Selling to seniors via video conferencing

The unaddressed truth behind Covid-19 is that until we get a vaccine, those of us who have an increased risk of serious health problems are going to need to remain socially distant even after the spike subsides.  While a therapy for the virus could be found as early as June, a vaccine is much further away, with most experts looking at the end of 2020.

Adjusting to the times

For a variety of reasons, many of you prefer to sell face to face, and right now you can’t, for the safety of yourself and your clients.

You are left with one of three choices:

  • Stop selling
  • Sell over the phone
  • Sell over video

Why Video Conferencing

Seniors are not as tech-illiterate as many people think.  In a study done by Amwell Health Solutions, data showed that 45% of American seniors have participated in video calls using FaceTime, Skype, and/or Google Hangout.  Some seniors are even catching up to the new Zoom movement, using it to talk to their family and friends.

73% of seniors claim that faster health related services, such as insurance consultation, are the driving reason for their willingness to use video conferencing.  Seniors have the will to participate, you just have to add this to your toolkit.

While calling could get the job done, you are missing an important layer – the visual cues.  With phone calls we miss 50% of the conversation because you can’t see how the person you are talking to is responding.  Video conferencing eliminates that limitation.

How do you do it?

So, how do you get seniors on the screen, not just on the phone?  The first secret is that you have to make it easy.  Best practice is to just have them click on a link you emailed them.  You’ll probably need to include instructions on how to find the link, but the more simple you make the process, the more success you will have.

Ask the senior if they have used to using Hangouts, FaceTime or Skype.  These popular systems are the most common, and you should adapt to their preferences.  By adapting to their preference, the success rate of your calls will be significantly higher.  While this may involve more flexibility on your end, it will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run.

The question “why you are taking meetings this way?” will come up, and be honest with them. Tell them it is to keep them safe in today’s environment.  This expresses that you care about them as a person, not just a client, helping your overall rapport.

In conclusion

By incorporating live video into your sales process you’ll be able to:

  • See your customer’s visual cues
  • Share and go over your quality presentation materials
  • Build a deeper relationship with your customer
  • Make more sales!

And if you need help matching with Medicare insurance prospects, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 866-368-0377.

What the Payroll Protection Program means for insurance agents

 

Congress recently signed the CARES Act to help relieve Americans of the economic impact COVID-19 has had in the US.  As part of this stimulus package, there has been a Small Business package included.  This $350 billion dollar program is called the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), and independent contractors can begin applying on Friday April 10th!

We put together this video and article to help guide you understand what this program is.

Are you qualified?

Most insurance agents in the US are paid as independent contractors.  You’ll know if you are one if you are given a 1099 each year or a W-2.  If you were receiving 1099’s, you are an independent contractor and are eligible under this program. 

If you are paid by a W-2, your employer, if they have less than 500 employees, can apply and pay you an average of what you earned in commissions over the last 12 months.

Here are the important details of the PPP:

  1. The maximum amount of the loan is 8 weeks of your average previous 12 months earnings (up to 100k), plus expenses for rent, mortgage interest and utility costs – which are no more than 25% of your 8 weeks earnings.
  2. You have to certify that you need the loan due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
  3. The interest rate is 1% and payments are deferred for 6 months.
  4. The loan can be forgiven based on how much you pay yourself plus your actual expenses
  5. There are no personal guarantees or collateral requirements
  6. Whatever isn’t forgiven has to be paid within 2 years

To apply for a PPP loan, you need to contact your bank.  Make sure they are a Small Business Association lender, or a SBA lender for short.  The SBA is the only association that will be writing the approval for these loans through member banks.  The total amount of these loans are limited to $350B, and while that sounds like a lot, it is expected to run out quickly.  This means you will want to take advantage of the Payroll Protection Program quickly.

5 Outbound Sales Cadence Insights Every Insurance Agent Should Know

5 Outbound Sales Cadence Insights Every Insurance Agent Should Know

Sales cadences are about more than just the frequency and content of your emails, they’re about engaging your prospects enough to begin a valuable conversation. How you interact with your leads should vary from segment to segment to maximize effectiveness. A good sales cadence filters out any undesirable prospects, but a great sales cadence will get meetings. One of the biggest differentiators between the two is our first insight: The importance of a timely follow up.

The Art of the Follow Up

The speed of your first response to a prospect is crucial to converting smaller opportunities into revenue. The Harvard Business Review found that businesses that attempted to reach leads within an hour were nearly seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations with decision makers than those who waited even an hour.¹ If you can follow-up directly after a prospect engages your cadence, you’ve got the best chance to move them further through your pipeline while they’ve still got you at the top of their mind.

