Getting An Appointment With A Direct Carrier

Whether you are a new insurance agent, or an established one, getting an appointment with a direct carrier is critical to your success. Getting an insurance carrier appointment, or being appointed by a direct carrier, means that you have authorization from the insurance company to act on its behalf. It allows you to have access to the carrier’s products, discounts, and other exclusive deals. It is pretty much everything you need in order to grow your business and revenue. It definitely takes effort on your part to secure an appointment with an established carrier, but we’ve got some advice for getting you there as quickly and as easily as possible.

paper with analytics on it and another piece of paper with resume on it on a table
You need to be prepared with a solid business plan to present to the carrier you want to work with.

You Need a Business Plan

In order to show carriers that you’re serious about selling, you need a solid business plan that shows how you plan to progress over time. Showing carriers that you have goals – and ways to attain them – is a great way to make you stand out from the crowd. Use a template or other online resource to write your plan if you’re not sure where to begin, and keep revising it if need be. 

You Need Good Marketing 

Most carriers want to see that agencies and agents have a solid business plan, but they also want to see that you have a proven track record, experience, and good marketing. They are looking for agents who will generate more business for them, and not simply move one or two customers over to them, so you need to show promise, growth, and profitability. Make sure you are able to produce records to back everything up. Remember, priority is given to those who can demonstrate long-term profitable alliances with carriers – the more appointments you get with direct carriers, the more desirable you will look, so keep trying to build on your successes. 

network of people connected by lines in a circular motion
Joining a network will give you the ability to get associated with more carriers.

You Should Consider Joining A Network

As the saying goes, “there is strength in numbers,”. This saying holds true for agents. It can be easier to get an appointment with a carrier when you’re part of a large network, so joining one is worth looking into. Joining a network is a great option for new agents who may be worried that they don’t have the proven track record to attract carriers.

You Should Look Into Wholesale 

If you do have problems getting an appointment with a direct carrier, then you should consider a wholesale carrier. Wholesale carriers are more open to working with inexperienced or new agents. Once you get some experience, and you have built up your business with a wholesale carrier, then major carriers will begin to consider working with you.

You Should Research The Carrier

Most carriers will provide a list of requirements on their website that they expect you to meet in order to obtain an appointment with them. Do your research and make sure that you meet all of the carrier’s requirements before beginning the process. african american man writing down in a notebook with a laptop in front of him

Getting an appointment with a direct carrier can be a long and sometimes difficult process, but it’s a necessary step for growing your business. Securing an appointment with a direct carrier will open up many doors for your business, and lead you towards success and profit.

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.

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]

How To Get More Revenue With Drip Emails

Drip emails. These can bring in a lot of revenue for your business. It will help you attract the right subscribers, keep them engaged, and get them to commit to your call to action. These emails offer businesses a new way to communicate with customers, which can lead to more revenue. However, there is a method to being successful with these kinds of emails. It has to be all about relevance and timing. Go about it all wrong, and you will lose customers, and a sale.

What Are Drip Emails?

laptop opened with an opened envelope on it with many unopened envelopes floating out
Drip emails is a marketing strategy. They offer businesses a new way to communicate with customers, which can lead to more revenue.

Drip emails is a marketing strategy. It consists of multiple emails sent out at a specific date and time in order to draw in clients. The emails go to customers after they have visited your site, and sign up for an email list through a form. The emails are usually pre-written, and sent in order to motivate customers to talk with you, and eventually close a sale with them. Consider them baby steps into building a relationship with your customer.

The reason they are called drip emails, are because they are sent out at different times to subscribers to update them on helpful information, products, and notifications over time. These emails should use timing and behavioral triggers to send automated messages. 

For example, when you are into a certain product, you generally sign up for their email subscriptions. This way you get to learn all the promotions, new product information, sales, etc. The continuous emails are considered drip emails. 

Benefits

Drip campaigns are a great way to consistently grow with time-consuming, demanding or delicate tasks. It will lead to more revenue by luring customers. Not only are you educating your leads, but you are promoting your product, while rewarding them. 

picture of graph with bars going up over time with a red marker line above it drawn by a hand with a marker.
Drip emails produce a 119% increase in click rate!

The more you personalize your email, then the more your customers will feel a connection, and more likely to work with you. 

More Engagement

Drip campaigns bring in more revenue because it raises engagement with customers. 119% increase in click rate! With these kinds of emails, you will engage more with your customers without having to meet with them. You stay connected with them and it doesnt need your constant attention. These emails should be monitored and tested by marketing teammates, but do not need much creating and sending. 

More conversation is created with drip emails. You keep an ongoing conversation between you and your subscribers.  You slowly build a relationship with the person, while promoting your brand and product. 

How To Create Successful Drip Emails

There are a number of different drip email types. There are the welcoming emails, the onboarding emails which tries to convert free trial customers with nurture. Re-engagement emails tried to pull inactive prospects back into working with your company again, and confirmation emails telling a person their order is complete and thanking them for using your services. 

In order to create successful campaigns that will keep your client engaged, you must:

  • Consider the customer– Approach is everything. If the customer is new and inquiring about your business, then a lot of nurturing and relationship building is important. Focus on the customer’s needs and adjust your emails accordingly.
  • Space Out!– Spacing out your emails are important. You do not want to fire emails back to back, and you also don’t want to space them out too far that the customer loses interest. Be consistent and stick to no more than one a day.

    different social media apps on a cellphone screen.
    Try to lead your customers to other channels you have, like social media.
  • Write quality over quantity– Write valuable content to your customers that are short and to the point at first. Get personal and avoid marketing language. Set deadlines and exclusive deals and write compelling messages.
  • Connect Channels– In your emails, make sure to try to lead your customers to other channels you have. For example, if your company is on social media, add in your email “follow us on Facebook!”
  • Test Your Campaigns– Sometimes things will not work. Automated emails should be tended to and you should always reevaluate and adjust to perfect them.

Lead Types

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