Get Ready to Sell Alternatives to the ACA this fall

Health insurance companies across the country are going to be raising their rates substantially and consumers, especially those with little or no subsidies, will be seriously considering their alternatives.

The Wall Street Journal reported that multiple insurers across the country have requested rate increases ranging from 8.2% to 65.2%. While those requests will most likely be pushed down by regulators, consumers will be faced with significant increases this fall.

Why Is This Important to You?

  1. A Consumer Ready for Change
    They will be seriously searching for alternatives when they see the increases.
  2. A Price Sensitive Consumer
    Many will drop their expensive exchange plans.
  3. A More Engaged Consumer
    They will be open to hearing about other options.
  4. A Consumer with Money
    Even though they are priced out of the exchange market, they have an established budget to buy health insurance, and will take your offerings seriously.
  5. A Consumer Interested in Ancillaries
    If they stay in the market, they will most likely be buying plans with much higher out of pocket costs, increased copays, and deductibles and they will be very open to ancillary products like accident, critical illness and metal gap plans.

Right now is the time to start planning your strategy for open enrollment. Be proactive, not reactive by having a game plan in place now for the impact of these rate increases this fall. It will lead to a productive selling season where you can work smarter, not harder to meet your income goals.

Insurance Agent New Year’s Resolution: Sell More this Year!

But Where’s the Plan…

Every agent I have ever known goes into a new year looking to write more business the next year.

But few of them actually put a plan in place to accomplish that goal, and many of them fail to achieve what they expected to achieve.

The biggest reason is they fail to plan, which really is a plan to fail.

I’ve known a lot of agents who needed help here, and not because they weren’t smart enough, its just nobody had ever taught them how to put a plan together. They did not know where to start, and when they googled it, all they would get are results about writing a comprehensive business plan – which you don’t need unless you’re planning to go raise money from venture capitalists.

So what do you need?

Goals

GoalsTo get your goal, you just don’t dream up a number that you would like to make, hell, wouldn’t we all like to make $100,000,000 this year, but its not going to happen. Sit down, take a look at how much you sold over each of the last three year’s (get the real #’s – pull your tax returns) and come up with how much you sold per week on average in each of those years. Did it go up each year, did it go sideways, did it go down?

Then look at your last year in detail to determine how much could you sell every week, week in / week out. Get a spreadsheet and find out what your best weeks were, your worst weeks and your average week. Then look at your best weeks and honestly answer the question -Were your best weeks aberations because you happened to sell a really big policy, or did you just have your act together and you sold a lot more policies that week.

If the best weeks were skewed with a big policy or two vs just selling more policies, don’t consider them and look for your best weeks where you just sold more policies.

Now answer the question, can you do that every week if you put your mind to it. If you answer yes, take the average of those weeks and multiply it by 48 (not 52, you will need a vacation or two, holidays, and some sick time).

If you answered no, then you need to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself “Why not?” because that is the number you can achieve. Don’t use excuses like open enrollment, carrier changes, etc – you are a small enough part of the market that there are always sales to find and these large macro events just make it easier at those times of the year.

The number you just calculated is a pretty good estimate for how much you could earn next year if you did what you did in your best weeks last year and its a very good goal to have. You might be surprised when you see the number as it could be more than double what you made this year.

Now you have your income goal – write that down. Goals are worthless unless they are in writing.

To complete your goals, you need to think about what other parts of your business need to be addressed, like:

  1. Implement a CRM and/or a quoting engine
  2. Get a lead nurturing system in place
  3. Enhance your financial reporting by implementing quickbooks
  4. How would you like to contribute to your community or other causes you find important

Many very large enterprises keep their goals limited to 3 main objectives, and if its just you, you don’t have the headspace for anything more than that. One person with 12 goals most likely won’t get anything done.

Write these goals down as well.

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound)
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound)

And when you write your goals down, make sure they are SMART.

  • Specific – what do you want to accomplish
  • Measurable – how much, was the system implemented, etc
  • Achievable – can you actually do it or is it pie in the sky
  • Relevant – are the goals relevant to your business
  • Time-bound – how much will you earn a week and by when, what date will the new systems be implemented and in use, etc.

With your goals in hand, you can now write your plan. I use an outline form because its easy to navigate and go back to.

For your income goals, determine how many sales a week you need and then how many leads you will need a week to make those sales. We have a lead calculator you can use to figure that out – and it does not matter whose leads you will be buying. Then you have to put some deadlines on when you will have orders in with the lead company you choose to start getting and working those leads.

For your other goals, you will need to write out a plan for each goal. If you don’t have a CRM, it would look something like this at a high level.

  1. Identify needs – what features do I want the system to have, do I want to install it or do I want it in the cloud, does it work with my email system, can it help me with lead nurturing/followup
  2. Identify potential vendors – Google search and look at the CRM’s that are out there, call your associates, find out what they are using, get a rough idea of cost and see if its in your budget.
  3. Get quotes
  4. Make a selection
  5. Implement the CRM and import your data

Each step has to have dates and you need to print it out and post it where you work.

