What Does “Ready To Sell” Mean?

When it comes to selling Medicare Supplement Plans, you don’t have to limit yourself to the Open Enrollment Period! There are over 11,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day, which means not only opportunities to make a lot of sales, but also to earn a residual income. Selling Medicare Supplement Plans is a lucrative business that you can make a good living from, but before you begin selling, you must be “ready to sell.” Just because you are contracted with an insurance carrier does not necessarily mean that you’re “ready to sell.” There are certain steps that you have to take first.

computer mouse over the word license
Check your local state requirements to get licensed.

1. Get a Medicare License To Sell

Before completing any of the following certifications, you have to be properly licensed to sell Medicare products per your state’s Department of Insurance requirements. You must pass a state licensing exam and then apply for your license. Make sure to check with your state’s Department of Insurance for licensing requirements for your specific state.

2. Complete AHIP Certifications

America’s Health Insurance Plans, or AHIP,  represents over 1,000 companies that offer insurance. In order to sell Medicare products, you will be required to complete AHIP training. The training is designed to educate agents on selling Medicare plans as well as on protecting seniors. When you receive this training, you will learn the basics of:

  • Medicare fee-for-service eligibility and benefits
  • Eligibility and coverage
  • The different types of Medicare plans
  • Compliance with marketing guidelines and enrollment procedures
  • How to detect and report fraud, waste, and abuse

Once you have received this training and are familiar with CMS regulations and guidelines, you will satisfy the requirement of insurers to sell their plans.

2. Complete Carrier Specific Certifications

illustration of a man in a suit motioning towards a certificate

Once you have completed the AHIP certification, the next step is to get certified with the insurance carriers you are going to work for. Some of the large carriers, such as Aetna and Humana, require individual product certifications in order to be able to sell their plans. You will be given three opportunities to pass their product certification test; if you fail all three times, then you will be unable to sell their products for one full year.

3. Finding Valuable Leads

Once you have completely passed all the certifications required, then the final step is to find valuable leads so you can start selling! The best way to do this is to work with Benepath, because we offer real-time, exclusive leads.  Customers come to our site, they fill out our form indicating that they are interested in purchasing a Medicare Supplement Plan, and then the lead is immediately sent to you in real time. You will receive a live transfer call, as well as a text and an email; they will even be linked to your CRM.

What sets Benepath apart from other companies is that our exclusive leads always expect your call. We provide a custom thank you page for each one of our agents: each prospect will see your information including your picture, your logo, and a brief description of you or your agency. We provide you with better tools, more guidance, and the best leads available thanks to our constant researching and technological advancement.

Ways To Thank Your Customers

It can be easy to put all of your focus on turning leads into sales, and on growing your business, instead of focusing on what is most important: your customers. There is nothing wrong with wanting to grow your business and become more successful, but at the same time it’s important  to take a step back and remember that you are only successful because of your customers. In order to maintain a healthy relationship with your customers and ensure long-term success, you need to keep them happy, while letting them know that you appreciate them. You can do this by simply saying thank you in a creative way.

Send an Old-School Handwritten Note

caucasian hand with a pen in it next to a white card that says thank you

Handwritten notes are rare in today’s technological world. Emailing a thank you note has become the norm, but doing this is not personal or memorable. Taking the time to hand write a special thank-you note to a customer will make them feel important and appreciated – and everyone loves getting things in the mail!

Surprise Them

Send flowers, a goody basket, or pizza – because who doesn’t love pizza? Taking time out of your day to send any of these items is a great way to say thank you. Just make sure it is something the customer can relate to and will appreciate. You can send a little note or a joke with these gifts, and your gesture will surely brighten up their day.

instagram icon with the pull down menu to make a new post
Give clients a shoutout by posting a kind thank you message on your business’ social media page.

 

Give Them A Shoutout On Social Media

A lot of people spend their free time scrolling through social media, so what better way to thank your client than by putting it on social media? Give them a shoutout by posting a kind thank you message on your business’ social media page. Be sure to ask your client permission before posting, especially if you are using their professional profile, just in case they aren’t comfortable with having their name out there. 

Make a Phone Call

Usually when an agent calls someone it is to make a sale. So you can imagine how surprised a client would be if you called to simply thank them for their business. Set some time aside during your day to call customers and thank them, and if they don’t pick up, leave a thoughtful voicemail.

Treat Them To Coffee

If you think your client would feel comfortable with it, ask if you can take them out for a thank you coffee. Taking your client out for coffee is an effective way to say thank you in person and help build a stronger relationship with them. If they cannot meet for coffee, or if they live far away, then consider sending them a gift card to their local coffee shop.

Pay It Forwardwoman holding a large $50 bill with the word donation on it in red

A wonderful way to show how grateful you are to your client is by paying it forward. You can reach out to your client and let them know that you want to donate to their favorite charity in their name. This is not only an extremely thoughtful way of showing your appreciation, but it is also  a great way to build a stronger connection with your client.

