General Sales

Episode 21: The Value of Cross Selling

In Episode 21, we discuss cross selling! However, we start off by talking about how drones are saving lives! When you think of a drone, what comes to mind? Do you think of healthcare? Maybe not. But a company called Zipline is working to change that! They are using drones to deliver life-saving medical supplies to remote areas in African nations. 

Later in the episode, we welcome Keith Hinson as a guest! He provides us with insight on the value of cross selling. His experience is incredibly helpful and valuable to other agents who want to cross sell! Keith makes it simple and easy to understand what benefits cross selling offers, what to offer to clients when cross selling, and his advise on how to cross sell successfully!

Podcast Episode 21 – The Value of Cross Selling Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 21 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith…

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we’re coming in hot with DRONES! Yes, you heard right. Drones are saving lives! We will discuss how. We also are going to talk about something you all should be doing when possible, cross selling! Cross selling is really important to increase your sales and build your business. We brought our very own Keith Hinson back on the podcast to break it all down!

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: So continuing our discussion of some interesting technological advances that are affecting the healthcare space, we are going to talk about drones today! Okay, we all know drones are cool. Kinda scary. But also super cool. Well, drones are now being used to save lives!!

Jessica: We are pretty lucky here in the US, most places at least have the infrastructure to be to transport life-saving materials, even to remote rural areas. But other countries like Rwanda and Ghana, aren’t always so lucky. Currently, they don’t have the necessary infrastructure to allow for access to remote health centers. Some of these health centers only receive medical supply deliveries twice a year. But a company called Zipline is working to change that!

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Sarah: Zipline manufactures drones in California and then stations them at distribution centers in the African nations of Rwanda and Ghana. They hope to expand into other developing nations as well! Basically, their goal is to deliver life-saving medicines and other medical products to remote areas that don’t have the infrastructure in place to receive deliveries any other way. So they probably just don’t have the road access but what’s awesome is that Zipline drones fly without a pilot and are able to fly over mountains and rivers so the local communities don’t need to have roads in order to receive medical deliveries!

Jessica: What’s really cool is that the doctors in these remote locations can request deliveries via an app! These drones can fly rain or shine and they’re now supporting hundreds of deliveries per day! 

Sarah: Yeah and in places where it used to take over 5 hours for medical supplies to arrive, now can only take 30 minutes with a Zipline drone delivery! That can be the difference between life and death for someone in critical condition so it’s so awesome!

Jessica: Yeah this just shows the power of technology in today’s world. It’s so amazing that people are using drones for good!

Sarah: Yeah I feel like I typically think of drones as either a military thing or just for fun to fly around your neighborhood and take photos so it’s really cool to see drones being used to save lives!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Jessica: Today we are lucky to have one of our own, Keith Hinson on the podcast! He is going to talk to us about the value of cross selling, how you can be doing it and why it’s so important!! First Keith, would you mind giving us a little background about yourself?

Keith: My name is Keith Hinson and I am the Vice President of Life and Ancillary Sales here at Senior Market Advisors. The way I got into the insurance business was that I was actually educated to be an engineer and I was working a graveyard shift sitting at my desk and I realized that it was not the way I wanted to spend my working life. So I did research and figured that insurance would be profitable and a good fit for my life so 20 years later this is where I find myself. Couple fun facts: I’m an eagle scout and I’m a three-time iron distance tri-athlete.

Sarah: Okay so cross selling is that simple right. Can you just talk about the basics of cross selling and what products you would be cross selling?

Keith: 

  1. What is cross selling?  At its core cross selling is selling complementary products that pair well with the original product or additional products that were uncovered during your fact finding process.
  2. As an example, for the senior market, these products may include products such as Dental, Vision, HIP, Home Health, Cancer, etc.  All of which pair with with Medicare plans or specific needs that would be uncovered during the fact finding process.

Jessica: How does cross selling help grow your business?

Keith: I believe that cross selling as part of your daily activity is important for four main reasons..

  1. First and foremost, it’s the right thing to do for your clients. – educate them
  2. Book Diversity
  3. Money – Marketing is expensive – at least expect to double your income at 1 out of 4
  4. Retention – Limra Study 3+

Sarah: Okay so there are a lot of compliance concerns around cross selling. Even the word cross selling makes some agents feel uneasy. Can you just talk a bit about what you can and can’t do and how to make sure you’re compliant?

Keith: The easiest way to answer that question is to make sure that anything you discuss  has been initialed on the scope. Dental, Vision, Supp, MA, Indemnity, Part D (exclude life, DI, LTC, etc.)

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Jessica: Are there certain products that pair well together and should be sold together if possible?

Keith:There are several plans that pair well together.  As an example:

Supp, Part D, Dental, Vision

MA, HIP, Cancer – OOO, Part B Cost with Chemo, Part D cost

Sarah: What is the best advice you can give an agent who decides to go ahead with cross selling?

Keith: My advice is pretty simple.  

  1. Have a plan/presentation and know your products
  2. Present the options every time
  3. Do it consistently.  Not everyone will buy and you have to polish your presentation

Make sure to tune in for an extra funny segment of Ending on a Positive Note with Jessica and Paxton! You don’t want to miss it.

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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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! 

How to Build Client Trust to Make the Sale – EP. 19

Episode 19 is all about client trust. Learn what steps to take when you first step into an appointment and meet a beneficiary for the first time in order to gain their trust and get the sale. We’ll discuss ways to connect with your clients so that they feel comfortable with you because people want to buy from people they like. Pay attention to your surroundings and find topics that you can bring up in conversation, be polite, and treat your client the way you would want to be treated by someone coming into your home. Most importantly, to gain client trust, it needs to be clear that you care about doing what is best for them and not the sale. You want to help them and find a plan that is right for them!

In this podcast, we also talk about scammers who are targeting Medicare eligibles by getting them to take genetic tests to see if they are more likely to get cancer or if they will respond poorly to certain medications. These fraudulent tests have been happening all over the country and there are hundreds of investigations in the works to try and get to the bottom of this issue.

Finally, with Veterans Day right around the corner, we end the podcast with stories from our very own employees about their time in the military or the impact the military has had on them and their lives. Thank you for your service Gina, Aaron, and Omar! Another big thank you to anyone else who has helped protect our country and our freedoms! We appreciate all you’ve done and sacrificed for our country! 

Podcast Episode 19 – How to Build Client Trust to Make the Sale Transcription:

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 19 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode we discuss…

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: So you may have heard but there has been some fraudulent activity regarding unnecessary genetic testing targeting seniors in the Medicare space recently.

Sarah: Yes in all, more than 300 federal investigations have been conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. One assistant inspector general for some of the investigations said that his office would receive about one or two complaints per week in 2018. However, now the fraud hotline has as many as 50 calls a week.

Jessica: And these incidents aren’t limited to one geographic location! These investigations are going on across the country.

