Episode 4: Overcoming Sales Objections

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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!


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!

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

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