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!
Sarah: Welcome to Episode 19 of Selling SMART with Sarah Smith….
Jessica: And Jessica Vara!
Sarah: In today’s episode we discuss…
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
Jessica: We appreciate you joining us this week on Selling SMART
Sarah: with Senior Market Advisors!