Sarah: Yeah, and a lot of these investigations were partially started because they noticed unusual Medicare billing data patterns and these started emerging quite a while ago in 2015. 

Jessica: Yep! According to an analysis found by Reuters, for Medicare payouts, genetic tests have gone from $480 million in 2015 to $1.1 BILLION in 2018! 

Sarah: Which is a crazy jump! The investigations are examining billings submitted to federal health insurance programs because by law all diagnostic lab tests have to be ordered by a doctor treating a patient for a specific condition.

Jessica: Well and in the cases under review, investigators and patients told Reuters that marketers would get elderly residents to turn over their Medicare or Medicaid info, their driver’s license and other forms of identification and then they would tell them to take a free cheek swab that will help them understand their risks of developing cancer and how they will respond to drug treatments based on their genetics. And then they get a doctor to sign off on it and approve the test which is then taken to a lab which then seeks Medicare payouts. 

Sarah: And then a lot of the labs aren’t even relevant to the patient’s history and some of the doctors are trusting the patients and signing off on them without conferring with the patient. Apparently many patients aren’t even receiving the results and if they do receive them, they receive no assistance in interpreting the results.

Jessica: Really I think a lot of this is also happening because scammers see trends like 23&Me and things like that and they know that people will trust it or want to know certain information about their genes and/or health.

Sarah: Definitely, but it is just super sad and for multiple reasons. I mean one is that a lot of these seniors are getting their tests back and none of them even make sense and it’s just useless information. The part of the problem is that Medicare may deny these claims, meaning that the Medicare beneficiary may have to pay out of pocket for these fraudulent tests costing them thousands of dollars in some cases. And labs are billing Medicare insurance plans for crazy amounts of money. One woman from Florida said that she found out a lab billed her Medicare Part B plan more than $30,000 and was paid more than $12,000! And she also said that the test results she got back were pretty much useless. 

Jessica: What’s also really sad about this is that now seniors, who honestly are already a relatively suspicious market, are now having real cause to be suspicious which is just hurtful to the people out there, like our agents, who are truly trying to help.

Sarah: For sure! It’s not just about the money these scammers are getting, but the people. They are definitely hurting people and making them question. That’s also why it’s good to practice ways of building client trust, which we will discuss in detail in the next segment!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Okay, so once you’ve got an appointment with a beneficiary you may be asking what you can do to make sure you successfully close the sale.

Jessica: And there are many factors to making sure you’re successful, but the most important is definitely building client trust. 

Sarah: Client trust is definitely key! Put yourself in their shoes, what kind of salesperson would you want to buy from? 

Jessica: I know that I wouldn’t want to buy from someone who seemed like they cared more about the sale than me. I would think they are taking advantage of me for sure! 

Sarah: Exactly! You would want to buy from someone like you, someone you feel you can trust!

Jessica: So this is how you build client trust!

Sarah: First impressions are EVERYTHING, so be prepared! Dress appropriately, make sure you have all your relevant marketing materials, applications, and scope of appointment forms.

Jessica: When you arrive at their home, be friendly! Smile when you get out of your vehicle, be inviting!

Sarah: Yeah and be looking around for clues that will give you insight into what their interests are.

Jessica: Maybe they have a military bumper sticker or are hanging a sports team’s flag outside their door. These are things that you can be paying attention to so that you can bring it up in conversation and relate to your client!

Sarah: People can also sense your level of confidence. 

Jessica: Kinda like how animals can sense your fear! Haha!

Sarah: Haha right! So when you walk up to the door, make sure you walk with purpose! Oh and whatever you do, DO NOT peer into their window after you knock!

Jessica: Yes, make sure you step back after knocking on the door. Some elderly people may take a little longer to get to the door and if they see you peering in they are going to get spooked! I know I would!

Sarah: And when they finally invite you in, make sure that you don’t hesitate. Talk to them as you enter. Also, remember to be courteous. If their home seems neat and tidy and they’re not wearing shoes ask if you should remove your shoes before entering. 

Jessica: Just think about what you would want if a salesperson was coming to your home. If you always put yourself in your client’s shoes, then you should be safe in making them feel comfortable with them.

Sarah: Obviously building client trust goes beyond the initial few seconds of you arriving and entering their home. So let’s talk rapport.

Jessica: Building rapport means making the beneficiary feel comfortable with you by presenting yourself as friendly and open. This can be done in many different ways. So let’s break it down, Sarah!

Sarah: Alright! Number one: make small talk by asking questions and discussing their interests. Like we mentioned before, take note of your surroundings. If you noticed that they served in the military you may be able to start a conversation. Oh, you were in the military? My dad was a Marine! Or something like that. Try to relate.  Also, make sure you stay away from religion and politics if possible. And of course, ask lots of questions to understand what products and services they may need or want.

Jessica: My turn! Number two: Listen and engage. A lot of what we have told you already serves to this point, but there is a reason for that… it’s important! Try to get to know your client on a personal level and share stories of your own to connect with them. Try and find commonalities between the two of you. This will make you seem like a real person and not just some stranger trying to sell them something. 

Sarah: Remember, that clients like buying from people they actually like. Sometimes the product is secondary. You could be selling the best product in the world, but if you don’t seem trustworthy and honest, it’s likely you’re client will buy from someone else who they like more.

Jessica: Yes, that’s super important! We can’t emphasize that enough! 

Sarah: Which brings us to the last part of building rapport: tone and body language. We like to use a technique called parroting. 

Jessica: haha What a great name!

Sarah: haha Yeah, so to parrot you talk how your client talks, act how they act, etc. because, once again, people like doing business with people like them.

Jessica: Yes, so make sure you pay attention to their body language because that will help you with parroting. But also, it will give you an idea of how they feel. If they are leaning in and nodding their head then they are most likely engaged and interested, but if they have their arms crossed and are leaning away from you that’s a sign of disengagement and they may not trust what you’re saying. We actually discuss understanding client body language in Episode 3 of the podcast about The Assumptive Close technique. So give that a listen if you want to dive into body language a bit more!

Sarah: So another way to make sure that you build client trust, introduce yourself as an expert. Even if you’re brand new to sales!

Jessica: Fake it till you make it, am I right? haha

Sarah: You are definitely right! Haha! Spend a few minutes letting them know who you are, what you do, and that your job as a Medicare specialist is to make this process as easy as possible for them. Remember that you will be discussing a lot of personal information with this person, they may open up to you about their health problems. So making sure that they see you as an expert, as someone who truly understands what you are selling them, is incredibly vital.  

Jessica: Make sure that you believe in yourself and what your offering! Remember, people can sense your level of confidence! Also, think about what your why is! Once you know this it will be easier to convey that you truly want to HELP people and get joy from helping beneficiaries like them getting great benefits that cover their needs. 