If your prospects are in the market, they’re already eyeing the competition and likely reaching out to them as well. The longer you wait to follow up after a response, the more likely someone else is to. Conversely, the shorter your response time is, the faster you can get through the opening stages of your funnel to qualify a prospect because a quick response every time makes the sales process easier for your customer. Staying on top of your follow-ups doesn’t only create more conversions more quickly, it creates happy customers.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get lost in the process of following a sales cadence. The point of the cadence is assuming that the prospect has not seen the previous contact, the only goal is to elicit a response. Each new touch point should be treated like a cold call or email: Stay consistent with the frequency and content of your touch points to make sure you’re being seen.

Sales cadences work to organize your outreach attempts to enable you to reach a higher volume of leads without getting disorganized. That being said, it’s your job to be using all the relevant platforms available to engage your prospects and improve the quality of your outreach. Your goal is to make contact, use all the methods available to get your prospect’s attention. Sales development reps who didn’t engage their prospects on social media only filled their pipelines 47% of the time, compared to 65% of the time for salespeople who use social selling.²

As time goes on you should also be creating new cadences to succeed where others have failed. You’ll learn more about your audience through both your positive and negative responses as you keep track of what brings the most success over time and form valuable insights into your sales process.

Know How to Switch It Up

If you’re executing a sales cadence correctly, your leads will have to at least see your efforts, so avoid being boring and using the exact same approach every time. Sales cadences are still cold outreach attempts and need to have variation to maximize your chances of engagement. Thanks to the internet, the biggest obstacle for many cold calls and emails is providing value. Buyers do their own research now and are already at least somewhat informed on your offering as well as your competitors.

Two 2018 studies have found not only that 70% of B2B and 79% of B2C customers in the US do research online before they make a purchase, but also that 44% of B2B buyers prefer to identify potential solutions themselves before reaching out to sales.³,⁴ As such, the job of the insurance agent has evolved into one more similar to an advisor in order to address the questions and needs of more informed buyers. In order to separate yourself from the rest you need to really understand the problems of your leads and provide the buyer with the solution they’re looking for.

By centering your target customers’ pain points in your outreach, you’ll retain relevance no matter how many times you pivot topics or approaches. Your subjects will stay fresh as you approach leads with different topics, but your focus will remain consistent as each topic will be related by what’s most important: the customer’s needs. Instead of putting your whole value proposition in an email, break it down to create a concise sequence of attention grabbing topics. With a well crafted cadence, you’ll be able to not only generate opportunities, but also gain insight into which topics get the most engagement.

No One is as Productive as They Think

In a survey of how much sales reps thought they engaged prospects, the average number of perceived touch points per lead was 15.⁵ However, most reps actually only use 8 touch points per outbound sales prospect. Even top performers only use as many as 12 per prospect,⁶ meaning that it’s very easy to lose track of your relationships with each lead. The beauty of a well planned cadence is its ability to create a schedule for your messaging and keep your outbound prospecting efforts organized. Equipped with a strong cadence, a good insurance agent will be chugging through their pre-organized tasks each day as they go through their schedule, but even that can only go so far.

Besides minimizing distractions, one of the best ways to increase productivity is to improve the efficiency of how you spend the most time: working. To accomplish this, the average sales rep will use an average of 6 tools to help manage their load: A CRM, a data-list feed, a tool for social prospecting, an email engagement tool, and a tool for their sales cadence.⁷ Insurance agents typically don’t have such a busy sales stack, but they can learn a thing or two from these savvy inside sales reps about sales tools and automation.

Choose the Right Tools for the Job

When you’ve hit a wall in your productivity, utilizing a tool to help automate your workflow can take you to the next level. But between sending emails, making calls, creating and assigning buyer personas, and keeping track of your performance and tasks, the consistency and organization of a sales cadence can come at a cost of the time invested into upkeep. Without the proper tool or service, you would need to do lists and excel sheets to manage your cadences with various leads and incorporate them into your busy workflow.

Of course every insurance producer has tools at their disposal, but while your CRM may help you keep track of your prospects and your emailing tool will help cut the number of emails you need to write, the best tool for managing your cadences is a sales engagement platform like 20 Miles. Most sales engagement platforms manage workflow sequences, automate and track emails, create buyer personas, integrate with your CRM, and analyze data on the whole process to optimize, but 20 Miles takes it a step further: In addition to a feature-packed platform and award winning integrations, With robust analytics and a suite of sales tools, 20 Miles lets you get more work done while providing the data you need to perfect your process.