Showing that you appreciate your clients and letting them know that you care about them as more than just a business prospect is easy. Show your gratitude with any of these simple and effective  acts, and you will not only have a great relationship with your customers, but they will surely spread the word about your thoughtfulness to others- which will mean more business for you.

How You Can Nurture Leads With Benepath

As an agent, you understand that most people need a little hand-holding before they are willing to give their money away. If you want to turn a lead into a customer, then you must improve the efficiency of your sales funnel by nurturing your leads. This has to be a part of your sales process in order for a potential customer to become a paying customer. Nurturing leads is critical to your business’s success, and luckily, there are many effective ways to do this. One of the best ways to nurture leads is to work with Benepath. Benepath offers exclusive, real-time leads, meaning you’ll have no trouble getting in touch with them, and you’ll be able to get past that crucial first step of making contact. We’ve got the leads, and we’ve also got the best ways to nurture them – just ask our agents. 

Get Personal

two people sitting at a table looking at a laptop together.
Customers need to feel a connection, so personalize your interactions with your leads.

Studies show that 41% of consumers have switched services or companies at some point because they weren’t being treated in a personal way. Customers need to feel a connection, so personalize your interactions with your leads. Make sure to use their names when you communicate with them, and to listen carefully when they speak, so you can remember little details about them that you can bring in your next conversation. If you can, meet with your leads in person so you can let them know what you have to offer- a face-to-face meeting will always leave customers with a better impression than any other form of communication! 

Benepath facilitates easy, personalized communication with leads. All of your prospects will receive a customized thank you page with your name and picture, so they’ll instantly be able to put a name to a face, and will be ready for your call.  This seemingly small touch will start your interaction off on the right foot, and will make your leads feel like they’ve got a connection with you right off the bat.

“I absolutely love the Benepath exclusive leads. This program consistently brings me high quality leads who not only know that I am calling, they are typically eager to speak with me! Not only this, but Benepath truly stands behind  their system and acts as a real partner. Since starting on the Benepath program my business has really picked up and I spend less time prospecting and more time selling. I would highly recommend the Benepath exclusive leads program to any agent.”

  • Fred A.

Post Relevant & Conversational Content on Social Media

It’s hard to interest people in information that does not pertain to them or their needs. When you post content on social media, or when you send emails, try to include only highly relevant content that delivers value. Do not repeat information that your leads have seen or heard already. Switch it up, while at the same time revealing the value of your product. Adding valuable content about your product or service shows that you have a deep commitment to your business and to your relationship with your customers. 

Use a Multi-Channel Strategy

social media web
Use a combination of channels by providing links in your emails to your social media pages.

Don’t stick to just using social media or  drip-emailing campaigns. Use a combination of channels by providing links in your emails to your social media pages, blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, or webinars, as each of these channels provides access to new audiences. People are constantly on their cell phones, so you need to stay up-to-date and make sure they can access your content and connect with you through different channels. If you need suggestions on how to make this strategy work, talk to Benepath – we can help work out a successful strategy for your business. 

“I have used leads in the past and had my own system of calling. I talked to Judy from Benepath and she taught me a follow system of calling, emailing and texting. I followed their system and was pleasantly surprised. Instead of having a contact rate of 20-40%, I was able to contact over 70% of their leads. Thank you for teaching that system to me.”

  • Richard D.

Follow Up In a Timely Manner

Automated emails and social media posts are an easy way to help you reach large groups of prospects, but they’re not enough. You have to contact each lead separately, and follow up with them in a timely manner. A follow-up email or phone call is the best way to convert inbound leads into sales opportunities. A well-planned call is more effective than cold calling, which is why Benepath delivers real-time exclusive leads to our agents. gold clock with the short hand on the two

“I have received 52 leads from Benepath and have closed 37% of the leads.  My recent story is I had a lead from November that is 70 years of age. I called her up after leaving several messages and I finally reached her and we had a great conversation and she scheduled to meet with me next week. This is proof never give up on a lead you have not reached, because you never know the circumstances. She apologized later in the conversation for never calling me back.  I love this business of helping people, so never prejudge a lead.  All leads need to be worked a lot to get an appointment and a sale. I don’t give them too much information in the first phone call, my goal is to get in front of them to close them. This is my style and my success story.  The quality of the product is here at Benepath. Keep being persistent and you will start closing more leads.”

  • Dale W.

Send Personalized Emails

Email marketing tools are cost-effective and allow you to automatically send out many emails at once. You should be sending emails regularly, about one email per week. Remember, though, to put your leads’ names on each email so they feel like you are not sending out a mass email, but rather one that is directed to them. Sending personalized emails is one of the most effective ways to nurture your leads, as personalized messages get 4-10 times the response that mass emails get. Simply putting a lead’s name on your email will make them feel that you care, and that the message is coming from a friend as opposed to from a salesman.