Sarah: Yeah, I mean maybe even tell them a story about someone else that you’ve helped gain the coverage they deserve and how much joy and gratitude you received from that interaction. We interviewed motivational coach and international speaker, Ben Newman, last episode and he talked a lot about how telling stories is an important selling method. It makes you relatable and connects with the beneficiary on an emotional level.

Jessica: Telling your client about others you’ve helped will allow them to get comfortable with you and know that they are doing business with someone that a lot of other people trust.

Sarah: Yes, why else do companies always want customer reviews? Because people gauge their confidence in a salesperson or a product based on other people’s experience. This is a great reason why referrals are so important in growing your business!

Jessica: Also remember that this trust-building process doesn’t stop once you’ve made the sale. That is only the beginning of your relationship with your new client! If you truly want to retain your clients, it’s important to position yourself as their go-to person for everything Medicare, even after the sale. You want to be their point of contact for whenever they have a question about their Medicare coverage.

Sarah: Yes!! I feel like this is a part of selling Medicare that doesn’t get enough attention. Selling the product is important but what you do AFTER the sale is equally important!

Jessica: If you’re wondering what you can do after the sale to retain your clients, you can use the 3-30-60-90 conversation guide! We’ve got another podcast episode that discusses the 3-30-60-90 guide in detail so give that episode a listen. But to summarize, in order to build client trust, it’s important to maintain contact. Whether that be 3 days after the sale, 30 days, 60 days or 90 days! Always stay top of mind with your clients and make them truly feel like you are there for them and care about their needs.

Sarah: Yes! So there you have it! These are great ways to build client trust. 

Jessica: And the more client trust you have the more likely you’re going to make the sale and maybe even get referrals! So always put yourself in the clients’ shoes. Think about what would make you want to buy from someone. You’d probably want to buy from someone who is friendly, honest, likable, and truly knows and understands the product. Someone who you can trust to not only help make the best healthcare decision but also someone you can rely on as a true Medicare expert!

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!


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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Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

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!

Jessica:

  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.

Sarah:

  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!

Jessica:

  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.

Sarah:

  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. 

Sarah:

  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!

Jessica: 

  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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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.

Jessica:

  • 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.

Sarah: 

  • 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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

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

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 Medicare.gov 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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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!


How to Generate Leads: Partnering with Providers – Ep. 7

Episode 7 is all about how to generate leads by partnering with providers! Generating your own leads can seem like a daunting task; and once AEP ends, it can be difficult to make sales. We talk about some of the ways you can continue selling outside of Annual Enrollment like selling Medicare Supplement Plans and utilizing the Special Enrollment Period. Want more information? Read our blog at https://seniormarketadvisors.com/blog/how-to-sell-medicare-outside-of-aep/

Next, Jessica and Sarah go through the SMA Building Your Business video series, How to Partner with Dental Offices, to give you some tips on how to generate leads. This includes why you should partner with dental offices, how to make a good first impression, and crafting your pitch. If you’re thinking about partnering with a provider, but aren’t sure where to start, this episode will walk you through the process.

If you’d like to get free access to the entire Building Your Business video series plus all the included worksheets and leave-behinds, contract with Senior Market Advisors today at www.agentcontract.com. Want more information? Give us a call at 844-452-5020.
Finally, Sarah and Jessica talk about how to redefine the way you think about fear and that failure isn’t always a bad thing. Want to be featured on the podcast? Share your story with us at www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast.

Partnering with Providers – Ep. 7 Full Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 7 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’re going to go over how to sell Medicare outside of Annual Enrollment and talk about how to build your business by partnering with providers!    

Jessica: Yeah and we actually have our own video series that breaks down how to partner with different types of providers for those agents who are contracted with us which we will touch on that a little bit later! 

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: Since it’s SEP which stands for Special Enrollment Period, we wanted to give you some tips on how to sell during this quieter season of the year. We know AEP is likely your busiest sales season, but if you’re not taking advantage of the other 311 days of the year, you’re missing out! There are two things we recommend to up your sales outside of Annual Enrollment. #1 is to sell Medicare Supplement Plans and #2 is to utilize the Special Enrollment Period. This way you continue selling all year long! 

Jessica: Let’s start with selling Medicare Supplement Plans. Did you know that only around 30% of all Medicare-eligibles are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan? That means there is 70% of those Medicare-eligibles that you could be selling Medicare Supplements to!! 

Sarah: And what’s special about Medicare Supplement Plans is that they can be sold year-round. It’s not like Medicare Advantage where there is a specific enrollment period. 

Jessica: Medicare Supplements are also standardized, unlike MA plans. There are 10 types and each plan is the same, regardless of what state you sell in!

Sarah: Not all beneficiaries would benefit most from a Medicare Supplement plan though. So make sure you assess their needs and make sure it’s the right fit. When you are selling Medicare Supplement plans, it’s important to discuss the beneficiary’s health, lifestyle, medical needs, and budget. The rates can change based on their zip code, age, gender, marital status, and tobacco use so make sure that it’s the right fit for them and their needs.

Jessica: Moving on to Special Enrollment. There are many individuals who are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period which means you can sell them Medicare Advantage and Part D plans outside of Annual Enrollment! 

Jessica: Most people who are eligible for a special enrollment period are dual-eligible which means they qualify for both Medicare AND Medicaid! These people also qualify for the Medicare Extra Help program which can help them with prescription drug costs.

Sarah: There are quite a few other instances that qualify beneficiaries for special enrollment periods though as well. Some of the most common qualifying events include relocating to a different service area, loss of current coverage, chance to get other coverage, or a plan contract change. This isn’t a complete list but if you want more information you can visit Medicare.gov!

And If you want more information on how to sell Medicare outside of AEP, you can read our blog on the SMA website. The link is provided in the description!

Jessica: There you have it! There are lots of ways you can sell to individuals outside AEP, so don’t get frustrated, Stay hungry! They are out there, you just need to find them! Which brings us to our next topic…. How to generate leads by partnering with providers!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: We all know generating leads isn’t easy. It’s time-consuming and can be stressful. That’s why we want to fill you in on a tip for how to generate leads, no matter what time of year! And that’s by partnering with providers like dental offices, primary care providers and pharmacies. 

Jessica: We think this is so important that we actually offer an entire video series on this topic called Building Your Business to our contracted agents, free of charge. We break down how to partner with providers, step by step so if that’s something you’re interested in and you want to get contracted with SMA, you can visit www.agentcontract.com to start the process online!

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Sarah: Alright so today we want to give you a little sneak peek of this video series, obviously we won’t be showing you any videos since, well, this is a podcast, but we will be discussing a few of the topics we cover in the series. The entire series includes Why Market to Providers, How to Locate Providers, How to create a good first impression, How to prepare your pitch, a video that you can present to the provider during your initial meeting, follow-up and leave behinds and then a few key takeaways.

