! and Don't Keep Me a Secret! offers advice for agents struggling to get more referrals in this tough economy. In the Agent Sales Journal Cates explains wishing and hoping for referrals will not bring them in. You have to be proactive! He affirms that all agents have many prospects right under their nose. The trick is learning how to identify them and ask the right questions. He refers to these as "referral action triggers".

A great opportunity to proactively seek referrals is when your clients express the value in your work through positive affirmations. They may compliment you for how helpful your knowledge and service have been versus other agents they’ve spoken with, or they may acknowledge their general peace of mind after meeting with you and discussing their options. Once you have started to recognize these statements, brainstorm on how to transition those positive reinforcements into a request for referrals.

Another method is to start a discussion about the value of your service with your client. Cates believes it is very important to check in with your prospects and clients to make sure that they recognize the value you deliver and to reinforce that the relationship is continuing to do well. It is important to ask your clients questions regarding your service. Good questions to ask may include: What is the most important thing we have spoken about? What made you decide to buy from me? What is the value most from this process? When planning ahead for your meeting you should always include what Cates refers to as a "value discussion". Once you have established they have learned something and value you as their agent you will be able to segue into asking about friends and family who may also benefit from your services.

Referrals are an essential way to create more sales opportunities without adding more hours to your work schedule. Make sure you are able to identify referral action triggers in order to capitalize on the greater opportunities for growth in your business.

Do you have any tips for those struggling with referrals? Are there any other "referral action triggers" you recommend?

Source: Agent Sales Journal

Additional Updates:
  • Forethought Pennsylvania Rates & App Now Available - Learn More
  • Gerber Life Online Service - Learn More
  • Woodmen of the World/Assured Life Online Service - Learn More
  • Help Your Business Grow - PSM Can Show You How - Learn More

Tags: Sales Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Leads, Woodmen of the World Medicare Supplement, Forethought Medicare Supplement, Gerber Life Medicare Supplement

Getting Past Cold Call Aversion

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 09:57 AM

Medicare SupplementsResearchers George Dudley and Shannon Goodson found that more than 40% of salespeople have experienced bouts of call reluctance that nearly ended their careers. Selling can be uncomfortable, make you feel pushy or intrusive, and there can be anxiety in finding new business by cold calling. If you are tired of watching new producers out-perform you when you know you have as much, if not more market knowledge, it is time to work on overcoming this obstacle. Cold calling is an essential part of selling Medicare Supplements by phone; it will increase business by allowing you to expand your selling territory and talk to more prospects in a shorter period of time. Low sales might be stemming from a self-promotion disease, and your call aversion is most likely harming your income and business.

One type of call reluctance is due to over-analyzing and under-acting. Often restrained, this symptom shows itself in someone stressing technical details rather than developing interpersonal relationships. They often blame the products rather than their relationship-building skills. This is common in highly educated and professional people who over-prepare but never get to share their knowledge with potential clients. It’s important to remember that clients buy trust first while product and service are secondary factors.

Another type can be found in someone who is very image conscious. This is common in producers who are overcoming self-confidence and self-esteem insecurities. They tend to invest in their appearance but prospecting can appear beneath them. They avoid prospecting until financially forced to make calls and want to shortcut the sales process to make the big sale. Others might be in position acceptance. They are either embarrassed or apologetic, and haven’t yet realized that their job can become a career. Feeling stuck in place, their suppressed dedication and zeal are often due to feelings of disappointment from a person in their life.

In overcoming these roadblocks, adopt the new mindset that you are someone providing a useful service to others. Cold calling, networking, leads and referrals are all integral parts of your sales efforts, used together to achieve your goals and turn your job into a sustainable career. Seniors need your knowledge and guidance to choose the best products that will offer them health and financial security throughout their golden years. The senior market is exploding – make the calls.

If you would like any guidance to overcoming your own, personal, roadblocks in cold calling please contact one of our marketers at 1-800-998-7715. Precision Senior Marketing is committed to giving our agents all the tools they need to succeed in their business endeavors.

Have you suffered from call reluctance? What did you do to move past this obstacle? How has it changed your business?

