Sarah Smith

Ben Newman on How to Be a Top Performer – Ep. 18

In Episode 18, Sarah and Jessica interview Performance Coach, Ben Newman. Senior Market Advisors has been working with Ben Newman for a few months and we knew that his knowledge needed to be shared with our listeners. He has been working with SMA leadership and employees to help our company improve through successfully growing and maintaining efficient company culture. Through our time with Ben Newman, we have come to know the power of his authenticity and engaging storytelling. No wonder he has become nationally recognized! This podcast is exactly what every agent needs to listen to during the start of AEP

Ben Newman is a highly regarded Performance Coach, International Speaker, and Best-Selling Author. He has worked with clients from Fortune 500 companies around the world as well as professional athletes in the NFL, PGA, NBA, MLB, UFC, and NCAA. Ben Newman has shared the stage with leaders such as Jerry Rice, Ray Lewis, Tony Dungy, Colin Powell, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard, Jon Gordon, and many others. In 2012 The Napoleon Hill Foundation recognized Ben as one of the Top 51 speakers and thought leaders in the world and his book, “Own Your Success,” was ranked by CEO READ as their #13 business book of the year. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife and their children who he says is the true measure of his success. In this podcast, Ben Newman shares with us the strategies he has implemented within his life and others’ lives to be a motivated top performer. 

Join us as we talk to Ben about “The Burn,” mental toughness, identifying SMART goals, and life lessons from his mother. We promise that if you use these techniques in your own life you will not only excel professionally but also personally. Ben Newman has the ability to help you reframe your mind and realize what motivates you. Figure out what your burn is! You’ll see an increase in sales, productivity, and overall happiness. Listen to the full podcast to learn the secrets of being a top performer!

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

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Medicare Plan Finder Tool: What’s Changed? – Ep. 17

Episode 17 discusses the latest update to the Medicare Plan Finder Tool on As you may have heard, this tool has been significantly altered with AEP right around the corner. Find out what exactly has been changed and why agents everywhere are talking about it. 

As we go through all of the Medicare Plan Finder Tool revisions, we will highlight the following categories: saving information, preferred pharmacies, overview of costs, total costs, provider networks, star ratings, drug cost assistance, printed drug list, navigation issues, out-of-pocket max, and old records. Learn what is new and what has remained the same, so that you can figure out the best strategy when enrolling beneficiaries this annual enrollment period.

Finally, we will conclude on a positive note with an interview with agent Paul Coleman. No matter what is going on in the industry, we always try to focus on the good and the lives we can impact for the better professionally and personally. 

Medicare Plan Finder Tool: What’s Changed? – Ep. 17 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: Today’s episode is all about the updates to the Medicare Plan Finder Tool on So we are going to switch it up a bit on this podcast. We are going to combine the Disruptive Waves section with All Aboard the Knowledge Train because this massive update we have for you will affect your every day selling this AEP…

Jessica: Yes, hopefully you have heard by now that the Medicare Plan Finder tool on has had a HUGE update recently. The new Medicare Plan Finder tool went live on on October 1st which unfortunately didn’t give agents much time to play around with the changes and get comfortable with the new tool before AEP. 

Sarah: So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with these changes already, you really should before AEP! These changes will affect how you use the tool during appointments to get beneficiaries the right coverage for their needs. 

Jessica: Forbes had a few articles on the most important changes to the Medicare Plan Finder tool. So let’s break down the changes and then we can dive in to how they will affect you. 

Sarah: Starting with how you save information… 

  • Saving Information – One of the biggest potential issues for agents is the ability to save information. The only way to save information now on the new Medicare Plan Finder Tool is to have an account on But here’s the catch: to create an account you need to have a Medicare number and you might need to add some other other health information. Now you could technically fudge that other information, but you have to have a Medicare number. This means agents may be unable to save information. This also means that if a beneficiary who is new to Medicare and not yet 65 wanted to browse plans and save information to discuss with an agent, they wouldn’t be able to do so as far as I can tell when I was messing around today with the new Medicare Plan Finder Tool.(Source

And now time, for an SMA Value Ad:

Are you an insurance agent or agency looking for extra marketing support, but not sure where to start? Senior Market Advisors can give you the tools you need to grow your business. Need leads? Use SMA Storefront to customize generic one-of-a-kind marketing materials. Have leads but nowhere to house them? Other FMO’s may charge you for their CRM tool. But at SMA, we give you a personalized CRM account for FREE! Have leads… but no way to quote them? Lucky for you, SMA offers FREE access to the CSG Quoting tool. This tool can cost you thousands of dollars elsewhere, but with SMA, access is completely FREE! Not getting paid the commissions you deserve? SMA has strong relationships with each carrier, so you can count on top-tier commissions. Interested in learning more? Visit us online at or give us a call at 844-334-6066.


  • What’s frustrating is that the old Medicare Plan Finder Tool on would save your information and create a profile for you including your zip code, current coverage, and current subsidy level and it would sit up in the corner while you were doing a search and it would add information as created. This no longer saves, so you’ll have to start over every time you want to use the site. 
  • This also includes the “Retrieve My Saved Drug List” This was an awesome feature for agents and benes alike. You could go through the website, add the drugs and you would be able to save that drug list and it would give you a drug list id number and the date it was created. And then you could just go back in and input the drug list id number and the date it was created and it would retrieve that drug list and you wouldn’t have to go back and populate drugs every time. Many beneficiaries are taking many drugs. Some are taking 10 prescriptions, 20 prescriptions, who knows! So entering those in every single time is just a total hassle. This also was helpful if a bene wanted to use it to print their drugs to take to the pharmacy. Nope, that feature is gone as well 🙁
  • Another thing about the Adding Drug page that’s been updated is that the old page used to show you whether the drug you input was generic and if there were generic options available to lower costs. When I was in there today I did not see this feature anywhere so if that’s a feature that is available, I don’t think a beneficiary would easily find it.
  • You also used to be able to refine plan results. For example, if you only want MA only plans or MAPD plans you could choose between them. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to filter for those fields. You can filter by carrier and star ratings and then filter by coverage options like vision, dental, hearing, transportation, and fitness.


  • Preferred Pharmacies – The new Medicare Plan Finder tool will make finding preferred pharmacies a challenge. The older version had two methods to retrieve this information. You could find the Pharmacy network and see a chart of all preferred, standard, or out-of-network pharmacies in a specific zip code. Another option was to click on the View Drug Cost Summary on the comparison page. This would create a comparison of pharmacies and identified if it was preferred, standard, or out-of-network. The new Plan Finder tool does not have either option available for identifying preferred pharmacies. If you want to find preferred pharmacies, you would need to change pharmacies and then compare costs. This is an inefficient method and depending on the drug, may not be accurate. (Source
  • Old site would show which pharmacies were preferred while on the Selecting Your Pharmacies page. That no longer exists so if a bene was looking for this information, they probably wouldn’t even find it.
  • Overview of Costs – In the past, agents could click on a link on the Overview page of the Legacy Plan Finder and find all the information surrounding the plan’s cost and sharing information. This information does not appear on the updated tool. (Source)


  • Total Costs – The older Plan Finder tool easily displayed total out-of-pocket drug costs for the year, including monthly premiums and costs for prescriptions. The new Plan Finder estimates yearly costs at retail or mail order pharmacies, but they do not include the premium. To get this cost you would need to multiply the premium by 12 and add that cost to the estimated costs. There have been reports that CMS is aware of this flaw and is working to fix it but we haven’t heard an update on this just yet but hopefully they will fix it before AEP starts. (Source)

And now time, for an SMA Value Ad:

Looking for extra marketing support? SMA Storefront is your one-stop shop for all your marketing needs! Use SMA’s Agent Storefront to customize generic marketing materials like posters, mailers, flyers, rack cards and business cards! We give you the ability to add your logo and contact information so every piece is one of a kind! Planning to host a marketing event? Order pre-designed banners and giveaways directly from Storefront! Continue your knowledge on sales techniques by viewing the Building Your Business video series and downloading Medicare-related whitepapers! Customize your marketing, educate yourself and get the tools you need to succeed, all with SMA Storefront! Interested in learning more? Visit us online at or give us a call at 844-334-6066.


  • Provider Networks The older Plan Finder had a link to the plan’s provider network site. This allowed agents and beneficiaries to find in-network physicians. However, the new Plan Finder does not have this link, so it may be difficult to find this information. (Source)


  • Star Ratings – Star ratings are an important factor when enrolling in a plan. The new Plan Finder tools does not have information on people who left the plan (or why they left) and the rating for “ease of getting prescription filled” is no longer available. (Source) Right now the “Star Rating” just says “Coming Soon”… hopefully this feature will be added soon?
  • Drug Cost Assistance – The old Medicare Plan Finder Tool had a link to “lower your drug costs.” This link will take you to a page that would identify any assistance available for a specific medication. However, the new Plan Finder tool’s link takes you to a generic with 6 ways to get help with your prescription costs. (Source)  


  • Printed Drug List – This is kind of something I talked about earlier. The old Medicare Plan Finder Tool had a drug list that could be printed on a simple, one-page document. Many beneficiaries would take this to their physician appointments. However, the new Plan Finder does not have a one-page option. Instead, beneficiaries would need to to print each page of the drug lists, and only 3-4 drugs fit per page. (Source)
  • Navigation Issues – The new Medicare Plan Finder Tool has several navigation issues. These issues include locations changing when searching for pharmacies in two locations, no option to view all plans on one page, and less sorting options when filtering  plans. (Source)
  • Out-of-Pocket Max – the out-of-pocket maximum on the comparison page is wrong. Instead, it shows estimated total costs for the year. (Source)


  • Old Records – Records from the old Medicare Plan Finder Tool will not migrate into the new one. This means agents and beneficiaries will need to take extra time when entering data and there is a higher chance of errors. (Source)

Hopefully you were able to print off drugs lists or any other old records you had for your clients, but if not it may be a good idea to start doing that in the future. That way if any major changes happen again you will be prepared! We live and we learn!


