Taking On Overwhelmed Customers

Businesses have been through tough times lately. Many owners who have managed to stay afloat will be looking for new commercial and group insurance policies. This will bring new customers to your door, and many will be understandably overwhelmed by recent events. These customers will be upset and will be looking to you for help.

man in business attire with a contract in one hand and a pen in another pointing at signature part.
Customers will be dealing with a lot and will need help from someone who is understanding and not pushy.

Customers want to be taken care of and crave personal attention. They want fast, easy quotes that will save them the most money while providing them with the most coverage. This is especially true for business owners who will be opening their businesses back up, or new business owners making a start in uncertain times. Keep in mind that this situation is new to them, and that they may be dealing with a tremendous loss of money due to the pandemic. At times, these kinds of customers can be a lot to handle, but there are some strategies to keep in mind as you work with overwhelmed customers.

Don’t Be Pushy

No one likes a pushy person, and that goes double for a pushy salesperson. If a customer is dealing with a lot of stress, the last thing they want is to have an agent that they feel is just trying to make a quick buck. Be open-minded and honest, and let them take the lead; this is the best way to approach overwhelmed customers.

Stay Calm & Communicate

There is no such thing as over communicating after a major crisis like a pandemic. Customers are going to feel overwhelmed with rebuilding their businesses and will need immediate help. While these customers can be a little difficult to deal with, as an agent it is your job to stay calm and reassure them that you will take care of them.

Tell your customer that they can sit back and relax while you do all the work to find them the best coverage. Allow customers the chance to express anger and frustration, then take control of the conversation. Let them know that you understand their concerns and show your dedication to finding a solution.

woman in a blue button up shirt with a cell phone to her ear while smiling
It is important to stay in touch and keep checking on how they are doing.

Stay In Touch

When you are faced with an overwhelmed customer, you need to be ready to come up with a practical solution for them. Once you do, it is important to stay in touch and keep checking on how they are doing. Just because you have completed the sale, doesn’t not mean that you can forget about your customer. Follow ups are just as important as the initial sale. Make sure they are okay and that their insurance suits their needs. Return their calls, find answers to their questions, and care for your clients’ needs as if they were your own. Not only will you keep your client, but they will more than likely refer you to others.

What insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s going to be the buzz word of the century. COVID-19, The Coronavirus, The pandemic. Right now, it has the world’s economy in shambles and people are fearing for loved ones’ well-being. It will go down as the great interruption of the 21st century.

With schools shut down and businesses operating remotely, any sense of normalcy is all but forgotten. Along with personal lives, this same impact is being felt in industries across the country. The insurance industry is no exception to this, and what insurance agents need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be laid out.

As a lead company that runs marketing campaigns nationwide, we have experienced the digital impact of this virus first hand. We have generated leads digitally for over 10 years in numerous verticals including Medicare supplement, individual health, commercial, and group health. We are seeing wild disruptions in how consumers typically interact with insurance agents in every one of these verticals.

However, we are discovering trends that could help agents maximize sales during this turbulent time. Your adaptation to these discoveries and use of available tools will make the difference.

The impact in numbers

The signs are all around us. At the time of writing this, there has been a 36% drop in the US stock market in a span of 5 weeks. Video streaming rates are so high that some companies are decreasing quality by 25% to save bandwidth. And in some cities, maximum capacity of patients and exhausted resources have become a reality for healthcare workers.

Insurance agent adapting working from home

These extreme statistics are a reality for the entire country. Granted, most are not as severe as those surrounding the medical industry. However, the impact is still considerable.

In the insurance industry, we know that variability in traffic is inevitable. Even when there isn’t a pandemic, our average variability is 3% from day-to-day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has settled in the United States, we at Benepath have seen as much as a 33% variability in impressions and traffic. An 11x difference. Through discussions with the competitors in the insurance space whom we have a relationship with, we discovered this variability has been universal.

What’s startling is we do this professionally, we specialize in it, can you imagine what the impact is for agents who try to do this on their own?

What does this mean for agents?

Here are the top 3 topics of conversations our sales team and customer service staff is having with clients:

  • Closed offices
  • Need for supplemental traffic
  • Market uncertainty

We’ve seen call centers close their doors temporarily and large agencies having to adapt their standard procedures. While a frightening reality for some workers, this is an opportunity for agents around the nation capable of working from home.