Source: Senior Market Advisor

Tags: Sales Tips, Success Tips, Senior Market Advice, Senior Market Success, Cold Calling, Medicare Sales

Medicare Supplement Membership Continued Growth

Posted by Lauren Hidalgo on Fri, Apr 08, 2011 @ 09:48 AM

Medicare SupplementsWith the first of the Boomer generation turning 65 in 2011 the Medicare Supplement market is set to explode; and, in preparation, Medicare Supplement membership grew 5.9% in 2010. Some contributing factors were several Medicare Advantage plans being terminated and the introduction of Plans M and N. Not only is the percent expected to increase once all of the plans have reported their data, it is an over 4% increase from 2009 where there was a 1.3% growth on new policies. As of the end of 2010, Medicare Supplement plans covered approximately 9 million seniors, with 44% choosing Plan F; and, 147,912 choosing Plan N since it was released in June 2010.

For 2010 Medicare Supplement plans earned $20.045 billion in premiums and incurred $15.857 in claims paid out. The aggregate loss ratio of incurred claims of premiums lowered from 80% in 2007-2009 to 79% in 2010. Of the leading Medicare Supplements UnitedHealth, AARP, dominated with 32% of the market share. Mutual of Omaha ranked second with an 11% share, rising from 8% in 2009.

Additionally, companies are beginning to diversify their portfolios to include Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, and stand alone Part D coverage in order for more opportunities in the growing senior market.

Did you see an increase in clients in 2010 over 2009? an even bigger increase thus far in 2011?

Source: Insurance News, Mark Farrah Associates

Additional Updates:
  • Looking for New Medicare Supplement Prospects? - Learn More
  • UnitedHealthcare Lead Box - Learn More
  • Assured Life Medicare Supplement Rate Increase for Nebraska & Virginia - Learn More

Tags: Senior Market Success, senior market news, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, Assured Life Medicare Supplement, Mutual of Omaha Medicare Supplement

Medicare Drug Premiums to Increase

Posted by Richard Ybarra on Fri, Aug 20, 2010 @ 11:08 AM

Medicare Cost Savings On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare prescription premiums will increase by a small amount next year, and that benefits will improve as well. More specifically, the average monthly premium for standard coverage will rise to $30 in 2011. This represents an increase of $1 over 2010, or a 3% increase, according to Don Berwick the Medicare administrator. The estimate is based on the assumption that seniors will enroll in lower cost plans. Those seniors who stay in their current plans and don’t look for cheaper plans will see a higher average premium of around $32.34 a month, according to Paul Spitalnic, a representative of Medicare’s costs estimates office.

Starting next year Medicare beneficiaries who experience the doughnut hole will get a 50% discount on brand name drugs and 7% off generics. These discounts will continue to increase until there is no gap which is expected to occur in 2020. As you may know, Medicare drug plans vary dramatically in terms of cost and coverage, so we recommend that you check your clients’ plans and inform them of the changes to avoid unpleasant phone calls from surprised individuals.

HP Gets $200 Million Medicare Contract

Medicare has awarded HP Enterprise Services with a $200 million contract to improve claims processing and also the delivery of health care services for Medicare Part B coverage. The contract has a one-year base period, plus seven one-year renewal options.

Medicare Scam Deflated

In a bit of comical news, two men in South Florida running two companies called Charlie Rx and Happy Trips submitted $63,000 in bills to Medicare for male vacuum erection systems (a.k.a. “penis pumps") and collected over $28,000 in Medicare payments. The government also found the two companies billed Medicare for nearly $2 million overall for other medical equipment, receiving a total of $735,000. As usual, the criminals’ arrogance, laziness, and/or stupidity are what led to their capture. Authorities realized something wasn’t right when they received a claim for four male vacuum erection systems for a single female patient.

Third Round of Doughnut Hole Checks Mailed

Last week, a third round of $250 rebate checks was mailed to eligible Medicare beneficiaries who fell into the Medicare Part D doughnut hole. Before this third round was sent out, CMS says that more than 750,000 have already received their checks. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stated that these checks continue to demonstrate the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. This may also be a good time to remind your seniors that they will receive these checks automatically when they reach the doughnut hole. Anyone calling or any website requesting information to receive the checks is a scam.

Sources: AP, BusinessWeek, Senior Journal, CNN

Tags: Senior Market Success, senior market blog, senior market news, Medicare Advantage, Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Medicare News, senior insurance market news

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