Jessica: So today we will focus on dental offices. So, you may be wondering… why would partnering with a dental office help me generate leads? It’s simple! Relationships are the key to building your business and partnering with a provider means you can refer clients to one another. 

Sarah: Right so for example, let’s say the dentist has a patient who needs an expensive procedure, and that person doesn’t have a plan that covers that procedure. Or maybe they walk in and their plan doesn’t cover dental at all. Well the dentist would have to turn this person away because the patient wouldn’t be able to afford it, but if you have a relationship with that dentist, well shablam! Now they can refer that patient to you and you can help them enroll in a plan that covers the procedure they need. You make a sale, the dentist gains or retains the patient, and the patient gets the procedure covered!

Jessica: Exactly! And on the flip side, you probably enroll people all the time into plans that offer dental coverage. You can now refer those patients to see the dentist!

Sarah: Right, it’s just a really nice symbiotic relationship that works really well for lead generation. And everybody wins!

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Jessica: So moving on to creating a good first impression… this is so important guys! Half the battle is getting the person you’re speaking with to like you and trust you. 

Sarah: And the key to getting someone to trust you is preparation. Make sure you research the dental office you’re planning to visit. Think of it like a job interview, that’s basically what it is. 

Jessica: Right, you wouldn’t go into an interview without dressing nicely, researching the person you’ll be meeting with and preparing your pitch. So this is no different. Go in with a plan and be confident!

Sarah: It’s also important to build rapport with the person at the front desk. It’s likely that the dentist won’t be the first person you come in contact with, many times it will be a receptionist or other office worker. This person is the gatekeeper so make sure you’re friendly and memorize a quick elevator pitch to show them the benefits of your partnership.

Jessica: We don’t want to dive too deep into your pitch but at a high-level, you’re really trying to show them your interest and discuss how the partnership would benefit both of you. You want to steer away from talking about yourself, you really want to focus on them and their needs. Your preparation is key so that you can answer any questions they may have. You should also be asking them questions to make sure that they are actually a good fit for you as well!

Sarah: Also fun fact for those of you who are already contracted with SMA, we have included multiple worksheets on SMA Storefront that can help you prepare your pitch for the meeting.

Jessica: Overall, you want to make sure this process is as easy for the provider as possible. Once you partner with a dental office and you build trust in the relationship, you won’t regret it! There are so many amazing opportunities to generate leads this way. 

Sarah: Lots of good information in this series guys. If you want to learn more on how to partner with providers, give us a call at 844-334-6066!

Ending on a Positive Note:

Sarah: So we at Senior Market Advisors are big on failure. And that may sound weird because we are ending on a positive note right? But we truly believe that if you don’t fail, you aren’t growing and you aren’t innovating. So let’s just talk about failure for a bit and how failure is not always a bad thing!

Jessica: True! Fear of failure can sometimes make people not try. And that’s really the worst thing you can do right?

Sarah: Yeah there’s a quote I really like. It’s “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” I love that quote because it’s so true. That fear of failure can really hold you back but if you don’t try you’ll never know what it would be like to succeed. Sometimes it can be easy to get in your head because we all know that failure is a sucky feeling and we want to do whatever we can to NOT have that feeling. But failure it’s also a motivator. Think about all the times you lost at games when you’re playing a sport or failed a test. Did you just get sad and quit never play again? No, you probably trained harder to improve your skills or you studied harder for the next test. You never want to think about failure as some giant wall that’s keeping you from achieving your goals. No, you want to think of failure as just another stepping stone to a better version of you.

Jessica: Right… Whatever you want to say about failure.

Sarah: You’re never going to be perfect. You’re going to have terrible days as an agent where you don’t generate any leads, you don’t make any sales and maybe it just feels like you can’t do anything right. Everyone has been there! And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad agent. It just means you need to make a new plan, work harder, and start again fresh tomorrow. 

Jessica: Whatever you want to say.

Sarah: Alright everyone, that concludes today’s podcast episode. We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about how to generate leads by partnering with providers! It can be really helpful especially during SEP!

Jessica: If you want to be featured on the podcast, visit www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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 Selling SMART 

Both: with Senior Market Advisors!

Setting SMART Goals – Ep. 5

Episode 5 is a forward-looking episode focused around setting smart goals and planning for the future! We start by discussing some of the trends happening with the Medicare-eligible population like updates in technology, social habits, and living changes.

As the industry grows and changes, it’s important to focus on your plans for the future to ensure your continued success. As an agent, you should always be setting goals for yourself in order to grow your business and learn how to become a better salesperson.

The SMART Goal method is a fantastic way to set goals and we use it often at Senior Market Advisors. We break down the SMART Goal method step-by-step and Jessica and Sarah even take you through the entire process as they set their own goals! This way you can get an idea of what this method really looks like in action. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish!

Finally, to end on a positive note, Jessica shares a story about mindset and how having a positive outlook helped her cope with a negative situation. Want to be featured on the podcast? We want to hear from you! Look for the button titled “Share Your Story” and send us your motivational stories!

Setting SMART Goals – Ep. 5 Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Selling SMART with Sarah Smith and…

Jessica: Jessica Vara!

Sarah: Today we are going to be going over some Medicare trends for 2019 and then digging into how to set SMART goals for 2019

Disruptive Waves:

Jessica: Let’s start with some 2019 Trends to Know About Seniors & Medicare Eligibles!

Sarah: As you might already guess, there are over 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every single day and this trend will only grow as time goes on! Which is why the Medicare insurance industry is so great right now! If you aren’t already selling Medicare products, you definitely should be in order to capitalize on this growth!

Jessica: Baby boomers in particular, are going digital! Virtual Reality is now being used to recover memories and they are using technology to track health goals. Boomers are social into retirement. They are tapping into their passions and hobbies and they’re even moving into communal living spaces during retirement

Sarah: Tip: For lead generation, it’s not a bad idea to work with your local senior living facilities to plan a sales event! We will cover the topic of how to set up a sales event in a later episode!!

Jessica: And if you want to learn more about Trends to know about Seniors & Medicare Eligibles and other Medicare-related topics you can visit https://seniormarketadvisors.com/blog/2019-trends-to-know-about-seniors-and-medicare-eligibles/

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Jessica: If you want to sell SMART you have to start by setting SMART goals!! Setting smart goals is extremely important in life success, especially when written.

Sarah: In fact, the Harvard Business School did a study on goal setting and the graduating class was asked “Have you set written goals and created a plan for their attainment?”

84% of the class said they had set no goals at all. 13% said they had set written goals but had no concrete plans and only 3% had both written goals and concrete plans.

The results? 10 years later the 13% of the class that set written goals but had no plans were making twice as much money as the 84% of the class that had set no goals at all. But the real kicker is the the 3% of the class who had both written goals AND a plan were making 10 times as much as the rest of the class.