Yeah this is a really frustrating thing. I think a lot of agents really just didn’t know that all of these changes were coming. They didn’t know that all this information would be purged. Now there is just no access to it. And it’s annoying for agents who may have used the Medicare Plan Finder Tool to house information to use to prepare before appointments. It just makes the whole process more tedious. 


But with all that let’s try to stay on the positive side! I mean really this is just the government is making this big push to make it easier for Medicare-eligibles. And they want it to be easier for them to find information and to learn about plans that are out there. I think that is the intent but as technology changes we are bound to hit bumps in the road and this appears to be one of them. But hopefully in the grand scheme of things, it will all work out in the end.


Obviously, these updates are causing agents huge headaches and are not ideal, but as you should know if you listen to our podcast regularly, we try to stay positive.

This is there biggest overhaul they’ve done to the site in years. So it’s not surprising that there is bugs and things that they didn’t prepare for or they missed. So hopefully it is a work in progress and will improve. We know all these changes are not ideal but as you know if you listen to our podcast regularly, we always try to end on a positive note.

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 
Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

SMA AEP Kickoff: LIVE Recording – Ep. 16

Join us for the Senior Market Adivors AEP Kickoff event in Nashville, TN! Episode 16 is different from all previous podcast episodes! We are proud to present our first podcast on the go just in time for AEP! Sarah and Jessica set up the podcast at an event where Senior Market Advisors hosted a select group of agents across Tennessee and our carrier partners. The AEP Kickoff took place at TopGolf! The perfect place to talk business and also have fun!

In this episode you’ll get a sneak peek of some of the 2020 benefits offered in the Tennessee market for carriers like Aetna, Cigna, Amerigroup, BCBS of TN and more! You’ll also hear about some of the amazing value adds that Senior Market Advisors provides to our contracted agents. We hope you enjoy the presentation and it feels like you are in the room with us!

Then we conclude with a couple interviews with two agents, Ray Dover and Eric Peek who share their advice for agents in preparing for AEP and some feel good stories. Our agents talk about reasons they got into the healthcare industry and how they connect with their clients. Senior Market Advisors believes in serving the underserved and that is clear as you listen to statements made by our agents. It isn’t about getting the sale, it’s about helping beneficiaries find a plan that is right for them. Some of our agents have ended up forming relationships with their clients that last for years! Remember that as we move into AEP. This isn’t just a season for sales, it’s also a time to make a difference in your community. We promise, you’ll find AEP and your job rewarding if you approach with the mindset of helping others! Get motivated and get excited because AEP is right around the corner!

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How to Market Yourself on Social Media – Ep. 15

Episode 15 is all about how to market yourself on social media. By subscribing to this podcast, you’ll also get access to our e-Book titled: “Social Media Marketing for Insurance Agents” which goes into greater detail on how to market yourself using social media. 

We begin this episode by discussing something exciting that FitBit has in the works to allow users to share their health data with healthcare providers and manage chronic conditions. Then we do a deep-dive into how to market yourself on social media.

First off, what is social media? Sarah and Jessica start by discussing the basics of social media and how to use it successfully to grow your business. This includes how to select your target audience, social media compliance, understanding types of content, creating a social media strategy, social media platforms, and more!

Utilizing multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is key when marketing yourself online. Our e-Book gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create profiles on each platform and best practices for remaining compliant. Sarah and Jessica touch on all of this in the podcast and more!

Plus, we end on a positive note with our very own Director of Digital Engagement, Jenn Pratt whose team was responsible for putting together the e-Book on this topic. She tells us an inspiring story about how even though all the odds were stacked against her, she overcame adversity to get where she is today.

Podcast Episode 15 – How to Market Yourself on Social Media Full Transcript:

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: Today’s episode is all about how to market yourself on social media. Lucky for you, if you’re listening to this podcast, you also now have access to our e-Book titled: “Social Media Marketing for Insurance Agents” which will go into greater detail on how to market yourself online using social media. We also discuss something exciting that FitBit has in the works and we conclude with a feel good story from our Director of Digital Engagement, Jenn Pratt!

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So by the time this podcast is out, Fitbit will have launched a brand new service called FitBit Premium! 

Sarah: That’s right! This paid service will develop personalized wellness reports allowing users to share their data with their physician, including health data trends and analyses of activity, heart rate, sleep and weight fluctuations.

Jessica: Which is awesome! They also plan to launch a personal coaching product in 2020 for users who are managing chronic conditions like diabetes.

Sarah: And they will have a limited pilot available for that at the end of this year! So big things are happening!

Jessica: Yes, big things for sure! With these new developments, people will be able to export their wearable data from the Fitbit dashboard in order to share it with their provider, although it doesn’t integrate directly into the EMR. 

Sarah: The subscription service will also include sleep tracking, customized fitness and diet programs as well as health reports like we mentioned earlier. 

Jessica: The premium cost will be $9.99 per month or $79.99 annually and will be included under Fitbit Care which is a one-year-old connected care platform for employers, health plans and health systems.

Sarah: Yeah, so just be aware! This may be something that would be of interest to you or people you know. It sounds like a great tool and just one of the many innovations emerging in the marketplace to help improve healthcare and people’s personal wellness! We got this information from HealthcareDive so make sure to check out their website, they have a lot of great content related to breaking news in the healthcare space.

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Okay so as we mentioned earlier, today’s episode is all about how to market yourself on social media! If you want a copy the e-book so you can review this information later, we’ve got a link in the description on our podcast website! DOWNLOAD HERE

Jessica: So before we dive into how to market yourself, let’s start with an overview of social media and the insurance industry. We have entered a new era of communication. Gone are the days of the one-way stream of communication from business to customer. Social media now allows for a dialogue between the business and customers. Today’s accessibility to people and brands is unprecedented! Businesses are successfully taking advantage of this new gateway, and using it to reach their audiences. You should too!!

Sarah: But how does an insurance agent like you actually take advantage of this new tool and use it to market yourself? Let’s start out by understanding the basics of social media. 

There are many forms of social media and chances are, if you haven’t been hiding under a rock since the dawn of the internet, you have used at least one social media platform in your lifetime, if not many. But the way you use social media as an individual is very different from how you should use it as a business.

Jessica: Understanding how to market yourself on social media really depends on your industry. If you’re listening to this podcast, than there’s a high probability that you are in sales or would like to be. And there’s an even higher probability that you are in Medicare Sales. We all know Medicare is heavily regulated, which means you can’t just post whatever you want on social media to market yourself. You must remain compliant. We will cover compliance a little later in this podcast. But the biggest thing to remember about marketing yourself on social media is that you should use social media to humanize your business, build relationships with potential clients, and spread the word about your business. Ultimately, you are using social media to market yourself and generate leads.

Sarah: If you are in the Medicare space, you know that not all, but a large majority of your clientbase will be made up of seniors. This means your main target audience (individuals who you want to engage with) will be seniors. Okay so you may be thinking, but wait Sarah and Jessica… do seniors even use social media? The answer may surprise you.

While it may seem like individuals 65 & older aren’t using social media, they absolutely are. In fact, Pew Research Center found that 67% of seniors use the internet and 34% of Americans ages 65 & older use Facebook and Twitter. That’s a lot of potential leads right there that you could be missing out on if you aren’t marketing yourself on social media!

Jessica: Unlike millennials, seniors tend to use social media more as an encyclopedia, to gain knowledge on particular topics that interest them. You can tap into this desire by providing Medicare-eligibles (whether they be seniors or not) pertinent information about their health, new technologies in the healthcare space and educational information regarding Medicare.

Okay so now that you have a background in the basics of social media for business, we want to talk about one more very important topic before we discuss how to market yourself on social media and that my friends is COMPLIANCE. DUH DUH DUH. 

Sarah: Yeah yeah we know. Compliance is one of those things that no one likes to talk about, one because it tends to be dry and 2 because well if you’ve received a compliance violation you know it’s a big deal. And it’s no different when discussing how to market yourself on social media.

Jessica: There are very strict guidelines that CMS puts on social media marketing and they are written directly into the Medicare Marketing & Communication Guidelines which CMS updates and releases every year. If you want to know more about the guidelines for 2020, we will cover them in more depth in a later episode with our compliance manager. For the purposes of this episode, what you really need to know is that social media is less about marketing and more about communication. 

The main thing to note is that you cannot market specific products or aim to steer a beneficiary towards any specific plans or carriers. Keep everything you post on social media generic in nature. Focus more on educating beneficiaries on Medicare-related topics rather than plan-specific details or benefits.  

Sarah: Here are some big no-no’s:

  1. Just because someone likes your post, follows you, or comments on your post DOES NOT mean you have permission to contact.
  2. You can answer questions via social media, but do not address them beyond the scope of the question or statement
  3. Never buy social media leads or referrals. This will not give you permission to contact.

And for your reference, we’ve got a ton more information on social media compliance within this awesome e-Book!

Jessica: Okay now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff! Well, we think it’s fun since we do this for a living. But honestly, you can have fun with it as well! How to Market Yourself on social media using Content Marketing! Okay so if we want to go back to the basics, what exactly is content?

Sarah: When talking about social media, content can mean a LOT of things. It refers to things like posts, blog posts, photos, infographics, videos, podcasts, eBooks, articles, webinars, case studies, promotions, etc. 

But just knowing all the types of content that you can post on social media won’t really get you anywhere. What’s most important is the quality of the content that you’re posting. Think about how much content you consume each day and start thinking about what brands stand out to you and why?

Jessica: Right, you always want to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What do they want to know? What information are they searching for? What would make them want to engage with the content you post? These are all really important questions when thinking about how to market yourself on social media. Its similar to selling right? People like to engage with people they know and like. Similar to sales, if they don’t trust you and they don’t like you, they probably won’t want to engage with your posts and therefore will keep scrolling.

Sarah: Okay so what are some of the most important factors when coming up with a strategy for how to market yourself on social media?