Takeaways

The usefulness of a sales cadence goes so much further than organizing your workflow or helping to ensure continued follow through on your outreach attempts. With the right approach, your cadences can become sources of data on your prospects and help to build loyalty with them through reliability; With the right tools, you can increase productivity and separate yourself from the rest. As you prepare to prospect your next group of leads, consider these insights to take your sales cadences to the next level.

Sources:
The Harvard Business Review: The Short Life of Online Sales Leads
Sales for Life: Social Selling 2017 Trends Report [Via Hubspot]
CSO Insights: 2018 Buyer Preferences Study
Netsertive: 2018 Local Consumer Survey
InsideSales: How to Build a Sales Cadence to Rule Them All
The Bridge Group: SDR Metrics and Compensation Report [Via Sales for Life]
InsideSales: How 900 Companies Build and Execute Successful Sales Development Teams [In partnership with Sales for Life and others]

Why Trust is Hard to Come By

Trust is the way to sell yourself. People won’t buy from you if they don’t trust that your services are good, or that your product will improve their lives. That being said, trust is relatively easy to build as long as you follow a solid formula.

For insurance agents, this formula is about the same as other sales-focused jobs, but it must come off naturally. It takes a little more work on your end to master this but once done, you’ll see a huge shift in your interactions with people. They’ll buy easier, spread positive reviews, and increase your sales in the long run.

man on phone building trust with customer
It’s all about how you talk to people. Be professional, knowledgeable, and courteous.

Do Reputable Work

The baseline of any trust building is to show that you provide consistent value with your work. This is why bigger sites rely so much on positive reviews of their customers; it demonstrates hard evidence that people like what they do.

If you don’t have a profile that allows for reviews, then just word-of-mouth will do. Building strong trust with your customers comes from honest hard work. Also, to support this concept, make sure you’re giving yourself deliverable goals, i.e. if you say you’ll have someone signed up with a new policy within a week, you must do everything you can to accomplish this. If it’s not reasonable, don’t promise it.

Be Personable

They say you’re underdressed without a smile. Being a friendly, courteous person will get you far with any customer interactions. Of course, don’t pile on the cheese or be overly complimentary. People are more aware now of those that seem overly friendly as it comes off as manipulative. Steer clear of anything that makes you seem fishy.

This means genuine compliments only. If you like someone’s car or their new scarf, then by all means, openly share your admiration. It can spark a conversation as well as the possibility of connecting with shared stories. Did you both buy your car at the same dealership?

These personal connections get you far in building trust. It also works on social media. If you have a welcoming profile with visible content, people can examine your page and make decisions based on them. This means being meticulous with the content you share or allow posted. 

The last note on personability is consistency. Like your work, your personal profile needs to be on par with who you are in real life. Red flags will be set off if someone expects a particular detail they found online, and then you’re completely different in real life. 

Emphasize Security

Every day, tons of people are subjected to scams. Whether they fall for them or not, it can leave people on edge in who they deal with.

people having a meeting about trust
People want to trust you because they need to purchase coverage. Go into each meeting with a positive mindset.

Simple actions like mentioning you keep information confidential or placing a security certificate in your profile (or a physical one on your desk) can put people’s minds at ease. This is especially needed in an information trading industry like insurance.

People release detailed personal info when they purchase insurance. They need to be reminded, subtly, at every turn that they can trust you with their address, phone number, and email addresses.

One last note before we leave you is availability. None of these trust-building tactics will work if you’re not available to implement them. This means taking the time to answer phone calls, emails, or even text messages if you see fit. 

A trusting customer is a loyal one. At the first sign of deception, a person will view everything you say or offer as negative like you’re trying to take advantage of them. And once lost, trust is the hardest to win back. Start off on the right foot with these tips, and you’ll build a solid, reliable reputation that places you on a higher tier.

 

America’s Best Insurance Agencies to Work For

Competition between workplaces means good things for employees. Not only are the best agencies more visible, but they’re also having to step up their game to keep their staff. For insurance agents just now coming to the field, we have a comprehensive list of the best agencies to seek employment from, and exactly why you’d want to work for them.

For an overview, this list reflects the working conditions in these agencies. Overall, they scored high because they focused on benefits, wellness programs, and flexible work hours.

person playing chess for the best insurance
Choosing the right place to work is a strategic career move.

Higginbotham

This agency features an employee-first attitude, which probably was the biggest factor in Higginbotham topping the list. The company started 70 years ago, and since then has grown into one of the most influential independent insurance agencies in the US.