Jessica: In other words, set your goals, make a plan, and make more money!!!

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Sarah: Why is setting SMART Goals important?

The SMART Goal method is helpful when setting large goals for yourself. As an agent, you should always be setting sales goals for yourself and reporting back to see if you hit them and reflect on how you could have done better. Especially when prepping for AEP!

Jessica: SMART is an acronym to help you remember the steps. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. There’s a couple variations you may see around the web but those are the ones we like to use here at SMA.

Let’s go through and break down each step for setting SMART goals.

Sarah: Specific! First off, you always want to write your goals down. You may think you’ll remember but let’s be honest… you won’t. 

Your goal should be specific enough that it’s obvious, even to an outsider looking in. To really hone in on the specifics of your goal use the five W’s as your guide. 

WHO? Who is involved? Is it just you? Or will you be relying on others to help get you there?

What? What do you want to accomplish?

Where? Where do you need to be/go in order to attain your goal?

Which? Which resources do you need?

Why? Why are you even doing this in the first place? What do you hope to gain by achieving your goal?

Jessica: Measurable! You have to measure your progress as you go or else how will you know how you’re doing?

Assessing your progress as you go is important because it helps you stay focused, meet your deadlines and get pumped!!

When crafting your goal, think about how much? How many? And how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal.

Sarah: Attainable! You never want a set a goal that’s too big to actually achieve or else you’ll just end up feeling defeated. You want to set goals that stretch your abilities but aren’t out of your reach. You should think about previously overlooked opportunities and add those into your goal setting strategy.

When setting SMART goals, think about the steps you can take to actually achieve the goal and think about how realistic it is based on any constraints in your life. 

Sometimes setting a big goal can seem a bit overwhelming so it can be really helpful to break your goal down into smaller goals and track your progress that way.

Jessica: Realistic! Realistic is similar to attainable but it’s more focused on whether it actually matches your needs. You want to maintain control over your goals and that you are setting the correct expectations for yourself as well as a healthy and realistic approach to attaining them. 

In order for your goal to be realistic, it should answer YES to the following questions:

Is it worthwhile? Is it the right time? Does it match my needs? Does it make sense for my current state?

Sarah: And finally, Timely! What’s a goal without a deadline? Always make sure you set a deadline that is realistic for you to complete your goal by. Don’t set a deadline too soon because then you’ll feel unsuccessful if you don’t meet it and you may give up. But you also don’t want to set a deadline that’s so far away that you lose track of your progress or you don’t push yourself hard enough. Find that happy medium.

It’s also a great idea to set markers along the way to help track progress. This will also help you maintain control over your goals so that you don’t let daily tasks take over longer-term goals.

When setting SMART goals, you should be able to answer these questions. When is your deadline? What can I do 6 months from now? What can I do 6 weeks from now? And what can I do today?

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Ending on a Positive Note:

Setting SMART Goals with Sarah and Jessica:

So let’s actually set some of our own SMART Goals Jessica using this method and see how we do!

Specific: 

Who is involved? Is it just you? Will you rely on others to help get you there?


What? What do you want to accomplish?

Where? Where do you need to be/go in order to attain your goal?

Which? Which resources do you need?

Why? Why are you even doing this in the first place? What do you hope to gain by achieving your goal?

Measurable:

When crafting your goal, think about how much? How many? And how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal

Attainable:

When setting your goals, think about the steps you can take to actually achieve the goal and think about how realistic it is based on any constraints in your life. 

Sometimes setting a big goal can seem a bit overwhelming so it can be really helpful to break your goal down into smaller goals and track your progress that way.

Realistic:

Is it worthwhile? Is it the right time? Does it match my needs? Does it make sense for my current state?

Timely:

When is your deadline? What can I do 6 months from now? What can I do 6 weeks from now? And what can I do today?

Remember… a goal without a plan is just a wish!

Thanks for joining us today, we really appreciate it. Interested in learning more about Senior Market Advisors? Give us a call at 844-334-6066. Want to be featured on the podcast? Visit us online at www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast and share your story. 

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

Sarah: We appreciate you joining us today on Selling SMART with Senior Market Advisors

Overcoming Sales Objections – Ep. 4

In Episode 4, we talk about the transition from OEP to SEP. Learn about the Medicare Special Enrollment Period and how you can assist beneficiaries during this time of the year. We also discuss overcoming objections in sales when out in the field!

Our very own Tori Buckman joins us to share her insight and conduct a role-play with Sarah. As they interact, we point out different techniques that Tori uses to put the beneficiary at ease or to get the sale back on track. After listening to us break down these strategies, we know you will feel more confident dealing with common sales objections in the field.

Finally, we share our first submission for Ending on a Positive Note from our agent, Rhea Swaze!

Episode 4: Overcoming Sales Objections Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 4 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode… we’ll go over SEP and how to overcome sales objections when trying to close a sale!   

Jessica: We are excited to have our very own Tori Buckman with us today! So Tori, tell us a little bit about yourself and what exactly you do at SMA

Tori: Hey guys so I’m the Director Field Sales and I run a channel of about 30 agents between Tennessee and Kentucky.

Sarah: Thanks Tori, we are so happy to have you with us! So on this episode, we will be going over everything SEP, and then getting into how to overcome sales objections and Tori will give us some of her insight!

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: Now that OEP is over, we are moving into another exciting time in the industry, SEP. So first things first, what exactly is SEP? If you’ve been in the business for a while, you know exactly what this means. The pool of beneficiaries you can sell to has significantly decreased. But just because AEP & OEP have ended, doesn’t mean you can’t still help beneficiaries get the coverage they need! Today we want to talk more about who qualifies for SEP and how beneficiaries can find out if they qualify.

Jessica: SEP stands for Special Enrollment Period. The Special Enrollment Period allows individuals who qualify to enroll or make changes to their Medicare plan outside of the Annual Enrollment Period.  Which brings us to the most important thing to understand about SEP, who qualifies.  

Sarah: Yes! Some of the most common qualifying events include relocating to a different service area, loss of current coverage, chance to get other coverage, a plan contract change, or the beneficiary is eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid in other words, they are dual-eligible or they qualify for Low-Income Subsidies

Jessica: Now obviously, all of these situations do not absolutely guarantee that someone will qualify for SEP, since it really depends on the situation. But it is very likely that if one of those statements applies to a beneficiary they will be eligible. As an agent, it’s important that you understand who qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period so you can help beneficiaries determine eligibility. If they qualify, you can help them enroll in a plan!

Sarah: It’s also important to let them know that they may need to provide documents to confirm the events that make them eligible! They will probably either be asked to upload them online, or mail in copies of the documents. Don’t send originals! Make sure they know that! They will need to keep the originals for their own files. 

Jessica: Some people’s eligibility results won’t say anything about providing documentation. So if that’s the case with your beneficiary, then they don’t need to worry about it! They should be able to just pick a plan and enroll!