  1. Know Your Audience. We talked about this a bit earlier. If you’re in the Medicare space, your target audience should be Medicare-eligibles which mostly consists of seniors. So think about what seniors would be looking for when scrolling through social media and what sorts of images, videos and messaging would catch their eye. You can even do some market research to help! Google is your friend people!


  1. Establish Goals. If you want a more in-depth guide to Setting SMART goals We have a whole podcast on this topic but for now think about what your end goal is. (Access Ep. 5 here). Why are you posting on social media? How many leads do you hope to generate? How often do you want to post? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself as you set your social media goals.


  1. Create & Curate Quality Content. All this means is you can either create your own content to post on social media so in other words, write your own blog, create a video explaining something, etc. and/OR you can repost content that already exists! Just make sure you’re giving the proper credit. Give credit where credit is due! There are pro’s and con’s to both so make sure to check out the e-book we’ve provided to dive into greater detail! You can find a deep-dive on pages 21-28 where we discuss tips for creating and curating content, writing resources, design tips, image dimensions for different social media platforms, avoiding plagiarism and more!


  1. Time Management. Don’t take up too much of your time on social media. It doesn’t have to take all day if you’re doing it right! Just a few tips that may help you stay on track include: creating your content all at once, creating a content calendar, using a content management tool to schedule posts, and posting timely content as needed.


  1. And Lastly, Review Your Analytics. What’s the point in posting all this awesome content on social media if you never check to see if it’s working? Reporting is incredibly important. You should consistently review your posts to make sure that what you’re posting is in fact generating you leads, generating interest, or hitting whatever goal that you’ve set for yourself related to your social media strategy.

Jessica: Alright now that you know the basics on how to market yourself on social media, let’s talk platforms. How do you know which one to use? Well the answer is, it depends. But we’ve selected four platforms to discuss today that we think best suit the needs for insurance agents like you!

  1. Let’s start with Facebook – Facebook is great for client engagement. Facebook is probably the most used social media platform by your biggest target audience, seniors. Make sure to read pages 37-42 of the e-Book for a step-by-step guide on how to create a Facebook Business page! You’ll want to separate your personal profile from your business profile because mixing the two can get confusing for your potential clients and privacy of course. 


  1. Twitter – Twitter is great for engaging with clients & colleagues. With Twitter, you’ll want to follow other insurance professionals and engage with content that would get your profile seen by your target audience. You can tweet your own content, reply to others tweets, retweet other people’s content (in other words repost), and like content! Using hashtags is also a great way to gain followers and engagement with your tweets. And if you want a deep dive into how to market yourself on twitter, read pages 44-55 in the e-Book!


  1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is great for engaging with colleagues. You could use this for networking purposes with other agents and maybe even get some cool new ideas and sales techniques!
  2. Forums – Forums are a great way to engage with colleagues as well. You can talk with others about what works, and what doesn’t work. And it’s just another really great place to make connections and share your expertise.

Sarah: Now that you have a solid foundation for how to market yourself on social media, it’s time to get started! Know your audience, set some goals, create profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and begin creating and curating content. Don’t forget to analyze your strategy and make changes based on the results. Social Media is an ever-changing space, so always stay up to date on the newest trends and don’t be afraid to try new things (as long as they’re compliant of course!) 

Jessica: This podcast episode just scratches the surface of all the amazing information our Digital Engagement team at Senior Market Advisors has put together for you in our e-Book: Social Media Marketing for Insurance Agents so make sure to download that and get going on developing your own social media strategy to grow your business!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Alright we’re here on Ending on a Positive Note and we have our very own Director of Digital Engagement, Jenn Pratt. So thanks for being with us. I know it’s really cool to have you on this one since we’re talking about these social media marketing e-Book that your team put together and how amazing it is.

Jenn: Yeah great to be here!

Jessica: Yeah we’re excited to have you! And you’re going to talk about overcoming adversity right?

Jenn: Yes definitely. Something that really holds true to my heart is – I grew up in a very disadvantaged family – single mother, homeless half my childhood, and I came out of my neighborhood… I was the only one that graduated high school, went to college, and got my MBA as well so I had all the odds stacked against me and I just decided I wanted to have a good life and I didn’t want to get in the same things that the other people in my neighborhood did – you know gangs and drugs. Even though my mom was a single mom, she always pushed education on me and that’s what I’ve done with my boys. And the fact that I went through all that and still came out, as my kids have said, half okay, you know I really love hearing stories of people like me that have overcome a lot of challenges and that’s another way that I’ve always given back to the community.

I’m also in the process of getting a foster child so I can give someone else a good life that would not get it otherwise.

Jessica: Wow that’s amazing! How do your boys feel about that?

Jenn: They’re a little iffy about it but they understand that they have a wonderful life and they want to share that experience too.

Jessica: I’m sure that whole experience is going to teach them a lot and shape them into real great people as well.

Jenn: So we’re super excited and hopefully we’ll get our foster child within the next two months.

Jessica: Do you know which age range or if it’s a girl or boy?

Jenn: We said any age, any nationality, any gender. We’re welcome. They said there is a long waiting list for younger children so we’ll probably end up getting an older child which would be fine. We’re more than welcome to it!

Jessica: Is this something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Jenn: Yes, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do specifically because I went through all that adversity and I just want to give back to somebody else.

Jessica: That’s amazing, wow! How heartwarming. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Jenn: Your welcome!

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot! 

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors! 

4 Sales Tips for Getting Past the Gatekeeper – Ep. 14

In Episode 14, we go through four sales tips to get past the gatekeeper when building partnerships with providers in your area to generate leads! We also talk about how the healthcare industry is working to use technology as a way to detect evidence of dementia. Listen to get the sales tips that will lead you to success!

Podcast Episode 14: 4 Sales Tips for Getting Past the Gatekeeper Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we are going to talk about how the healthcare industry is working to use technology as a way to detect evidence of dementia. We also go through four sales tips to get past the gatekeeper when building partnerships with providers in your area to generate leads.

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So this is pretty cool! Apple and Eli Lilly (which is a huge pharmaceutical company) are partnering up to do research on whether health features on the iPhone and Apple Watch can detect evidence of dementia and cognitive decline

Sarah: Oh that is super cool! Have they found anything of use so far?

Jessica: So yeah, they found that when compared to healthier counterparts,  people with symptoms of cognitive decline showed slower typing, less regularity in their schedules, fewer text messages and they also relied more on helper apps.  

Sarah: That’s interesting… how exactly did they come to these conclusions? 

Jessica: Well they had a 12-week study that included 31 people with various stages of cognitive impairment and an 82-person healthy control group. Researchers were able to collect 1.5 gigabytes of data per participant per day and that included data on motor function and sleep rhythms.

Sarah: So did they just have people use their phones like normal and kinda monitor it?

Jessica: I don’t think that’s far off! They collected their data from a bunch of different platforms. They used iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and Beddit sleep monitoring devices for the study. I believe they are planning on conducting more research, but this was just an early-stage study. 

Sarah: Nice! Yeah, I think that this is great! I mean dementia affects about 47 million people across the world, so anything that helps us detect the early stages of mental decline is amazing!

Jessica: Oh definitely! And the initial results of this study are pretty promising. The only thing is that the researchers are stressed that they’re only a “starting point” for further studies on using consumer gadgets to predict these types of diseases.

Sarah: Yeah, things like this are going to take some time, which can be frustrating but at least we are moving toward improvement. 

Jessica: Right and as the site of care moves more toward the home with things like telehealth, it’s going to be so important to have devices that can help notice these signs so people can be notified and seek the treatment they need. 

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: If you listened to Episode 7: Building Your Business, you learned how to partner with providers like dental officers, PCP’s, and pharmacies. If you haven’t, we recommend listening to that episode as well because we give you a guide on how to partner with providers to self lead-gen! One thing we didn’t go over during that episode was how to get a meeting with the decision-maker in the office. You’ll likely come across a receptionist or an office manager (we will call these people the gatekeeper) before you ever get in front of the dentist, provider or pharmacist so it’s important to have a game plan for how to capture the gatekeepers attention and push them to allow you to talk to the decision-maker.

Jessica: Getting past the gatekeeper is one of the most crucial parts of your grassroots marketing efforts. A gatekeeper is any person you encounter who controls access to your prospect. In order to reach your prospect, it is important for you to have a plan for how to get through this person. 

Sarah: Understand that gatekeepers are typically told by their superiors to keep salespeople out. If they let salespeople in, they sometimes can look bad. So even if you have a great pitch planned, they will do whatever they can to keep you out even before they have heard any details about what you are offering. They will be the toughest opposition in your marketing efforts process.

Jessica: The first step in getting past gatekeepers is to understand who they are and what their objective is. The most likely types of gatekeepers you will encounter during your initial office visits are office receptionists or other office support staff. The office support staff spend much of their time answering heavy phone traffic and assisting with other office activities. They can be incredibly busy so you must be mindful of their time. Because they are busy, they will typically spend no more than 30 seconds listening to your opening pitch to determine whether they want to let you through to the provider or not. Your introduction is incredibly important. This is why first impressions are so crucial.

Sarah: Let’s go over some sales tips for getting past gatekeepers.

  • Sales Tips: #1 Build rapport. You want to be friendly and build rapport with the gatekeeper. You want to make them feel comfortable and give off positive vibes. A gatekeeper is more likely to pass you through if they like you and enjoy speaking with you. 
  • Sales Tips: #2 Be real with them. Another tactic you can use is to let them know you understand their objective. You know they are instructed to keep you out but if they give you just a few minutes to show why this provider would really want to meet with you, it’s going to be worth their while.


  • Sales Tips: #3 Treat the gatekeeper like your prospect. Gatekeepers generally have basic knowledge regarding the company they work for and some may have more knowledge than you might think. Use that to your advantage. Start by giving them your elevator pitch and ask them a few probing questions to see if they give you any pre-qualifying information, specifically you’re looking for the name of the individual you REALLY want to talk to AKA the decision-maker. Many of them will answer your questions if they have the answers. Sometimes it can be good to ask a question that you know they will not have the answer to because they will be more likely to pass you along to the person you really want to speak with.


