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]

Challenges in a Competitive Career

The insurance industry is definitely a cut above most sales jobs, and it takes a special person to thrive in it. Most people find the challenging structure of a competitive career difficult, but anyone can find success in it as long as you know which skills to sharpen.

competitive team working on a project together
Competition doesn’t have to be cut-throat. You can make it friendly too.

Adaptability

The first skill we’ll talk about is the most important one: adaptability. It takes a real warrior to roll with the punches and keep fighting. Any industry benefits from this skill, so building it up before you enter this career can carry you through to other sectors of insurance.

This involves recognizing errors and improving with grace. If something you’re implementing isn’t working, then you must practice making firm decisions to change. People often fail here because they want to save face in front of their peers. However, being adaptable and learning from these mistakes builds character and improves the workplace. 

Mistakes are hidden lessons. As long as you are aware of them, you can better show your character by how you react and improve, rather than just covering them up and hoping for the best.

Proper Networking

This goes way beyond your referral system. A skilled networker creates strong bonds no matter who they talk to, and these bonds improve your career by leaps and bounds. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, picture moving throughout your day (even doing mundane things like chores), but no one you speak to is friendly or helpful.

You wouldn’t get very far, or if you did, it wouldn’t be pleasant.

Practice respect and courtesy in all your interactions. Keep notes and tabs on people that you like that are better connected. We see this in social media all the time. If you’re looking for a leg-up in your career, talking with someone who knows a potential employer and making friends, is a great way to get your foot in the door later.

A trusted network is a support group. These people will provide assistance in hard times, celebrate your success in the good times, and balance you out as you make your way to the top. 

Innovation

Going above and beyond is a sure-fire way to dominate a competitive career. Is someone doing something well? Then you must innovate and do it better.

man walking in a competitive suit
Remember to always bring your A-game!

This involves thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries of what people expect. Of course, always follow the proper legal channels with this, and abide by industry rules, but the person that stands out (and well) is the person you see succeeding.

For example, a small gesture like having an apple pie scented candle in your office can be considered innovation. People will associate the smell of fresh baked goods with you. It works well for the real estate industry. Simple changes like these can have wildly successful results. Paired with the earlier skills, mastering this can be life-changing for your career.

Remember, always act with integrity in your competition. People may not remember your actions, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. If your interactions with peers come off as manipulative or underhanded, that’s the way they’ll think of you. However, if you keep this strong thread of honesty and mix it with ambition, you’ll have wildfire inside to blaze you straight to the top.

 

The Difference Between AEP and OEP

Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, Medigap, Open Enrollment, Annual Enrollment.  There are so many buzz words associated with Medicare insurance sales that it is often difficult to differentiate what it all means.  One of the most confusing things to understand as an agent, let alone as a consumer, is what the difference between AEP and OEP is.

We are quickly approaching Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage plans, not to be confused with Open Enrollment Period (OEP) that is correlated with Medicare Supplement plans.  AEP is an 8 week period from October 15th through December 7th where consumers can sign up for Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage plans.  

OEP and Medicare Supplement plans (aka Medigap) is a little more complicated than AEP. OEP is a six month period from the beginning of a consumer’s Part B effective date. This is when a consumer can receive coverage without any health questions being asked.  There are a few circumstances that would begin an OEP including:

  • -Particular circumstances for someone on disability before their 65th birthday
  • -An individual’s 65th birthday
  • -Retirement and therefore loss of current group health plan after the age of 65

Once an individual has timed out of the six month period, they forfeit the opportunity to buy a Medicare Supplement plan without any medical questions being asked.  A consumer can sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan after that six month period, but they will be subject to health questions that could disqualify them for coverage by some insurance companies.

This graphic from boomerbenefits.com easily explains the differences we have explained above.  We recommend using this to help engage and explain the difference with your clients searching for information on their Medicare options.

Medicare insurance is an incredible investment for new agents or agents looking to expand their product portfolio, but it is exactly that; an investment.

Through our research and discoveries with our long term clients, we have found that Medicare consumers are likely to remain on an agent’s books for upwards of 8 years.  Though forming a client book will happen over time, lead services are a great way to guide consumers your way over a local competitor. While the marketing costs may be higher than referrals, the volume of potential clients is immediate, and the return over that consumer lifecycle pays for itself. 

When you are ready to increase your typical Medicare Supplement volume with exclusive leads, give us a call, because together we succeed!

Always Be Honest With Leads and Customers

Telling the truth is a great value. In the age of the internet it is too easy to be swayed by fake stories and inaccurate posts. Too many people get caught up making others think they know far more than they really do. This applies to insurance agents and others who are in sales. What is important to remember, however, is that no one knows everything and making people think you do is bound to blow up at some point.

Telling leads and customers that you do not know an answer to their question is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about. Just tell the person asking that you do not know the answer, but you intend to find it and provide it for them. This type of a response, whether on the internet, email or in person is far more credible than faking it. Remember, if it is on the internet, it is there permanently.

Once you have found the answer to a puzzling inquiry, make it a point to contact the person who asked the question and give them your researched answer. Service like that is something people will remember for a long time. If you want great customers, be trustworthy.

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