Between compliance and sales strategy, we could spend all day going over the “do’s” and “don’ts” of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. But we’ve been in this business long enough to know the top things you should do and the top thing you should NOT do for a successful Annual Enrollment Period.
The first thing you should do is listen to our podcast episode about your AEP checklist. Then, when you subscribe, you’ll get a free downloadable checklist!
If you wait until right before AEP (or worse, after AEP begins) to complete your contracting, certifications, and training, you’re in for a rough start to your busiest sales season.
Contracting and certifications typically open up in June/July, and product training typically begins by August. The sooner you complete this, the more products you’ll be lined up to successfully sell during the AEP. Plus, you may be eligible for some early-bird specials, like our AHIP discount.
Carriers can run out of supplies. They order as many as agents demand, so if you don’t collect yours as soon as you’re able to, you may be placed on backorder. If you really wait too long, you may end up without plan materials until after AEP has gotten started.
Even though you can’t talk about plan benefits until after October 1, you can talk to potential clients about why they need to take a look at their coverage in the fall. Create compliant flyers and business cards to hand out whenever you meet someone who is interested in talking to you about their coverage. Then, if you get their contact information, use a private CRM system* like Salesforce (or an Excel sheet) to make notes on who the person is, what products they may be interested in, and when you need to reach back out to them (likely October 1).
*If you contract with Senior Market Advisors, you’ll have your own access to our CRM to safely store all of your client notes.
Set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goals early on to keep yourself on track. For example, write down the number of appointments you hope to attend during AEP as well as the percentage of sales you want to close. Pin those numbers in your car, your phone, or somewhere you can see them to motivate you to meet or beat your goals.
There are a few major ways you can “mess up” your AEP success, but they may be easy to avoid.
As we mentioned in the “do’s” section, there is a lot you can do to prepare for AEP…and it can begin as early as June! Carriers often start opening up their own contracting processes in June and July, and the new AHIP is usually released around the same time. Then, a month or two later, carriers will start opening up product trainings and supply orders. This could be your biggest sales season of the year, so don’t wait until it’s right in front of you to prepare!
Just because you walked away from a meeting last year feeling great doesn’t mean your client’s needs didn’t change. It also doesn’t mean that another agent didn’t have better marketing skills. Call your existing book of business EARLY to make sure that if your current clients have concerns, they will come to you again instead of finding a new agent.
Remember that every year, CMS can and will change the Medicare Marketing and Communications Guidelines. Sometimes they may work in your favor, and others not so much. Either way, make sure you’ve brushed up on the 2020 CMS additions so that you know exactly what you can and cannot do to stay compliant while selling Medicare plans.
Don’t do any plan-specific marketing or take any applications before October 15, don’t miss-date your applications, don’t make copies of applications instead of ordering new ones (they all have unique identifiers), and don’t forget your scope of appointment forms!
As an independent agent, you have to do everything yourself! How can you ever find time to attend enough appointments if you’re worrying about marketing, lead generation, and follow-up communication?
By joining our FMO, you’ll have the support of a full marketing team, a commissions team, a contracting team, and a compliance officer!
To talk to one of our sales advisors, call 844-452-5020 during business hours, or send us a message. Or, if you’re ready to get started, head over to our custom eContracting site, agentcontract.com, and complete your contracting! We’re excited to have you on board!