  • Sales Tips: #4 Use short responses and the assumptive technique. If you’re calling in to try and set up an appointment before going into the office, try and act like a customer as long as possible. Again, receptionists are basically told to do whatever you can to keep salespeople out. When they ask what you’re calling about say you’re a local business owner looking to potentially partner to help each other out. Make this informal and do your best to get the name of your actual prospect (the decision-maker). Once you know the name of the decision-maker, ask if they are in the office. If the gatekeeper responds with yes but he’s not available right now you could say something like “Oh I’ll hold thanks!” This may catch them off guard and push them to at least go check to see if the decision-maker would get on the phone to set up a meeting. In this case, you’re using the assumptive sales technique. You’re assuming that they’re going to do what you want them to do before they actually do it. Even if they go and look for the person to come back to tell you no, you can still ask what time you should call back in order to get in touch with the decision-maker. Now when you call back you can say “Hey just calling back for so and so” which makes it sound like you just got off the phone with them. More likely than not, you can get through. At that point, you can ask the gatekeeper how if you can set up an appointment for a future date or speak with the provider on the spot.

Sarah: It is inevitable that you will run into objections from the gatekeeper. Don’t take it personally if they try to shut you down. Be vigilant and try your best to convince them to let you through to your prospect. Here are some helpful sales tips on how to deal with objections from gatekeepers:

Jessica: Sales Tips on how to Overcome Objections from Gatekeepers:

  • We are not interested. This is the most likely objection you will encounter. Many times a gatekeeper will use this line even before they have heard your elevator pitch. 
    • Try to explain your value proposition briefly and say you think if they allow you to give them a little more information, they would be. Then ask a few probing questions to see if they give you any pre-qualifying information.
  • Give me your information and I’ll pass it along
    • Do your best to set up a meeting right then and there. Just like any other sale, you are more likely to seal the deal right then and there. But if they still push back, here’s some things you can do: 
    • Leave your business card. They likely won’t pass it along and even if they do, you may never receive a response. This is why it is important to also have detailed leave-behinds and marketing materials that will catch their eye and pique their curiosity. Then set up a time to follow-up with them regarding the information you leave behind.
    • Let the gatekeeper know you have a ton of info to give to them and you want to make sure you only give them the information that would best suit their needs. And then ask a few pre-qualifying questions to gain some insight into the practice for when you follow-up. 

Sarah: On Episode 4 of the podcast we discussed how to overcome objections in the field and many of those can also be applied here, so make sure to listen to that episode for more tips on overcoming objections!

Jessica: Getting past gatekeepers is one of the most crucial parts of your marketing efforts and can be the deciding factor in whether you gain a partnership or not. You must practice these tactics because if you can’t get past the gatekeeper, you’ve lost an opportunity. Using a few of the tricks we’ve mentioned earlier should help you get through to your prospect. Good luck!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Alright I am here with our very own Taylor MacLeod. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about some things she’s gone through and how she’s had to roll with the punches throughout her life and take some things that were negative and turn them into something positive and motivational. So, Taylor, do you want to go ahead and tell us a bit about that?

Taylor: Hi, yeah thanks so much for having me on the podcast. I am really excited!

Jessica: We are excited to have you!

Taylor: So I was lucky enough to get a job right out of college, not everyone is, so I was very blessed in that area. But after being there for a little over two years, I was let go because the company was moving in a different direction. And it was kind of a blessing in disguise because at the time I was doing so many things in marketing and it just really helped me figure out what I really wanted to do as far as my career in marketing and where I saw myself going. So I sat down and I researched a bunch of different marketing jobs and I compared them to what I liked doing at my previous job. And then I sat down and made a resume. It really helped me become goal-oriented and career-driven prior to the job and experience that I had. I’m very thankful for that job. It helped me grow as a person and as an adult.

Jessica: Also I believe you had mentioned that this was not the first time this had happened. This happened multiple times, right?

Taylor: It did. So after I left that job, I was hired about a month later at a different company doing sales. I realized very quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I liked the company and the people I worked with and I believed in the product we were selling, I just realized that I was more of a behind the scenes person in marketing. So I left that job and got another job where I was in the marketing department doing direct mail and social media. I realized that I really loved that and I wanted to stick with it. And about a week after Thanksgiving they came to me and told me it was my last week. So I updated my resume very quickly, put it out there, and realized that while this had happened to me again, it wasn’t the end of the world because there’s always more opportunity out there to grow. It’s kind of like baseball because when you’re pitched an outside pitch, you want to extend and go get it. And so what I did was flex all the marketing muscles that I had to go out and get the best job possible and that’s what landed me here at SMA!

Jessica: Aw I like this story!

Taylor: It does have a happy ending.

Jessica: Yes and I think that is really great because it’s a common thing that everyone deals with. Agents go through a lot too – like not getting the sale you want. I actually saw something recently that made me think of this. I heard somebody talking about how you can look like negativity like a seed or a plant. You can decide to water that plant or you can decide to go off and water the other plants of positivity. So the idea is that there’s always going to be those negative things in life but YOU have control how much power you give it. And I think you did a really good job of not giving that power and coming out on the other side, happy and at SMA!

Taylor: Yeah definitely!

Jessica: Thank you so much for sharing that story with us!

Taylor: Thanks for having me!

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can be your home for success this AEP, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Sarah: Want more Medicare sales-related content? Follow Senior Market Advisors on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – links in the description. We post new episodes every other Friday so make sure to follow and like us to stay up to date with all the newest content! If you’re liking our podcast, share our posts with the hashtag SELLING SMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

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Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 
Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

3-30-60-90 – A Guide to Client Retention – Ep. 13

In Episode 13, we give you a guide to client retention. We also analyze the challenges new technology can bring to healthcare. Listen and learn why some people say Amazon’s Alexa’s bedside manners are bad for the healthcare industry. There are pros and cons to all new developments and this episode we focus on some of the criticisms and concerns of new devices. 

Later in the episode, Sarah and Jessica also go over how to maintain successful relationships and have great client retention using the 3-30-60-90 method, because what you do AFTER the sale is just as important as the sale itself! Listen as Sarah and Jessica role-play through our step-by-step phone conversation guide. You’ll learn how staying in touch can help you with client retention. The guide begins with the follow-up call around 3 days after the sale. Then you’ll learn what a phone conversation should sound like after 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days after the sale. Each conversation is different, but all conversations focus around one main principle: putting the client first.

Remember, closing the sale is important, but maintaining a close relationship with your clients builds trust. You can be so much more than an insurance agent. To build relationships, strive to be your client’s resource for everything Medicare!

Like what you heard on today’s podcast and want to download the our 3-30-60-90 whitepaper? DOWNLOAD HERE.

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

3-30-60-90 – A Guide to Client Retention – Ep. 13 Transcript

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: A few episodes ago we discussed some of the ways that technology is improving the healthcare industry – 

Sarah: Yeah.

Jessica: – and one of the things in particular that we discussed was Amazon’s Alexa and how they were beginning to use her for things like reading someone’s blood sugar or finding the closest emergency care center, stuff like that. 

Sarah: Uh huh!

Jessica: Well, I came across an article the other day on Kaiser Health News and I thought it was really interesting. It’s an analysis on Alexa’s bedside manner and why it is bad for health care.

Sarah: Hmmm

Jessica: Yeah, I thought it was pretty interesting! I just think that it’s good to look at both sides of things and with an issue like this in particular, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss some of the criticisms that these new technologies are getting.

Sarah: Definitely! I mean I feel like that is the best way to really understand anything — to get the full picture you really need to listen to both sides.

Jessica: Exactly! And this article makes some great points.

Sarah: Right, so what exactly did it say?

Jessica: Well so the author pretty much starts out by talking about how they went to the Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego and Bruce Broussard, Humana’s CEO, discussed how he believes technology will help patients receive help during medical crises with the ability to monitor and visit the doctors through video conferences. But then when they got home from the conference they returned to a lovely present of a $235 medical bill for a telehealth visit.

Sarah: Wow, I’m actually really surprised by how much that costs. That’s crazy for not even going into the doctor’s office.

Jessica: Right?! And that’s pretty much what starts the criticism of these new technologies.

Sarah: Yeah, I guess when you think about it, with these services you are still paying doctors for their time, but the patient really isn’t getting the same benefits they have of physically being there. 

Jessica: Yeah and this case in particular they were charged $235 for a five minute phone-call where the doctor answered a question about a possible infection. 

Sarah: When you do the math isn’t that like over $2,000 an hour?!

Jessica: Oh yeah, it’s crazy! I mean that’s more than corporate lawyers even bill! 

Sarah: Wow.

Jessica: Yeah, and this leads the author into a great point of patients still having to pay great amounts for a watered-down service. And you also have to think about the path that technology is leading the healthcare industry down. Because in the past, doctors would answer questions over the phone and email for free, just as part of the doctor-patient relationship.

Sarah: That’s so true, but now that would be labeled as telehealth. 

Jessica: Yep! And I think that during this period of change, it’s important to remind ourselves of the values of healthcare… or at least what values SHOULD be in place. Because I’m afraid, as is the author of this article I read, that our capitalistic society is going to see these technologies as a way to further profit and not as a tool. 

Sarah: Yeah, cause really at the end of the day healthcare is supposed to be about helping people and that human connection. Like if someone is diagnosed with cancer or a life-threatening disease, they don’t want to be handed an iPad that has statistics of their survival on it. They want someone who is comforting and knows how to deliver that kind of news or offer support that they may need during a time of trial. 

Jessica: Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making! And another really interesting thing brought up in the article was a study that was published in Pediatrics and it found that children who had a telemedicine visit for an upper-respiratory infection were far more likely to get an antibiotic than those who physically saw a doctor. So the study pretty much suggests that overprescribing is at work, which is concerning.