Jessica: And make sure they know that their coverage start date is based on when they pick a plan, but they can’t use their coverage until their Special Enrollment Period eligibility is confirmed and they make their first premium payment.

Sarah: One more note, Those with an SEP as a result of LIS or dual-eligibility can now only change plans once per quarter within the first nine months of the year to prevent constant plan changes and help prevent opioid abuse. Make sure that you’re aware of this change!
Sarah: Yep! So hopefully that helps you understand what to tell your clients when discussing SEP and what to expect!

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: In today’s episode, we want to go over how to Overcome Sales Objections from beneficiaries when you are out in the field. Tori Buckman, our resident expert on sales is going to help us learn about overcoming sales objections! She was an agent herself, and as she mentioned earlier, she now manages our agents in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Sarah: So Tori, let’s go back to the most basic question, what is a sales objection?

Tori: A sales objection is any excuse or statement said by a beneficiary that would prevent you from making the sale.  These objections may be real or they may be excuses. Your job is to determine which it is and overcome it.

Jessica: What’s your advice for how to overcome objections?

Tori:   When you encounter sales objections, and you will, there are volumes of information on what to do next.  Myself, I always believe that simple is best. So when you encounter objections, follow this general process to get back on track:

  1. Listen – Let them explain their concern in its entirety.  Do not interrupt.
  2. Understand – repeat their concerns back to them and get agreement
  3. Relate – Emphasize with what and how they are feeling.  “I have felt that way”
  4. Support – I have found that with your objection, it has worked out well for others because…

This process is also known as “feel, felt, found “ and is a good approach in overcoming a preliminary objection.

Sarah: What do you do if you can’t overcome their objection on the initial try?

Tori:  So there are 3 tips that I want to let people know about for when they are in this situation: 

  1.  Any time they take you by surprise, just remember “that’s interesting, why do you feel that way.” gives you time to gather your thoughts.
  2. Never engage in a debate – it just angers the prospect
  3. Do not make the prospect wrong – Stay away from words like “but”, use “have you considered”

If they kick back an objection to Feel, Felt, Found, figure out if it’s an excuse or actual objection. 

Ask them: Do you mind if I ask why you feel that way? Then ask,  If “the objection” was not an issue would it be a good choice for you and your family?

If you receive a negative response, it’s an excuse. circle back around to, Interesting, do you mind if I ask why you feel that way?  Wash rinse repeat…

You want someone to tell you no, 3 times. By the 3rd no, make a judgment call, “Sorry I couldn’t help you.” 

If you received a positive response, answer their questions and close the sale.

Jessica: What are some examples of the most common sales objections an agent would likely encounter out in the field?

Tori: In the field agents are going to encounter countless objections but they all fall into three categories.

  1. No money
    • I can’t afford it. I’m on a fixed income.
    • I’m insurance poor.
    • If this costs money I don’t want it/can’t afford it.
  2. No hurry
    • I’m shopping. I want to compare
    • I need to talk to someone
    • I want to think about it
    • I don’t have time
  3. No need
    • I’m not interested
    • I already have a policy
    • I’m happy with what I have

Once again every objection you hear It is important practice responses to the three scenarios for your product focus 

Sarah: Can we do a quick role play with these sales objections so our listeners can get a better idea of how this would play out in the field?

Sarah: Objection #1 – I can’t afford it. I’m on a fixed income.

Tori: Rebuttal – I understand, bills can be tough especially when they come up unexpectedly.  I struggle at times myself paying those extra cost per month. However, I have found as well as several of my clients have found that it’s always better to budget a small amount than be hit with those large unexpected expenses.  

Jessica: So as you can see, Tori just used the feel, felt, found method. She said “I understand” showing that she listened and that she understands the client’s concern. She related to them by saying she struggles too with paying extra costs. And then she offers support and explains how it’s worked well for others. Okay, back to the role play.

Tori: So tell me, If we took cost out of the picture all together, do you feel this product would be a great fit for your lifestyle?

If Yes – Great, so you feel it’s a great product for your family.  We can make adjustments so it will fit into your budget to get started, I need to ask you a few questions.  Begin taking application using the assumptive close.

If no – Interesting, I am sure you have a reason for feeling that way.  Do you mind if I ask what it is? (Repeat step 1)

Jessica: Objection #2 – I need to talk to someone

Your goal is to determine if you are dealing with an excuse or a real objection.  With an excuse, we need to isolate the truth. With an objection, or condition, we need to take the appropriate objection handling steps.

Jessica, can you play the role of the client? [Let the listener know what they’re listening for]

Tori: Rebuttal –  

Client: “I need to talk to my spouse.”

Agent:  “That makes a lot of sense Betty. Do you think he will have some questions about what we covered today?”

Client:  “Yes I do.”

Agent:  “What type of questions do you think that John will ask?”

Client:  “He’ll probably ask about the price.”

Agent:  “Well, that’s an easy one to answer.  Do you also think he will ask about the product?”

Client:  “I don’t think so. Probably not, he is more concerned about price.”

Agent:  “Oh. Well what do you think he will say about that price?”

Client:  “It’s too high.”

Agent:  “I bet that is exactly what he’ll say. Betty, what do you say about the price?”

This is the test determines if you dealing with a smokescreen or an objection.

Jessica: The beneficiaries response to this question would determine whether you are dealing with a smokescreen (excuse) or an actual objection. 

Smokescreen Response:

Client :  “Well, Uhm.   Uh, I think the price is a little high.”  

Agent: Interesting, do you mind if I ask why you feel that way.  

Client: Well, in reality,  I think this is a great idea.  I just don’t want John to think I made a decision without his input.  

Agent:  I understand, you don’t want to upset your spouse. I  have found many clients in similiar situation and what we can do is go ahead and take the application now and if your husband gets home and has any concerns, we can cancel the policy. I am also available to answer his questions over the phone..  So, to get started, how do you feel about me asking you some questions. – take the app

Jessica: Notice that what Tori did here was she asked “Interesting, do you mind if I ask why you feel that way. This is a great way for her to determine if it’s an excuse or an actual objection. Sarah’s response showed that if it were not for her husband’s input, she would enroll in the plan. This is an excuse, not an objection. Tori responded by understanding the concern, offering a solution to the problem and moving forward with the assumptive close method.

Objection Response:

Sarah: “I just don’t know enough about our finances, my husband usually handles those and think he would say we can’t afford it.” 

If she says “I think it is perfectly fine,” then you a dealing with a sales objection.  You have 2 choices here:

  • Get the husband involved over the phone.
  • Set an appointment to come back and visit with them together.

(Never set a one legged appointment.  Make sure the decision makers are at the meeting.)