Use Lead Scoring

robot with the words lead scoring next ti ut

Lead scoring is a method by which you rank prospects on a scale. The scale is based on the value each lead represents – you can assign numeric values to marketing automation platforms such as social media interactions. The best way to determine the urgency of follow-ups or the need to nurture is by determining if the lead is ready, willing, and able. For example, if a lead is able and willing, but not ready, then you need to create an urgency for them to commit, with a discount or promotion, for example. But if a lead is ready and willing, but unable, then nurture the lead until they are ready and able.

“Wanted you to know that when it comes to leads, I have my own ideas about what makes a lead a good lead. Top of my list: I want to get the prospect on the phone as soon as possible after the lead shows up. If that doesn’t happen my chances of success start to fade. When I call the leads from Benepath, people are there to pick up the phone. Sometimes, they are a bit surprised that someone actually called so fast, and they are real prospects. “Wow, I just did that seconds ago!” is common. Of course, sometimes they need to be touched later for follow up but the point is that I now have the expectation from the moment I get the lead that I will get the person.”

  • Kirby T.

When you work with Benepath, receiving reliable, exclusive leads is the easy part. We provide you with real-time leads through a secured process, and give you a customized thank you page so your  leads will be ready for your call. This thank you page assures leads that they won’t be bounced around between agents, and gives them a feeling of connection with you right from the start. We offer the leads, and, while it is up to you to properly nurture the leads, we are behind you every step of the way. You’ll find, though, that our leads do not need much nurturing because they are ready to speak with you and buy your product! But if they do need some nurturing, then follow the effective ways mentioned above to seal the deal. To get more information, fill out the form below or call 866-368-0377.

Create A Network With Other Independent Agents & Get More Sales

Working as an independent agent comes with advantages and disadvantages. The plus side of going it on your own is better pay, but the downside is that you do not have the network, or the training that comes with working for a company. But that does not mean that you cannot build your own network with other independent agents. Why build a network? Not only does it help you serve customers better, but you will also open up new opportunities for yourself and make more money in the process!

different colored play pieces on a paper with lines connecting all of them.
Creating your own circle of agents can be hugely advantageous to everyone involved.

Agency Network Vs Independent Networking

Are you aware of agency networks? Agency networks are organizations of agencies, carriers and partners that band together to help grow your business. These agencies provide advocacy and resources for independent agencies, in addition to helping independent agents form  business relationships. You can choose to join one of these agencies, but there is a fee. Networking with other independent agents on your own, on the other hand, is free. Creating your own circle of agents can be hugely advantageous to everyone involved.  

Access to Carriers and Customers

It is no secret that working with a team will help a business grow. The same goes for independent agents. You know it takes a lot of work to build your own business from the ground up, and you need to build a history with carriers before you can get more business. Being part of a network can help you gain access to more carriers. If you choose to go the route of an agency network, they will have ready-made relationships with carriers: an agency network will already be contracted with a carrier and will help you to write business for them. But creating your own  network with other independent agents will also offer you access to different carriers, and products. 

2 hands shaking with a network of people on screens behind as wallpaper.

Competition constantly grows amongst independent agents, which can mean losing customers. However, if you work together with other agents and carriers, you can offer customers more options, and everyone involved will get more business. 

Joining an agency network will help you gain access to new carriers and products. You already know that it can be tough to get appointments with carriers if you do not meet their standards of business volume. However, banding together with other independent agents will help meet the carriers’ requirement, allow you to generate and make more appointments with leads, as well as  have the time to keep them.

Learn More, Earn More

caucasian woman with glasses on and a book open in her hands with a light bulb over her head and cash flaoting in the air next to her.
Networking with other agents will help you stay on top of current market trends, developments, and bring in more revenue.

Networking with other agents will help you stay on top of current market trends, developments, and opportunities that you might be missing. You can learn from others in your field, and share information that will help build your skills and revenue. If you are faced with a problem, speaking with other independent agents in your network can help you to find a solution. Other agents might be facing the same challenges you are, so putting your heads together could be beneficial to everyone. You can learn different strategies that are working for other agents, and vice-versa. 

An agency network can be a source of expertise on how to grow your business, as well as a way to dip into other markets and opportunities. Maybe you only sell health insurance, but are thinking of selling Medicare? Don’t know where to start? Rely on your network of agents. Think of this network as your own personal mentor.

Don’t get stuck in your day-to-day routine. Work instead on growing your business. This can be done with the help of a reliable network. When networking with other agents, you not only gain access to insurance carriers’ contracts, but can also increase your income by combing through these carriers’ leads. The market evolves, things change, and you don’t want to get left behind. Stay ahead of the trends, learn new skills, and grow your leads, sales, and opportunities by networking. If you establish yourself in the right network, the pay off is immeasurable.

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.

Lead Types

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