Sarah: Yeah that definitely doesn’t make me think that the patient’s best interest is the main concern.

Jessica: Oh yeah I mean for sure, when it comes to that system, it doesn’t always allow for the doctor to do what is best for the patient, even if they intend to. I mean, it’s hard to diagnose someone over a video when you can’t actually feel a lump or have the patient move in certain ways to determine how serious their illness is. It’s just different. 

Sarah: Right, it’s not necessarily the doctor’s fault, but I could definitely see how it would lead to overprescribing because they probably are thinking they would rather be safe than sorry when it’s harder to determine the seriousness of someone’s illness. Especially in this case when they are dealing with children.

Jessica: Right and obviously, I don’t think that technology is inherently bad for the industry, but studies like this really drive the fact that we need to proceed with caution and make sure that when these technologies are implemented the purpose behind it is still focused on what is best for the patient and not what is going to make more money. Cause doctors may also start to not just use these video calls when a patient doesn’t have the ability to travel, they may just start to encourage it so they can take more patients and ultimately increase their profits. 

Sarah: Definitely. I do think that these types of discussions are important to keep the industry in check and make sure that with every new technology, the patient’s impact is really taken into consideration from all elements. Cause obviously these services are helpful and great, but you can’t forget about some of the cons. And at least if we point them out, we can find ways to improve and fix them. 

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: At Senior Market Advisors, we are committed to serving the underserved. This means we want you to do more than just make sales – we want you to build relationships! In order to really serve a beneficiary, you need to help them understand the enrollment process and earn their trust over time. Our four-point conversation guide can help you do just that, all while staying compliant with CMS’s guidelines.

Jessica: Okay so you enrolled a beneficiary into their new Medicare plan! Yay!! You’re feeling awesome. You’re feeling accomplished! You’re on top of the world. But what now? Well first off… congrats on your new client!! But secondly…. You want to keep this new client of yours right? Well to do that, you need to follow-up and stay in touch (client retention)!

Sarah: Today we are going to talk about 3-30-60-90, a guide to maintaining a relationship with your client 3 days after the sale, 30 days, 60 days and finally 90 days after the sale! If you’re contracted with us, we have a whitepaper called 3-30-60-90 Day Conversation Guide on this topic that can be downloaded for free from our SMA Agent Storefront! Okay, Jessica let’s start with the 3-day marker.

Let’s start with the 3-Day Call. This will be your first call after a beneficiary enrolls in a plan. The purpose of this conversation is to explain what the beneficiary should expect next. So this conversation might sound something like this.

“Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?” 

Jessica: This is Susan!

Sarah: “It was great speaking with you a few days ago and helping you enroll in your new Medicare plan. I’d like to walk you through what you should be expecting from your plan in the upcoming weeks.” 

[and this is where you would continue talking about their new benefit cards, enrollment letters, benefit overviews and other things like that and when they should arrive. Then you’ll want to ask if they have any questions.

Jessica: Nope I think you covered it! 

Sarah: Well Susan I just want to thank you for spending time with me. I’m glad we were able to enroll you into a plan that works for you and your needs. I am always available for any questions you may have so don’t hesitate to call! 

Jessica: Great thank you!!

Sarah: I’ll be checking in in about a month to make sure you received all the appropriate materials and to make sure you understand how to utilize your plan! Thank you and have a wonderful day!

Jessica: So as you just heard, this was really just a follow-up call to make sure that the beneficiary understands what they signed up for, is happy and knows they can contact you for support. You really want them to not just think of you as the person who sold them their plan, you want them to think of you as their Medicare expert. Their go-to person they can rely on for any Medicare-related question or concern. This builds trust and will make them more likely to stick with you!


Sarah: Okay so you’ve made it through the 1st month with your new client. And they haven’t called you once with any issues! Hooray!! Now it’s time for your 30 day call. This call is to follow-up the follow-up, remember, maintaining contact is key. You want to make sure they received all the documents from the carrier and walk them through how to utilize all their new awesome benefits! 

Jessica: So let’s go through what this one might sound like. “Hello, my name is Mary and I am calling from Medicare Health Benefits, an independent broker. May I speak with Susan?” 

Sarah: This is Susan!

Jessica: Hi Susan. Remember me, I helped you enroll in your new Medicare plan!

Sarah: Yes I remember. Thank you!

Jessica: I just wanted to follow-up with you to make sure you received all materials from your new plan carrier.

Sarah: I think so. I got an ID card in the mail and I got some enrollment stuff with a welcome letter and benefits information.

Jessica: Great! I’m happy you received your plan information. Is your premium showing as the same as what we had discussed?

Sarah: Yep, looks like what we talked about.

Jessica: Great! Have you found a doctor in your network that accepts your plan and scheduled your annual check-up? 

Sarah: I did find a doctor close to me. I’m going to see her in a couple weeks.

Jessica: Wonderful! I’m happy to hear that.Have you had any issues at the pharmacy with your new plan?  (Obviously note that this is only applicable for Medicare Advantage plans with Prescription Drug coverage)

Sarah: Yeah looks like it!

Jessica: This is great news. Hey let’s go through how to utilize your benefits and discuss how the breakdown of how services are covered. (this is where you’ll go through their benefits and talk about how they can use their plan) 

Then you’ll wrap up and say – Sounds like everything is going well so far! Once again, if you do run into any hiccups, you have my number so don’t hesitate to call. I plan to call you again in about a month from now to make sure you’re still doing alright.

Sarah: Wow thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Jessica: So notice that people really appreciate you going the extra mile to help them fully understand their plan. Let’s be honest, healthcare is super confusing and most people don’t understand all the terminology. So just being that resource to these people and explaining how they can use their plan and just showing you care really goes a long way.


Sarah: Okay so now it’s been about 2 months since the beneficiary enrolled in their plan and at this point, they should be feeling comfortable. This is an awesome time to call and discuss extra services included in their plan and make sure they are happy with their enrollment choice. This conversation might sound something like this.

“Hi Susan, this is Mary and I was just calling to check in to make sure you’re enjoying your new Medicare benefits.”

Sarah: “Yes I am! So far so good.”

Sarah: “Great! I also wanted to make sure you knew about all the extra services your plan offers!” Sidenote: Many of these plans offer things like fitness, dental, vision, telehealth, transportation, OTC benefits and more! Make sure they know about these! Okay, but to the conversation, “Susan did you know that your plan offers $50/quarter in Over-the-Counter benefits and transportation services?”

Jessica: “I didn’t but that sounds great!”

Sarah: Yep. Just wanted to make sure you knew about all the amazing services your plan offers! (Make sure they know that you answer any questions they may have regarding these services and give them any phone numbers and/or websites associated with those services) You had mentioned last time we spoke that you were planning on seeing your doctor. Was your experience positive?

Jessica: Definitely! I am happy I was able to find a doctor close to me who was helpful and friendly. 

Sarah: “Great! I’m happy to hear everything is going well. As always, you can give me a call if any questions come up but otherwise, I will be in touch in about a month.”

Jessica: So here is that extra support that the agent is giving to their client to really show that they care. And once again, driving home the idea that YOU are the person they should call whenever they have questions about their Medicare. This will help you with client retention!


Sarah: Now, we have finally made it to the 90 Day Call!

Jessica: Hooray! Although that was the quickest 90 days I’ve ever experienced. It felt like it was only a few minutes!

Sarah: Yes, it will probably not go by as quickly for you as an agent, so that’s why it is super important to put reminders on your calendar so you don’t forget to follow up!

Jessica: Yeah, that is definitely a good idea. So once you do make it to the 90-day mark, the purpose of your call is going to be client retention. You want to focus on preventive health and ensure they’re getting the most out of their plan.

Sarah: Right, because if a beneficiary is satisfied with their plan then they are more likely to recommend you to friends and family. 

Jessica: Plus! The happier they are with their plan, the more likely you are to keep them as a client (client retention). So this conversation might sound something like this.

Hi Susan! This is Mary. I just wanted to check in with you again to make sure you’re still enjoying your Medicare plan! Have you taken advantage of any of the services we discussed on our last call?

Sarah: “Yes! I used my over the counter benefits last week and got quite a few items for my home! It’s been a lifesaver!”

Jessica: That’s great Susan! Have you taken any proactive steps toward your health like doing a blood pressure check, getting a mammogram or any screenings and tests?

Sarah: Ooh no I haven’t but I probably should get a screening. It’s been a while. 

Jessica: Yep, it’s always better to be proactive on your health so in case you do have some health issue, you catch it early! 

Sarah: Yes great idea.

Jessica: Alright Sarah, if you don’t have any other questions I will let you go. Give me a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your plan! Have a great day!

Jessica: And the 90 day client retention call doesn’t have to be the last time you contact them! A great way to continue building relationships with beneficiaries is by sending birthday cards, or holiday cards, or contacting them before AEP every year to ensure they are happy. Even little things like if you notice there has been a change to certain plans or networks, you can send them an email to make sure they are aware.

Sarah: Yeah and you may also want to offer to send business cards or brochures you may have so that they can pass them on to their friends and family. Just always make sure that whatever marketing you are doing is compliant with CMS!

Jessica: And again, please make sure that you are keeping a calendar of this stuff! There’s nothing worse than telling a bene that you’re going to call them regularly and then just forgetting about it.

Sarah: Yeah, do you think you’ll retain clients that way? NOPE. They’ll think you don’t have their best interest at heart, don’t care about them, and then you’ll lose their trust. Not only that, if you don’t establish yourself as your client’s first point of content, they will often reach out to the carrier instead, and this could prompt a completely preventable sales allegation, and obviously… you don’t want that!

Jessica: And obviously WE know that you have their best interest at heart, but you have to make it super obvious to them. So schedule reminders, don’t miss those calls and start building those relationships!  