Agent:  “Betty, let’s make sure John gets the full picture, because I reviewed a lot of information today and I understand that it is a lot to consider.  I can come back this afternoon and review these options with the both of you at the same time? Will you take a look at your calendar. 6 works for me, would that work for both of you?”

Jessica: Objection #3 – I’m just not interested.

Tori: Rebuttal – You know Ms. Client, I understand, about half the time I don’t even listen to what people say when they come to my door selling something.  In fact, a lot of our customers had the same initial reaction, but after looking at the program in detail and seeing the benefits, they were glad they took the time to look into it.  Do you mind if I ask why you feel that way?

Well let me ask you this, what would you do if you didn’t have the benefits that these products have. Do you really want to be left uncovered?

Absolutely can I schedule a follow up appointment with you tomorrow? – You always want to try and schedule a follow up as soon as possible because the longer you give the bene time to wait the less likely you are to get the sale

Jessica: What Tori did here was understand and empathize with the client. She then explained how other client’s have had similar reactions, but then posed a question to get back on track. Even though the beneficiary didn’t want to commit on the spot, Tori set a followup appointment to attempt the sale again at a later date.

Sarah: Objection #6 – I’m happy with my plan.

Tori: Rebuttal – That’s great!  You are doing a lot better than most of the people I speak with on a daily basis.  Do you mind if I ask how you picked your benefits.. why? What do you like most about them?  If you could change one thing, what would it be? If I could show you a plan that had everything you already have and had the one thing that was missing, how would you feel about that?
Jessica: See how Tori understood the beneficiaries’ concern and then related to them. She then asked probing questions to get the beneficiary to really think about their own policy and consider other options in order to get back on track.

Ending on a Positive Note:

Jessica: Today we want to share a submission from one of our agents, Rhea Swaze! Thank you Rhea for your submission to the podcast!

Sarah: I’ll go ahead and read her submission. It’s very inspiring! Rhea writes:

I remember as a child, my grandmother telling me, that whatever I decide to do or become in life, make sure that I choose a field that helps someone. Looking down on me now and seeing how I have taken her advice, I’m sure she is smiling. 

I have had clients call me just to tell me “I love you, thank you for helping me”.

I can’t count the number of times, when  calling on someone that is less fortunate than myself, that would not let me leave without giving me something. It might be some fish they caught, a bottle of water, a honeybun, a sweet potato or a piece of candy. I have even had them stand at my car door and say a prayer that I would be safe in my travels. The people that have less are generally the ones that want to give the most. I feel like I am on  a mission more so than just going to work. It’s a good feeling!

Jessica: And that folks, is why we do what we do! 

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

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 www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast 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

Instagram: @SeniorMarketAdvisors

Twitter: @SeniorMarketAdv

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


Exploring Sales Techniques – Assumptive Close – Ep. 3

In Episode 3, we discuss some of the changes to the Medicare Communications and Marketing Guidelines for 2019. CMS now differentiates between what is considered communication and what is considered marketing and it’s important that you understand the difference.

There are many sales closing techniques you can use when selling a product. Many of our podcast episodes will explore different sales closing techniques and today we also go over the Assumptive Close! Feel like you’re having trouble closing the sale? Try the Assumptive Close technique. If done correctly, it’s one of the best sales closing techniques in the insurance industry! Our very own Keith Hinson joins us to break down what the Assumptive Close technique is, why and when to use it, and most importantly, how to use it, plus some assumptive close examples! We also touch on overcoming objections in the field. If you want an in-depth podcast on this topic, make sure to listen to Episode 4: Overcoming Objections!

And finally, Keith closes out this episode out with an awesome story about perseverance that will leave you feeling inspired. You don’t want to miss it! Want to be featured on the podcast? Look for the button at the top of your screen titled “Share Your Story” and send us your motivational stories Happy listening!

Podcast Episode 3: Exploring Sales Techniques – Assumptive Close Transcript

Sarah: Welcome to Episode 3 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….

Jessica: And Jessica Vara!

Sarah: In today’s episode, we are going to do a review of some of the key updates to the Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines for 2019, we’ll go over the sales technique Assumptive Close, and we will end with a motivational story!    

Jessica: We are excited to have our first guest on the podcast.. our very own Keith Hinson to talk about one of his favorite sales techniques! Keith can you tell everyone a bit about what you do at SMA and your background in the insurance industry.

Keith: Jessica, thank you. Like she said my name is Keith Hinson, I’m the Vice President of Life and Ancillary Sales here at Senior Market Advisors. And for the most part im responsible for helping to grow out anything related to life sales and any ancillary products throughout the United States. A little bit about me. My education was an engineer, managed to do that for about 2 year and decided that was not the career for me so starting in the late 90s I jumped in feet first into the insurance space and been working in some aspect – anything from individual financial planning to group benefits to P&C ever since. 

Sarah: Thanks Keith! We are excited to have you and have your insight here on the podcast. So before we dive into some sales techniques with Keith, we wanted to go over some of the updates to the Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines for 2019.

Disruptive Waves:

Sarah: Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines Updates for 2019

Now this isn’t exactly new information, they’ve been out for a while now, but we just want to review and make sure you understand some of the updates that CMS made to the Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines for 2019, this is something really important to make sure you understand. 

If you notice, the name of these guidelines changed. They used to be known as the “Medicare Marketing Guidelines” but have been renamed to include Communications. The biggest difference is that there is now a distinction between what is considered marketing and what are considered communication materials. 

The biggest thing to note about this change is that materials that fall under the category of communications are not subject to CMS review. The difference between marketing and communication depends on intent.

Jessica: Let’s get back to the basics. What exactly is considered marketing by CMS?

  • Any use of materials with intent to draw attention to a plan or plans
  • Or intent to influence a beneficiary’s decision-making process
  • Contains information about plan’s benefit structure, cost sharing, measuring or ranking standards

An example: “Get _____ plan with a $0 copay!” This is a clear example of pointing a beneficiary to a specific plan and discussing a plan benefit as well.

What does CMS consider communications?

  • This includes materials intended to provide information
  • And includes all activities and materials aimed at prospective and current enrollees, including caregivers and other decision makers

An example: “Have you gotten your flu shot yet?” This is providing information about flu shots but is not intending to influence a beneficiary’s decision making process or pointing to any specific plan or plan benefits.

Sarah: There is also a change in the Anti-Discrimination section.

  • There’s no change on factors you can’t discriminate based on. This includes things like:
    • Race
    • Ethnicity
    • Gender
    • Mental or physical disability
    • Medical history
    • Evidence of insurability
  • But, new for 2019, you cannot target potential enrollees from higher income areas, state or imply that plans are only available to seniors rather than to all Medicare beneficiaries, or state or imply that plans are only available to Medicaid beneficiaries unless the plan is a Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) or MMP.

Those are just a few of the updates to the Medicare Communications & Marketing Guidelines for 2019.