With call centers closed and large agencies’ productivity slowing, fulfillment opportunities now move in the direction of independent agents and smaller agencies to field the demand for insurance. In short; while your personal life may be experiencing disruptions, your sales trajectory doesn’t have to.

However, for agents who typically operate out of an office serving clients face-to-face or visiting their clients’ homes, adjustments have to be made. The question is how do you get “in front” of these potential clients. Social media and advertising are great ways to do this normally, but like previously stated, nontraditional consumer behavior creates a unique set of challenges in the current sales environment.

Board that read "Things To Do: 1) Own Today 2) *left empty* 3) *left empty*

 

So what can you do?

It’s time to think from a perspective of how your clients are spending their time. Because consumers are forced to minimize typical life distractions, consumerism is in a cycle unique cycle compared to standard trends.

To start, adopt new technologies. With the common availability of video chat systems like Zoom, BlueJeans, Skype, FaceTime and so many more, the option of getting “in front” of your client doesn’t have to stop because you can’t be there in person. You can even utilize social media messengers, texting, and personalized video presentations to get your message in your customers hands.

Now may also be the time to work with a digitally focused lead company like ourselves. Companies who have been adapting to this unique set of challenges from the beginning have a leg up compared to most smaller marketing teams or general marketing agencies. At Benepath, we understand where insurance consumers are going to get their insurance coverage needs fulfilled. Because of this, we have started to field a surge in consumers turning to online means to do so.

Another option is to express your availability to your network Insurance agent video chatting with client on computerof clients and offer incentives for referrals. Your clients are on the phone and engaging through social media with their family, friends, and business acquaintances more often during this period. If you can secure head space in those clients, the likelihood of a referral if the topic of insurance comes up increases.

Lastly, make yourself available. Consumers will have new questions, new concerns, and uncertainties about their coverage. The more effectively you defuse their anxieties, the more likely you are to develop a relationship with them that will outlast this pandemic. That directly lends itself to sales down the road.

Resources to help you

We pride ourselves in our motto; Together we succeed. We stand behind this now more than ever. As a community, an industry, country, and part of our interdependent world, we need to support one another. To play our part, we compiled these tools and articles to assist you in these trying times.

  • Benepath agent guide download sample imageAgent Lead Calculator – This tool allows an agent to quickly calculate how many new clients they need in order to achieve their goals (or needs in these circumstances).
  • Agent Guide– This guide lays out disposition data that agents we partner with have reported back to us. Based on best practices and compiled data, we present our findings to help you succeed with your insurance leads.
  • Best Places to Find Online Classes – We compiled a non-bias list of online sources to find classes in skills you want to learn or improve. This may be the perfect tool to help you adapt to the current conditions.
  • Harnessing the Power of Referrals – As discussed above, we believe that the power of referrals could benefit you greatly during this time. In this blog post, we discuss best practices for gaining referrals through your network.
  • Maximize Productivity – Have you heard of Covey’s 4 Quadrant Theory? It’s a simple process to maximize the productivity of your time. Successful professionals across all industries use it to organize their personal and professional lives. It’s time to apply it to yours.
  • Outbound Sales Cadence Insights – Every agent has developed cadences that work for them, but could they work better is the question you should be asking. We recently developed this guide to help audit your sales cadence and provide you with tips to implement better ones.

We are here to help

This compilation is just a sample of the beneficial tools and documents we create for insurance agents.

We are confident that you can make it through this. If you are in need of a partner to help drive profitability or just want to talk about the benefits we can provide to your business, contact us at the number above or fill out the form on the side bar. Together we can help you achieve your goals.

Together we succeed.

PSA: Listen to the CDC and WHO, and for the safety of the nurses, doctors, elderly, and immunocompromised. Lets work together on eradicating this disease.

 

Get Ready For The 2020 Health Insurance Tax

Insurers were given a pass in 2019 by Congress regarding their annual health insurance tax. The reason was that the government was concerned about consumers’ out-of-pocket costs. However, if the ACA’s health insurance tax resumes as planned, this ‘free pass’ might be over and insurers will face a $15.5 billion tax bill in 2020. The health insurance tax was created to fund the implementation of the ACA’s marketplace exchanges. For consumers, this means that insurers will raise premiums by more than 2% if the tax is implemented by the IRS.

Health Insurance Tax Over The Years

Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting recently analyzed the projected impact of the health insurance tax on health insurer premiums over the next 10 years. They found that premiums are likely to increase by 2.2% in 2020.