Sarah: Yes, because we guarantee you that if you follow these steps you will succeed in client retention and not only maintain but EXPAND your book of business!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

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Understanding Power of Attorney – Ep. 11

In Episode 11, we talk about Power of Attorney, and continue our deep dive into a few disruptive technologies in the healthcare space. This week we discuss rideshare apps and how they are changing the way people get to and from their healthcare appointments.

It’s important to understand Power of Attorney in the Medicare sales space. As an agent, you will encounter situations involving Power of Attorney more often than you may think. We go over the different types of Power of Attorney, when you might encounter them and what to do if the beneficiary you are working with has a Power of Attorney.

Sarah and Jessica conclude the episode by talking about a recent interview with Mark Cuban on YouTube. If you don’t know Mark Cuban, he is a successful entrepreneur who went from rags to riches by working hard and selling smart. He’s got some amazing advice for all entrepreneurs and Sarah breaks down what she learned from the video. Sarah and Jessica discuss to give you some inspiration for your day!

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 11 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to talk about another technology that’s disrupting the healthcare marketplace… Rideshare apps! Then we will talk about Power of Attorney, the types, and what to do if you encounter a beneficiary with a POA out in the field!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Have you ever been on an appointment and got through your entire presentation, only to find out that the beneficiary doesn’t make their own medical decisions? This is something that is so important to find out on the front-end, before even making the appointment to make sure you aren’t wasting yours and the beneficiary’s time.

Jessica: It’s actually more common than you might think. You will probably encounter beneficiaries with POA’s least once if not somewhat often. So if you don’t know how they work, you may be left looking and sounding unconfident and uninformed. No one wants that, but don’t worry that’s what Selling SMART is for!!

Sarah: Okay so if a beneficiary doesn’t make their own medical decisions, that means they have a POA. If you don’t know ANYTHING about POA’s lets start with the basics. So What exactly is a POA? POA stands for Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is just a person who has been granted the ability to perform any legal actions on behalf of another person. So this could include anything from financial decisions, care for children or health care decisions! 

Jessica: Some really basic terms used to describe the two individuals involved in this legal arrangement include a principal (AKA the person requesting the POA) and the agent, AKA the person who will assume responsibility and decision making power on behalf of the principal.

Sarah: Typically a person would get a power of attorney if they are elderly and are facing life-threatening health conditions but someone who travels a lot may even have power of attorney. It’s also possible that if a beneficiary has mental of physical incapacity, an agent may be asked to make financial and health decisions for that person because there needs to be someone who is in their right mind making such large decisions. 

Jessica: The point of a power of attorney is to ensure that the principal (the beneficiary) decisions and their best interest are carried out as best as possible. So the principal can designate who their power of attorney will be, many times they choose a spouse or a child. And they can also choose the scope of what they want them to be able to do. In order to set up a power of attorney, the principal must have sufficient mental capacity when drawing up the document, meaning they fully understand the nature and consent to the document and it’s terms.

Sarah: So let’s just go over the types of POA’s. There are five types of POA’s that you may encounter out in the field.

Non-durable POA. This type is set for a specific amount of time and is generally used for one particular transaction. Once the transaction is over, the POA expires. So this one typically is used if the principal has some big document they need to sign and for whatever reason, they are unable to be present at the time of the signing. So they’d designate a POA to take care of that transaction, and then once the document is signed, the POA expires and can’t be used for any other decisions. 

Jessica: Durable POA. A Durable POA is effective immediately as soon as the document has been signed and only expire when the principal passes away. These are typically used to manage all the principal’s affairs including their health care decision. This is likely the type you’ll encounter most out in the field. People typically get POA’s when they become elderly and maybe they have dementia, maybe they have serious health concerns and worry they will become incapacitated in the near future. 

Sarah: Special/Limited. This one is used for one-time financial decisions, like a sale of a particular property. This type is most commonly used when the principal cant complete the transaction due to other commitments or illness. After that, the POA expires. This is really similar to a Non-Durable POA and is much less common for you to encounter out in the field.

Jessica: Medical: A Medical POA can make all healthcare decisions for the principal if they become incapacitated but not before. This generally takes effect upon approval of a presiding physician. Some other terms for a Medical POA from include: Health Care Proxy, Appointment of Health Care Agent, or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. So if they tell you that have any of the above, that is a Medical POA! 

Sarah: Springing: This type of POA will become effective in the future only if a specific event occurs. So this could include things like a triggering event, leaving the country. This POA can be durable or non-durable. Really this type is just a way for a principal to create a POA that is specific to their needs.

Jessica: It’s important to note that the scope of a POA can be as broad or as narrow as the principal wants. So once you know that the beneficiary has a Power of Attorney, what’s next? 

Sarah: Well, it really depends on the type and the scope of their POA. POA’s can vary from state to state. You don’t need to know whether its valid or do any checks or anything like that. But obviously, the POA needs to be present during the meeting because they are the one who needs to fill out the application. If they aren’t present, you’ll have to reschedule for another time when they are available. They’ll sign their name and write Power of Attorney next to it. Medicare will rely on the letter submitted.

Jessica: When the application is submitted, you’ll also need to make sure the letter stating who has power of attorney must be submitted with the application. It needs to be a notarized copy. 

Sarah: And that’s really the extent of what you need to know as an agent when dealing with POA’s. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to our team and we’d be happy to help. Give us a call at 844-334-6066.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Sarah: So I was watching a video on Youtube last night of a guy interviewing Mark Cuban. And man he’s a really inspiring guy! If you don’t know his story, he went from rags to riches based on hustling. He talked about how his mom was worried that he would never do anything with his life and they were really poor so she had him work laying carpet because she thought he needed to learn a trade. Well he SUCKED at laying carpet so he figured that if he was ever going to amount to anything, he needed to use his head. 

So he worked at a software store, and actually ended up getting fired. But him getting fired just made him work harder to start his own software company which was the beginning of how he got to where he is today, a billionaire. 

And he’s so humble! One thing that I thought was really ocol that he was talking about, is how he hired this woman to be the CEO of the Mavericks. (for those who don’t know Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team). And he said he hired her because she had a bunch of the qualities that he didn’t. Even being so accomplished and successful, he still sees his own flaws and recognizes that there is always people out there who are better at things than him or have skills that he doesn’t. He talks about how extroverted she is and how much energy she has and how he thought he was high energy and extroverted but that she makes him seem shy and tired. And really his whole point is that even when you’re successful, you should always be hungry for more. You can always be better. And being someone who surrounds yourself with people who are better and people who challenge you will make you better. Only talking to people who agree with you all the time or who love all your ideas, isn’t going to make you a better entrepreneur, it’s just going to keep you stuck. You need to get out there and talk to people who disagree with you, talk to people who will pick apart your business ideas and strategies because that’s what will make you better and help you grow as a person and as a business person as well! So anyway, shout out to Mark Cuban, he is a really inspiring person!

Jessica: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. 

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can help get you started in the Medicare Advantage space, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Why Sell Medicare Supplement Plans – Ep. 10

In Episode 10, Sarah and Jessica focus on the benefits of Medicare Supplement, Amazon’s Alexa, and how voice assistants are disrupting the healthcare industry. While there are many ways Amazon’s Alexa can help beneficiaries with their healthcare needs now and in the future, there are also privacy and data breach concerns. We break down the good, the bad, and the inevitable.

We also bring on SMA’s Andy Watkins, VP of Sales and Business Development to share his expertise on Medicare Supplement Plans. Andy and Sarah discuss what Medicare Supplement plans are, break down some of the plan types, and compare Medicare Supplements to Medicare Advantage. Andy also goes over Medicare Supplement enrollment periods, compliance concerns surrounding Medicare Supplements, the commission rates, and why new agents should start out selling Medicare Supplement Plans!

We conclude this episode with a story from Andy about how Medicare Supplement Plans have benefited him and his family directly, giving you one more reason to want to sell Medicare Supplements AND smile! Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

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Why Sell Medicare Supplement Plans – Ep. 10 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 10 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to start with a technology that is disrupting the healthcare industry! Then we interview Andy Watkins about Medicare Supplements and why you should be selling it!

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So obviously Amazon’s Alexas have been out for a while now and I remember when they first came out people were a little freaked out. I’ve heard stories about toddlers ordering toys without their parents even knowing. Actually, didn’t that happen to our CEO, Jeff Pitta?

Sarah: Yeah, I think so. I’m pretty sure one of his kids told Alexa to order a toy that they wanted and then it just appeared at our office one day.

Jessica: I thought so! Yeah, I just think that’s really funny. How different our world is with technology nowadays and what’s really interesting is that now they are using Alexa in the world of Medicare! 

Sarah: Oh yeah, I’ve heard about stuff like that! Apparently, Amazon has said that Alexa is now able to follow HIPAA guidelines and they have already invited six health companies to develop voice programs or “skills” using their Alexa system. So customers of those specific organizations would be able to use Alexa to make appointments or access personal medical information like blood sugar readings.

Jessica: Huh, that’s interesting. So would these companies or Amazon begin to offer products that sync up with the actual speaker system itself, kinda like how your iWatch can track your fitness and all of that information can also transmit to your phone?

Sarah: I think that’s the idea behind it.

Jessica: You know what’s really fascinating to me is how all of this is going to be received by the public. I mean, in theory, it all sounds great and very innovative, but also I know many people and I feel like especially seniors are a little sketched out by all of these advancements in technology. 

Sarah: Oh for sure. I feel like the fact that a device is always listening to you to some degree is a scary thought. I do know that is something that has been brought up about this in particular, because if Amazon offers this they will then have access to a lot of personal information and there is a concern of what they could do with it. 

Jessica: Yeah and from what I’ve read, it sounds like the data that they have access to is going to depend on what Amazon’s relationship is with the particular health organizations. For instance, Livongo is a company whose voice skills lets users check their blood sugar reading, so when it comes to that Alexa is just there to transmit the information. Alexa will access the data from the Livongo cloud to relay to the patient their reading, but all that patient information is stored with Livongo and Amazon can’t do anything with it. 

Sarah: I feel like that’s pretty reassuring!