All Aboard the Knowledge Train:

Sarah: Alright so as we mentioned earlier, we have Keith Hinson with us today to go one of his favorite sales techniques called Assumptive Close. So let’s get right to it!

Sarah: What is an assumptive close?

  • Keith: An assumptive close is just that, a close where you “assume” the prospect is going to buy.  In traditional closing methods, there is a bridge question where the person commits to buying the product you are discussing.  As an example, the “final choice” close ask a final question such as “Will you be paying by bank draft or check?” Thus requiring a decision to move forward or not.  With an assumptive close, through the use of trial closing questions, body language, and verbal cues, you “assume” the individual is going to buy. Hence, at the end of the interview you simply begin the application.    

Jessica: There are a lot of sales techniques to choose from, why use the assumptive close technique?

  • Keith: The goal of any closing technique is to limit the opportunity for a client to select a non positive outcome.  By using the “assumptive close”, you are taking that option away all together in favor of completing the sale. If done correctly, it is one of the best closes in the industry.

Sarah: How would you know when to use assumptive close?

  • Keith: Assumptive closes are a great fit for Medicare and any situation where the individual may have difficulty in making a complicated decision on their own. Like a patient depends on a doctor or a client depends on their attorney, the insurance agent is the expert and should advise the client what is in their best interest.  A physician would never ask if you want knee surgery, he tells you you need the procedure then sets up a time for the operation. A similar dynamic takes place.   

Jessica: Should you only use sales techniques like this for certain products or does it work with selling any product?

  • Keith: No, not really.  In any sales situation, we don’t sell in the close, we close after we sold.  So, what we are selling is really not relevant to the close, which is simply the bridge to the application.

Sarah: What are the signs that the beneficiary gives you that let you know that they are moving forward and ready to enroll.

  • Keith: Positive response to trial close throughout the presentation.  As an example, if this product would solve this problem for you in your family, that would be a great idea wouldn’t it?  Remember, trial closing questions only ask for opinions. The final close requires a decision.
  • Watch their body language, are they engaged?  Leaning forward, leaning back, open posture, closed posture, arms crossed, all will give you an indication of whether or not the client is ready to move forward.
  • Watch for subtle speech patterns.  When they move from talking about you to we, it is a good indication that they are ready to move forward.  If they describe the product in a positive light or use phrases like when I use x benefit, it likely means they are ready to move forward. If they offer a referral before the end of the meeting, they are ready to move forward. There’s many more and it’s something you’ll need to practice but these three should get you started.

Jessica: This all sounds like it would work great. But what do you do if the beneficiary stops you and they have objections?

  • Keith: Understand that objections are perfectly normal. A lot of times in the sales world, especially if you’re new, objections tend to freeze people in their tracks. Expect it. It’s okay, an objection usually means they’re actually interested in what your talking about so take it as a positive. Do pay attention though, if you do get objections, in a lot of instances, it usually means that you didn’t spend enough time in the middle part of presentation and ask enough questions because if you do it correctly you should have already answered those objections earlier in your conversation. So, the first goal is to determine why they stopped you or uncover the objection.  In my experience, I have found very helpful the phrase, “Interesting, why do you feel that way?” This will accomplish two things. One, it will give you time to think to determine what needs to come next, and two, it forces the client to talk about what that objection may be about. However, overcoming objections is another conversation. There’s a lot more to cover but that’s a whole other conversation that we probably don’t have time for today.  

Jessica: Alright now that we know what the assumptive close is and how to use it, let’s go ahead and do a quick role play so you can get a better idea of what an assumptive close actually sounds like.

Keith: The funny part about an assumptive close there is not much to role play, because the premise of an “assumptive close” is you have already closed the client.  Hence, the wrap up should sound something like this…

Ms. Prospect, based on what we talked about, the best fit for you will be the Anthem MA plan.  Your plan will become effective March 1st. Currently, Do you have any appointments scheduled? Great! Any visits use your old insurance card until March 1st.  Following, use your new card. Do you need any help setting up any future appointments? Be expecting a welcome call a few days from now and your cards and packet should arrive in 10 – 14 days.  In addition, I will be reaching out in a few weeks to make sure everything is going well and to ensure you understand how to use your benefits. Is there anything else I can do for you before I leave?

Wonderful, have a great day!  

Jessica: Before we move on, Keith can you do a quick wrap-up of the Assumptive Close and go over the Key Factors to Make Assumptive Close Work?

  • That would be really easy. To make an assumptive close work, the two most important things you can do an agent first off is your attitude. You have to go into the house, you have to be supremely confident, not only in yourself but also what you’re telling that client. If there is any vacillation in what your telling them and you’re stuttering a little bit it’s going to come across as shady and they will not trust you. In this case the assumptive close will not work. One of the best ways to get that confidence is to know your products. Do not go in there half-educated. Be able to talk confidently about absolutely every aspect that you’re talking to them about because if not, it’s not going to work.  

Jessica: Thank you Keith, this information has been incredibly helpful. The more sales techniques you have in your back pocket, the better off you’ll be out in the field.

Ending On a Positive Note:

Jessica: Okay Keith since we have you here, we’d love to hear a motivational story from your time out in the field. You must have a lot of feel-good stories to share!

Keith: Well I tell you what. Let’s talk about perseverance. This was about a specifically difficult client I had. I called him pretty much every day for months before I finally got a meeting. I was really jazzed. So I went out there and I put together a great presentation and had some good products in mind. I was new in the insurance industry, so I was really excited. I thought I was going to go home and some point have some money in my bank account. He called us, and told us that he talked to a friend of his and decided he was going to go another route and we got him to share with us the details of that decision. It was not a good decision and we laid out all the reasons that he was making a bad decision. But he chose to go the other route and that was fairly devastating because at the time it was going to be a significant client. But being the persevering agent that I was, I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Not even a week went by and I actually faxed over a client satisfaction survey of the company I worked for and at the time they were the 98th percentile in customer satisfaction. And ultimately it was just passive aggressive because I just wanted to get mine but he called me back and stated that he had made a terrible mistake. So we went back out there, sat down with him and managed to switch all that business over to us and it made a significant difference, specifically to me monetarily. So all this goes to say that there is no bigger gift that an agent can have than is to always persevere. Every day is a new day and to always keep that attitude great.

Sarah: That’s going to do it for today’s episode. As we mentioned earlier in the podcast, tune in next time where we discuss how to overcome objections and close the sale! Thanks again Keith for taking the time to go over the Assumptive Close with us today. We really appreciate it!

Jessica: We appreciate you joining us today on Selling SMART with Senior Market Advisors! Want to be featured in Ending on a Positive Note? Visit us online at www.seniormarketadvisors.com/podcast. Interested in learning more about Senior Market Advisors? Give us a call at 844-334-6066.

Sarah: We appreciate you joining us today on Selling SMART with Senior Market Advisors

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