The tax started at $8 billion in 2014, increased to $11.3 billion for 2015-2016, and had a suspension in 2017. The tax was then reinstated at $14.3 billion in 2018, and then given another suspension for the year of 2019.

Who It Applies To

A fully-insured health plan is the more traditional way to structure an employer-sponsored health plan. With a fully-insured health plan: The company pays a premium to the insurance carrier. The health insurance tax applies to all insurers offering fully-insured coverage. This goes for :

  • on-exchange and off-exchange individual markets
  • large and small group markets
  • insured public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The Rise In Premiums

Premium increases will vary by state. However, premiums are expected to increase annually anywhere from $154 to $479. A person in the individual market can face a $196 increase. A person in the small group market can expect a $154 increase, while a family of 4 faces a $479 increase. As for families in the large group market, the increase for an individual will be about $158, while a family faces a $458 increase.

The Outcome Following The Tax

If the tax is implemented and is as high as almost $16 billion, then increased tax burdens on small employers will follow. Fully-insured small employers will face the repercussions, while private and self-insured public employers will not. Employers are not the only ones who will have to pay for the tax increase. State taxes will go up for everyone in order to cover the increased tax on Medicaid.

More importantly, many people might opt out of insurance due to the increase in premium costs. Healthier individuals opting-out will cause an imbalance in the risk pool, meaning higher premiums for the (less healthy) people who are insured.

As of now, there is no definitive answer if the tax will be implemented in 2020. Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would suspend the tax through 2021, but it is not a guarantee. If the health insurance tax is implemented, insurance rates and premiums will be more expensive than it already is.

Selling Group Health Insurance Can Be Highly Profitable

Selling group health insurance can be highly profitable but there does need to be a method to how you approach this kind of sale.

The first thing you need to do is focus on your target market. This is not the time to be scattered when devising a sales strategy for selling group health insurance. Every single individual you meet needs medical insurance, but you want to sell group health, so that means your market is employers/businesses. Whether the business you have in mind to approach is small, right on up to larger, most employers are always searching for a good deal on group medical insurance. They want to protect their bottom line in the process.

Knowing what drives an employer looking for group health insurance is the inside “coup.” It means you are better able to serve that market because you understand the mindset of companies and offer a good quality product that suits their needs. Of course you need to know your products intimately and be able to answer any questions asked. But you already know that, right?

Work the potential client from their point-of-view and be prepared to make more sales.

The True Value of an Insurance Lead

As and agent, your bottom line is one of the most important performance indicators to your business, but are you considering all the factors?

In the lead business, we often hear a lot about agents return on investment (ROI) or their cost per acquisition (CPA). Though our communications, we discovered something that most agents don’t realize when it comes to calculating ROI; the need to measure renewals.

As part of ROI, initial commission is often not the only commission is you will receive from that lead. Granted, not every consumer will resign come the following year, but a considerable number will. The question is, how can you maximize the value of a lead on a more consistent basis?

Our recent survey has highlighted a potential answer to this question: Selling multiple products. 80.8% of agents sell multiple products as part of their business, and most of those agents are 8+ years in the business! By selling multiple products, you offer your clients the possibility to be a one stop shop for their insurance needs.

By doing this as part of your business, every lead’s value increases significantly as they go from initially needing health insurance to needing life insurance down the road, or needing medicare insurance but wants to add final expense a few years later.

Longevity and renewals are all in the name of the game when it comes to selling insurance, and the leads are not just worth their initial value, they hold value for years. Think about that next time you are calculating the value of a lead.

Got an insurance lead? Don’t just call, use social media to make contact

Calling an insurance lead is usually the first step to getting to know your potential customers. It is, however, not the only way to keep in touch with them once you have made the initial contact. These days a large number of people use social media for a variety of reasons, and if it can leverage access to that, you have another powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

Social media is highly influential, easy to use and a great way to send information, other than by email. Of course it is best to have an already established insurance business presence online on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The more you have “out there” that shows who you are and what you sell, the more credibility you acquire.

Social media also allows you and your insurance to further follow up with leads, build stronger and better connections with potential customers and your target audiences. It is also a smart move to follow others and learn their preferences, get to understand what they like and prefer, how they live and what they may need in terms of insurance. The more active you are online, the more you attract new customers. And those leads you are working will pay off in multiple ways.

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