Jessica: I agree! The only other argument I will make though is that if this becomes a normal thing and Amazon has dealt with a large amount of organizations, I could see an increase in people trying to hack into their system. And while Amazon is a large company that probably has good defense for things like that, I wonder if it would make it easier for these smaller companies to have their information leaked in some way. Does that make sense?

Sarah: Well and I think the other concern is that there is no official certification process for becoming HIPAA compliant, it’s more of a self-implemented process and there aren’t really many formularies. And out of all the HIPAA requirements, the Security Rule can be the most difficult for companies to follow. 

Jessica: And just a quick sidebar: The Security Rule for HIPAA establishes a national standard to protect individuals’ electronic personal health information that is created, received, used, or maintained by a covered entity. So it requires appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronically protected health information. 

Sarah: Right! But the issue with that is companies need to have a strong security infrastructure in place, which can be very expensive for large companies, especially if they are using older technology that needs to be updated.

Jessica: Yeah, so that could deter organizations from wanting to participate or since there isn’t really a formal way of checking, some organizations could think they have a pretty secure system but not. I feel like that’s where people get a little weary of the whole idea.

Sarah: I can definitely see where they are coming from, but I think it’s also important for us to recognize the benefits that this could create for healthcare. I mean, the harder it is for people to see the doctor, the less likely they are to get care and improve their health. 

Jessica: Oh no, you’re definitely right! I mean this opens up a lot of doors. And I know another thing that they are trying to use Alexa for is people being able to find an urgent care nearby and make same-day appointments, so from the standard of creating more easy and accessible healthcare, it’s definitely a good thing!

Sarah: Exactly. We are just in a time where there is so much we can do with technology, we just have to make sure that it is implemented in a way that is ethical and has more pros than cons.

Jessica: Yep! It will be really interesting to see what comes of this and how it expands the marketplace!  

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Last time we talked about why you should be selling Medicare Advantage. Today we are going to talk about Medicare Supplements and all the amazing reasons you want to sell those plans as well!

We’ve got Andy Watkins with us to go over Medicare Supplement Plans with us today and he’s got a TON of awesome reasons to share with you all today! So Andy can you just introduce yourself real quick.

[Andy Introduction]

Alright Andy, let’s start with the basics of Medicare Supplement Plans. We chatted a bit earlier in the day and even though I have a background in Medicare now, I really just didn’t know much about Med Supp. So can you just go over how Medicare Supplement Plans are different from Medicare Advantage and how they work?

Plans are standardized meaning most plans with the same letters have the same benefits across state lines.

While a lot of Medicare Supplement plans offer more coverage, they also generally have higher premiums. So they aren’t for everyone.

Medicare pays 80%. Supps cover the other 20%.

New types. Anthem coming out with additional benefit package beyond what the plan covers. Supplement to the supplement. 

Therapy 3 times a week will cost a fortune on MA, but with Medicare Supplement he pays Part B deductible and his premium. There is no max out of pocket. He can go as many time as he wants

Pay as you go or pay up front. Med Supps are pay up front. MA is pay as you go.

Only about 30% of Medicare beneficiaries are in a Medicare Advantage plan which means you could be helping the remaining 70% get into a Medicare Supplement plan giving them extra coverage!

So if you go a lot then it makes more sense even though its higher premium.

I’ve been hearing a lot about the fact that plans C & F are going away. Can you talk a little bit about that?

2020 MACRA goes into effect. Plan C & F are going away. Medicare no longer feels they should cover the part b deductible. Once they started doing that going to plan g because of MACRA.

Why would people want Plan G? It’s just easy. F & G — they just pay a premium and that’s about it.

MA plan you still pay Part B premium but you don’t pay any premium on top of that because they are $0 premium plans.

With Medicare Advantage there are strict enrollment periods, but is it the same with Medicare Supplement Plans?

  • Depending on the state, every year on your birthday and 30 days after your bday you can get into a Medicare Supplement.
  • Some states have open enrollment periods. 
  • Outside of the initial enrollment period, most states you’re going to have to go through some type of underwriting.
    • You’ll have to answer questions about health. 
    • You might get denied. 
    • If you’re within the enrollment period then you don’t have to answer any questions.

You can sell year-round. There is a Medigap open enrollment but there are many ways to get it outside of that.

What’s the compliance like with Medicare Supplement Plans

Compliance is a whole lot easier around Medicare Supplement than Medicare Advantage.

  • You can cold call for Medicare Supplement. Not as much compliance around that either.
  • You can door knock for Medicare Supplement.
  • You don’t have to do a scope of appointment. For the Part D part you will.
  • e-Apps available for most carriers so you can easily sell over the phone
  • With e-app you need to send the e-app through their e-app system and it will send an e-app signature. 
    • Bene needs an email address in order to fill out an e-app.

Alright Andy, let’s talk commission. What’s the commission like with Medicare Supplement Plans?

Commission. Lets say med supp monthly premium is $130 X 12 to come up with $1560 _> that is annual premium.

There is no new to medicare. It’s all the same.

  • Average street level comp is usually about 21% on a supp plan. 
  • So 21% of $1560 is about $327.60. 
  • So you’ll get about $327.60 on annual basis for up to 6 years. 
  • From year 6-10 the percentage will probably drop, depends on the carrier. 
  • Most carriers don’t do lifetime comp for med supp anymore. So you’ll get paid on those 10 years.
  • People stay on Medicare Supplement plans for life. So they’re more likely to stay on one plan for 10 years. Whereas MA you might be switching them every few years so you might lose your client to someone else.

What’s the main reason you would recommend selling Medicare Supplement Plans to an agent?

  • Ease of use.
  • You don’t have to certify. Most carriers don’t have a certification. 
  • If you’re new to the business, get started selling Medicare Supplement plans so you can get started and learn medicare and you can get goin a lot faster.
  • You can sign a contract and start selling tomorrow with some carriers.
  • You don’t have to worry about networks. If they take medicare, any doctor that takes medicare, you can see them on a supplement. No referrals, easy access. Not limited to a network.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. 

Sarah: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can help get you started in the Medicare Advantage space, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Why Sell Medicare Advantage – Ep. 9

In Episode 9, we talk about all the benefits of Medicare Advantage and why you should be selling it. We start by discussing the lack of dental coverage across the Medicare-eligible population. Since Original Medicare does not cover dental, many beneficiaries go without coverage. This includes over two-thirds of all Medicare beneficiaries! One way these beneficiaries could gain access to dental coverage is by enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan.

While not all Medicare Advantage plans offer dental coverage, some do. We brought on one of our agents, Simone Cohen, to discuss all the reasons she loves selling Medicare Advantage. Simone loves selling MA plans because the Medicare-eligible population is growing, many Medicare Advantage plans offer great benefits not covered by Original Medicare, she gets to help people in need, and of course, they offer great commission rates! Finally, Simone sticks around with us to share a motivational story. Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at  

Follow us on social media and share our podcast postings with the #SellingSMART to be entered to win an Amazon Echo Dot!

Facebook: Senior Market Advisors

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

Why Sell Medicare Advantage – Ep. 9 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 9 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to go over all the benefits of Medicare Advantage why you should be selling it. We also discuss how few Medicare beneficiaries have dental coverage and what you can do to help!  

Disruptive Waves: 

Sarah: According to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, almost two thirds of all Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage. That’s nearly 37 million people! This means many beneficiaries are going without dental care. This can be extremely dangerous and many dental issues and diseases can cause life-threatening circumstances if not treated.

Jessica: Since Medicare doesn’t offer routine preventative dental OR any other procedures, this leaves many beneficiaries skipping the dentist altogether. Almost half of all Medicare beneficiaries did not visit the dentist last year… This is not good! Lack of dental care can cause infections, chronic pain, and undiagnosed serious health conditions.

Sarah: Luckily, most Medicare Advantage DO offer some sort of dental coverage. And since about ⅓ of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, they do have dental coverage. But what about all the other individuals who don’t have dental coverage and are struggling with chronic pain, or unpaid dental bills?

This brings us to our main topic for today… Why You Should Sell Medicare Advantage!

Jessica: We are so happy to have one of our agents on with us today to go over this topic with us. Welcome Simone Cohen! Simone, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: If you aren’t selling Medicare Advantage already… you should be! We are going to talk with Simone today about all the reasons that make Medicare Advantage plans great to sell!

Sarah: So Simone, since you’re an agent yourself, let’s start off with what got you into Medicare Sales!

Simone: Explain.

Sarah: Awesome. So what would you say is the main reason individuals would want to sell Medicare Advantage?

  • Medicare-eligible population is growing!
  • Total Medicare Advantage enrollment has nearly doubled over the past decade to 20.4 million in 2018!
  • Baby boomers are aging and by 2030, more than one in five Americans will be Medicare-eligible
  • You can sell all year long!
  • No cold calling or door-to-door sales
  • Help those who need it most by getting individuals the coverage they deserve

Sarah: So what do the commission payouts look like for Medicare Advantage as opposed to other insurance sales?


  • Average Commission Breakdown:
    • MA sale – $482 or $241
    • HIP average commission ($40 Mo. Premium) – $264
    • Cancer average commission ($40 Mo. Premium) – $264
    • Final Expense ($50 Mo. Premium) – $690   
  • Example Selling MA + Ancillary:
    • MA Sale = $241 
    • 35% persistency at 5 years
    • MA plus Ancillary = $1,459
    • 92% persistency at 5 years
    • Assuming 150 Clients per year at a 25% ancillary close rate…
    • MA only agent: $36,150
    • MA plus Ancillary agent: $36,150 + $45,675 = $81,825 

Sarah: We discussed earlier about how many Medicare Beneficiaries don’t have any dental coverage. Can you talk about some of the extra benefits Medicare Advantage plans may cover that Original Medicare doesn’t?

Simone: Dental, Vision, Hearing, Transportation, Telehealth, Fitness, etc.

Sarah: This goes into our mission at SMA too which is to Serve the Underserved. Do you feel like selling MA plans serves the underserved?