They also have a robust charity, with $1.8 million donated so far. Their CEO, Rusty Reid, emphasizes the service quality of the insurance industry, and that people should always be put first.

Ironside Insurance Group

While younger than the previous agency, Ironside has a reputation for growth. Employees pushed this company forward on the list through anonymous surveys. From the start, Ironside is a company focused on filling a need. The founders, Ryan Kent and Joshua Shotts, saw an opportunity in the insurance industry and leaped on it.

Prioritization here comes from two things: empowering employees and encouraging feedback. Without them, the company founders don’t think they would have gotten very far.

The Bulow Group

The Bulow Group believes in going against the grain. With a small group of 13 employees, every person can get their voice heard. Besides this, the company puts emphasis on communication so that every person gets a chance to succeed. These values are also encouraged with their customer interactions.

The Bulow Group has a reputation for thinking outside the box and strong teamwork. Stemming from a work/life balance and a focus on support, all the employees here feel the community. 

team of coworkers at best insurance agency
You want to work with a team that supports you. Don’t stop looking until you find that.

Hotchkiss Insurance

Hotchkiss’ employees enthusiastically nominated their company. These positive thoughts center on the agency’s focus on career growth and providing an engaging atmosphere.

“When our employees grow, we grow,” is the sentiment felt from the CEO’s words. They even have their own structure for employee behavior called “The Hotchkiss Way.” Employees have a weekly meeting, and they all address concerns and update their behavior to provide a solid system for interaction. 

Acentria Insurance

Like most of the other agencies on this list, Acentria works hard to have the employees feel like family. Most employees cite that their managing team members show genuine care for them as people.

This is amazing considering how large the company is, with over 500 employees in 50 locations. With a commitment to growth and open doors, it’s no wonder Acentria claims its “small business” feel. 

Snapp & Associates Insurance Services

The people at Snapp & Associates don’t mess around when it comes to excellent benefits. The company provides full education reimbursement and medical assistance. 

This agency’s claim to a top spot is hiring fresh eyes to the industry and one hundred percent supporting their growth as agents. Agents claim they had no experience before, and within a few years, became competent, successful employees

All of these places had a few things in common: support, encouragement, and most had community service. It goes to show that supporting your employees and communication truly sets a company apart. When one succeeds, all succeed.

 

NFL Players in Health Insurance Fraud

Bending the knee isn’t the only contention facing the NFL; this time, there’s health insurance fraud thrown into the mix. For those that don’t know, health insurance fraud is any act done specifically to defraud the insurance process. If you try to get something from the system you’re not owed (or even when someone denies you a benefit), this is insurance fraud.

lock on a jail cell for nfl insurance fraud
So far, not many of the players are seeing jail time, but that might change in the future.

The most common types in America are premium diversion, fee churning, asset diversion, and fraud involving worker’s compensation. In 2006, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, close to $100 billion was lost in the United States from these cases. That’s a massive number considering only several million was involved in this sports scandal.

Professional sports in America has a reputation for wealthy players, high-stakes games, and sometimes controversial acts. However, in this case, a pretty clear-cut alleged case of fraud surfaced from ten NFL players.

Here’s what we know.

These ten individuals used an HRA plan (more on those here) to receive a payout. The numbers we have so far are that the fraudulent charges total a little under $4 million. From June 2017 to December 2018, their total cut from this plan skimming netted $3.4 million in claims payments.

According to U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr., and from the FBI’s evidence, the defendants in this case planned “and executed a fraudulent scheme to undermine a health care benefit plan established by the NFL – one established to help their former teammates and colleagues pay for legitimate medical expenses.”

This is in the East District of Kentucky, and the list of players involved.

Each is Charged with Various Counts of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud/Health Care Fraud 

nfl player with football and insurance fraud
Be wary with the people you work with. Anyone can try to get more than they are owed.
  • Robert McCune, of Riverdale, Georgia
  • John Eubanks, of Cleveland, Mississippi
  • Tamarick Vanover, of Tallahassee, Florida
  • Carlos Rogers, of Alpharetta, Georgia, 
  • Clinton Portis, of McLean, Virginia
  • Ceandris Brown, of Fresno, Texas
  • James Butler, of Atlanta, Georgia; and 
  • Fredrick Bennett, Port Wentworth, Georgia, 
  • Correll Buckhalter,  Colleyville, Texas, and
  • Etric Pruitt, Theodore, Alabama, 

More players will be notified of charges in the future, but these core ten have a more solid sentence awaiting them. It’s unfortunate, but in the healthcare world, both agents and insurance firms must be careful in dealing with everyone, including star athletes.

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