Finally, once you have your goals and your plan to achieve your goals start working on them now – don’t wait until next year and review your goals every week to see how you are doing against those goals.

Its really not that hard, and you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish if you put a plan in place.

Best of luck getting your plan off the ground!

 

 

 

Technology has changed the way we market everything and that includes insurance

The most important principle to learn today about marketing in a digital age is that you need to do things on a massive scale. By that we mean massive exposure. That is what social media is for — communicating information. But, it is important to remember not to spread yourself too thin and end up scattering your marketing efforts by trying to sell too many things at once.

In order to move your agency toward being steady and financially stable, it is important to focus on one question: How many new people (potential customers) have seen and heard a full marketing presentation of your products? Make your sole focus marketing presentations, while someone else at your agency takes care of existing customers, and watch your bottom line blossom.

The only way to garner more insurance sales is to be creative, think like a buyer and offer what the customer needs, not what you want to sell. Push out of your comfort zone to do something different, radical, unexpected and see the results. Even an approach that gives you cold feet at first can surprise you if you give it a chance. Blah

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More and More Seniors are Online: Should You Revisit Your Approach?

Seniors adopt to internetTwo years ago we published our first post on the internet usage by seniors across America and today their usage of the internet is still growing. At that time, 50% of seniors were using the internet, up from 33% in 2011. Today that number is at 59% – a 20% rate of growth since 2012.

An April 2014 report by Pew Research, stated “Younger, higher-income, and more highly educated seniors use the internet and broadband at rates approaching—or even exceeding—the general population; internet use and broadband adoption both drop off dramatically around age 75.

Smartphone use is growing at an even faster rate than overall internet usage as seniors are becoming more comfortable with the technology especially as more and more baby boomers are turning 65. As of 2013, 43% of seniors were using smartphones up from only 18% in 2011.

For those of you marketing medicare supplement plans and other senior insurance products, this is great news as these are the seniors you want to connect with and help find insurance.

And you should note that seniors over the age of 75 are not using the internet at anywhere near the same the rate as their younger counterparts, so there is natural filtering resulting in very few of your leads coming from people in this age group.

How an Agency Cashed in On Obamacare

We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from agents on their experience with the Obamacare open enrollment.

Most of you told us how you were flooded with nervous and upset clients back in October and November when Healthcare.gov wasn’t working. Not much of a surprise there. But once it started working we got different responses and requests depending on whether you were selling on the exchanges as well as off the exchanges.

Agents who wrote no exchange business didn’t seam to write more or less new business and their businesses remained fairly steady.

Agents who wrote both on and off the exchanges appeared to have some success expanding their business as well as selling voluntary products to supplement their income.

But we have heard from several agents who focused solely on writing exchange business and literally knocked the ball out of the park.

Last week, I had a long conversation with an agent who described himself politically as right of right who decided to park his politics at the door (just like all the big money conservatives do – Halliburton, Koche Industries, etc) and made the business decision to sell on the exchange.

They wrote over 4,000 policies with only 12 agents between December and March – $40,000,000 in annualized premium.

That was an average of 20.8 policies sold/per agent/ per WEEK! 1 agent sold 127 policies in one week.

While the commissions are lower, they are making substantially more money than if they had sold 4 or 5 regular policies in a week – which was a good week for most agents we know.

One large national carrier, who we all know, called to ask him how he was doing it because their sales were rivaling their in-house sales.

I’ve heard the complaints about only making a 2.5-3% commission or $25/per participant/per month, etc. but if you are closing 30-40% and literally taking orders to write 20 apps a week, you make more money at the end of the day.

So how did they do it?

  • First the owners set their politics aside and made a business decision, then
  • They bought a lot of leads (not just from us)
  • Generated a lot of their own leads (using our new Search+ program)
  • Set up a good sales system (CRM)
  • Got contracts with the Blue Plans and other major carriers in their states
  • Hired agents on referral only, and
  • Paid their agents well.

A pretty straight forward model that generated SEVEN figures in commissions with solid profitability over a 4 month period… Not bad.

If you and your agency didn’t take advantage of the Obamacare windfall, there are still millions of people to take care of in upcoming open enrollments.

In the meantime, sell short term medical and other non-exchange programs available outside of OEP to take care of people who missed their opportunity, work with small businesses to convert them from group plans to individual (which creates a qualifying event for all the employees making them eligible for an exchange plan as well as an off exchange plan), and start preparing for the fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Life Insurance Leads Are Generated and How to Work Them for Optimum Results

Whether you generate your own life insurance leads are, buy them from a lead company or a little of both Jeff Root’s interview of Clelland Green will provide you with useful insights like:

  • How Life Insurance Leads are Generated
  • Things to look out for if you are doing your own search campaigns
  • Some excellent tips on how to get the most of your leads

http://demosite.benepath.net/wp-content/uploads/audio/Root_Podcast.mp3

Lead Types

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