Simone: Yes!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: So Simone, since we have you, we always like to end each episode on a positive note. Do you have any uplifting stories you can share with us? Especially ones that involve you selling Medicare Advantage?

Simone: Tell story.

Jessica: Thanks for joining us today Simone, we appreciate it!

Sarah: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. You heard it straight from Simone, an agent herself. If you aren’t selling Medicare Advantage, you should be!

Jessica: If you want to learn more about how Senior Market Advisors can help get you started in the Medicare Advantage space, give us a call at 844-334-6066. If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” 

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART 

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!

Setting Up a Sales Event – Ep. 8

In Episode 8, Sarah and Jessica talk about how to set up a successful sales event. They also discuss the recent insulin price increases and its effect on Medicare beneficiaries. Insulin prices have continued to rise, and many Medicare beneficiaries struggle to pay for their out-of-pocket costs. It’s important to understand the price increases so you can inform beneficiaries of the benefits of Part D and ultimately make a sale. If you want to learn more about insulin price increases, you can read our blog:

We also bring on our VP of Sales, Carla Woodward to explain the process of how to set up an event to generate leads. There are different types of events and each has its own compliance concerns. Carla breaks down the process for how one would set up an event whether it be an educational event or a sales event and goes over the CMS guidelines to keep you compliant! We discuss why you should set up events to generate leads, compliance concerns, how to choose an event type and venue, event preparation, how to be successful at your event, and what to do after the event.

Finally, Carla sticks around with us to share a motivational story. Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at

Setting Up A Sales Event – Ep. 8 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 8 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to go over how to set up a sales event! We also talk about how increases in insulin prices are impacting beneficiaries.

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: According to the American Diabetes Association, half of Americans over the age of 60 have diabetes. Insulin prices have continued to rise, and many Medicare beneficiaries struggle to pay for their out-of-pocket costs. It’s important to understand the price increases so you can inform beneficiaries of the benefits of Part D and ultimately make a sale.

Jessica: Did you know the typical insulin users costs went from $7.80/day in 2012 all the way up to $15/day in 2016. That’s more than a 100% increase just in 4 years! This causes a huge burden on beneficiaries because insulin is on average only 30% of all diabetes-related costs. 

Sarah: These are individuals who need your help! As an agent, it’s important to understand what Medicare Part D covers so you can help beneficiaries get the coverage they need. 

Jessica: So first, it’s important to understand Medicare Insulin coverage vs. Part D coverage. Original Medicare Part B covers things like blood glucose test strips, glucose monitors, glucose control for checking test accuracy, and therapeutic shoes or inserts. Medicare Part B does not fully cover insulin. Part B only covers insulin that is needed for an external insulin pump and may be covered as durable medical equipment. Part B doesn’t cover other forms or insulin or pens, syringes or needles.

Sarah: Right, so it really doesn’t cover most of the necessary AND expensive parts. This is where Medicare Part D can come in and be really helpful. Unlike Medicare Part B, Part D DOES cover insulin, unless it’s used through an external pump. Part D also covers diabetes drugs, pens, syringes, needles, swabs and gauze, and inhaled insulin devices.

Jessica: When you’re selling Part D plans to beneficiaries, be sure to discuss all the benefits on top of what we just discussed! Some key benefits include: drug coverage that isn’t covered by Original Medicare Parts A & B, drug formularies that ensure their drugs are covered, that the Part D donut hole is closing in 2020 and the Medicare Extra Help program, if they qualify. 

Sarah: If you want this information in written form, you can visit to read more! We have also provided a link to the blog in the description.

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Looking for new ways to generate leads? Setting an event in your area can be a great way to generate leads. There’s a lot that goes into setting up an event so we are lucky to have our VP of Sales Carla Woodward and our Senior Compliance Manager, Gina Angelo, with us to help you learn how to set up an event the right way and to remain compliant! Thanks for being here Carla and Gina!

Carla: Good to be here.

Sarah: Okay so let’s say I’m an agent, and I’m looking for ways to generate leads. Why would I choose to set up a sales event?


  • This is the best way to get hot leads. You’ve met them, you know their interested. There’s already a relationship thats built
  • Provides community engagement and awareness to your brand!
  • You want to let your community know that you are the person to go to for Medicare insurance questions.

Sarah: So what’s the first step of setting up an event? 

Carla: 1st step is to decide on type of event you want to do

  • Educational?
  • Sales event?
  • Formal or informal?

What we like to do is informal sales events. Business card away at informal educational event. Can’t make the sale on the spot though.

Educational event you’re just let them know something > don’t have the option to sell because its not registered with CMS.

Sarah: Okay so it sounds like there are a lot of regulations through CMS around events. Can you go over the compliance of setting up an event so agents know what to look out for?

50.1 – Educational Events 42 CFR §§ 422.2262, 422.2268(b)(7),(8), and (11),423.2262, 423.2268(b)(7),(8), and (11) 

Educational events are designed to inform beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug, or other Medicare programs. Educational events:  

  • Must be explicitly advertised as educational;  
  • May be hosted in a public venue by the Plan/Part D sponsor or an outside entity;  
  • May include communication activities and distribution of communication materials;  
  • May answer beneficiary initiated questions;  
  • May set up a future marketing appointment, and distribute business cards and contact information for beneficiaries to initiate contact (this includes completing and collecting a Scope of Appointment (SOA) form);  
  • Must not include marketing or sales activities or distribution of marketing materials or enrollment forms; and  
  • May not conduct a marketing/sales event immediately following an educational event in the same general location (e.g., same hotel). 

50.2 – Marketing/Sales Events 42 CFR §§ 422.2268(b)(1-5), 423.2268(b)(1-5) 

Marketing/Sales Events are designed to steer or attempt to steer potential enrollees, or the retention of current enrollees, toward a plan or limited set of plans. The following requirements apply to all marketing/sales events:  

  • Plans/Part D sponsors must submit scripts and presentations to CMS prior to use, including those to be used by agents/brokers;  
  • Sign in sheets must clearly be labeled as optional;  
  • Health screenings or other activities that may be perceived as, or used for, “cherry picking” are not permitted;  
  • Plans/Part D sponsors may not require attendees to provide contact information as a prerequisite for attending an event; and  
  • Contact information provided for raffles or drawings may only be used for that purpose.

Sarah: Okay so I’ve decided what type of event I want to do. Can you give some tips on good spots to actually have events?

Carla: All types of events. Go to food banks, senior centers, community events, county fairs, music festivals

Sarah: So I have my event type and where I want to host it. What’s next?

Carla: Once you decided on type, file with the carrier

Each carrier is different. Each carrier has specific time frame. Most need within 9 days to 2 weeks to file. Some don’t need anything. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask your local market support because they should be able to help.

Some carriers require you to do extra modules in their training. They may have to do this before the event. Take some sort of additional online class 10 minutes. All info is housed on the carrier portals. 

Sarah: What do I need to bring to the event to be successful?

Carla: At SMA we’ve put together a checklist. Depending on event type, have a table, tablecloth, stuff to make table look flashy. Banners, rack cards, business cards. Quick informational giveaways. Swag to attract people to come over.

We do water bottles. Order labels with your info and brand on it. Stress balls, pedometers, other things. Reach out to the carrier or your local market support to see if they can provide you any giveaways. Benefits of partnering with SMA is we often times will co-op this with you. Segue to talk about storefront. See all the amazing giveaways we give at events. We can customize that.

Checklist: only carrier information you filed with can be displayed. Can file with multiple carriers. You are there to represent the carrier you filed with. You can keep everything generic if you want and file with all the carriers you represent. Agents do it in all different ways.  It’s up to you.

Doing Medicare 101 presentations, educate them on why you should eat super foods etc.

Make sure you have business reply cards there. We are successful at larger events where they may not be thinking about talking to you on the spot, they can fill out for more information. Important to point out that you can not ask them to fill one out or make them fill it out. Lets them get back to the reason they are at the event but still get more info from you later.

Sarah: How do I get people to come to my event? Can I market the event?

Carla: You want to drive traffic to your table. CMS allows us to do a giveaway of less than $15 per person. At SMA we raffle something off. Sometimes it’s an echo dot. As long as the event has. Large event you can roll the $15 per person into one large gift. If there are only a few people at the event, you may also want to bring something smaller. Select door prize later to remain compliant.

Senior center may be supposed to have 1000 people at event but only 4 show up. You need to make sure you have the correct giveaway.

We typically take first name and phone number. We call them to get their address to send the prize to them. We keep giveaways completely separate from BRC and those BRC’s are completely optional.

Sarah: What do I do once the event has ended?

Carla: Make sure you collect all business reply cards at the end. If carrier has follow-up paperwork that you need to do after the vent. Reach out to carrier to let them know how it went, how many BRC’s you collected. 

Sarah: What do I do with the BRC’s? Is there compliance concerns there in how I go about contacting them?

Carla/Gina: You can call individuals who have given permission for a plan or sales agent to contact them (examples of permission include filling out a business reply card, emailing the Plan/Part D sponsor requesting a return call, or asking a customer service representative to have an agent contact them). Also, make sure you retain this documentation. The norm is the current plan year PLUS 10 years.

Note: Permission applies only to the entity from which the individual requested contact and for the duration and topic of that transaction

Sarah: So if any agents listening out there want to learn more about setting up an event, how can they reach out to you? 

Carla: Part of SMA’s support is we can walk you through a successful event! You can call me or email me.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: So Carla, since we have you, we always like to end each episode on a positive note. Do you have any uplifting stories you can share with us?

Carla shares her story about an event that seemed like it was going to fail, but ended up being successful and a great time!

Sarah: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. Lots of amazing insight from Carla about setting up events to generate leads!

Jessica: If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit and click on the button that says “Share Your Story.” Want to learn more about Senior Market Advisors? Visit us online or give us a call at 844-334-6066.

Sarah: We appreciate you joining us this week on…

Jessica: Selling SMART

Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!