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OEP Checklist: Cross-Selling Tips for Insurance Agents

Cross-Selling insurance

Drive revenues during Open Enrollment Period 2023 while increasing customer retention rates

When it comes to insurance sales tactics, cross-selling is one workhorse of a multitasker. Not only does it create real value for your clients, but effective cross-selling also gives your bottom line and retention rates a boost, while opening the door to valuable referrals.

Some say cross-selling—the strategic art of selling related products to existing customers—is a little bit like shooting fish in a barrel, with a 60-70% chance of success. Whether or not that statistic is accurate for every industry, or unaffected by market conditions, is hard to quantify.

But it’s safe to say that OEP —which runs Nov. 1 through Jan. 15—is the perfect time to test drive this technique. Customers certainly have plans for the next coverage year on their minds, and with a wide range of ancillary benefits to choose from across carriers, the value proposition is potentially quite considerable. 

Long story short, if cross-selling isn’t part of your insurance enrollment marketing campaign, it should be. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider as you get down into the nitty-gritty of open enrollment planning.

Cross-selling Do’s

Do use the McDonald’s technique. Not only does the fast-food giant dole out 2.36 billion burgers to the hungry masses every year, but they also sell more than 9 million pounds of French fries worldwide every day. This staggering margin owes much of its success to employees asking a simple presumptive question: “Do you want fries with that?” Try the same tactic with your own customers—if they don’t currently have dental coverage, ask if that’s a need or nice-to-have.

Do define the value proposition for your customer. Health insurance clients don’t always fully understand the coverage benefits available to them. Take the time to explore the supplemental plans they are eligible for and spell out the cost-to-benefit ratio for each.

Do look for gaps in your clients’ coverage. If you’re a Quotit customer, your insurance CRM collects key data points about your customers and their existing policies. You can create custom reports from that data to assess where and how supplemental coverage might be a good fit for them.

Do personalize your offerings. Carefully consider your customer’s unique needs before making cross-sale recommendations. During OEP sales calls, gather information about your clients’ life circumstances to help determine which ancillaries might benefit them the most. Not everyone needs extra coverage for vision or cancer. But, depending on the carrier and other factors, supplemental policies can include such benefits as hospital indemnity insurance, funeral costs, and pay benefits for childcare, utility bills, and groceries. 

Do wait for the right moment. As with so many other things in life, timing is everything when it comes to recommending additional coverage to your insurance clients. A simple client needs assessment (CNS) that includes 10-12 questions can help you get a better grasp on your clients’ pain points, as well as any misalignments in their current policies. A quick Google search should yield plenty of CNS template options that you can easily customize to suit your needs.

Cross-selling Don’ts

Don’t push extra coverage on clients. Take a consultative approach with customers—strive to understand their healthcare needs and offer helpful advice rather than trying to steer them towards a product you want them to buy. Ask good discovery questions and don’t make assumptions. A happy client who trusts you is likely to provide the kind of word-of-mouth you want, and that will help grow your book of business.

Don’t forget to follow up. Keeping the lines of communication open and active lets clients know you care about their needs and also offers you the opportunity to fine-tune your offerings if needed. Use your CRM to automate follow-up emails, set reminders, and document where you are in the sales conversation.

Don’t be shy about asking for referrals. Asking a client to recommend you to others can feel uncomfortable, but it’s a great way to bring in trustworthy leads. Make sure you’re asking customers who have already given you positive feedback and try sending the request by email. Ask for positive reviews or brief, 2-3 sentence testimonials, and be sure to spell out that you want to use their response publicly, on your website, in social media, etc.

Stick to the script with Medicare clients. Cross-selling to Medicare beneficiaries is allowed in some scenarios, but strict rules apply. First and foremost, make sure you have a current Scope of Appointment (SOA) on file for your Medicare clients before meeting with them. This form specifies which coverage options are on the table for discussion. 

Capitalizing on cross-selling opportunities not only helps you grow your insurance business, it also has the pragmatic benefit of a shorter sales cycle. After all, a happy customer is more apt to buy and takes less time and effort to close than a new prospect.

To get the most out of your cross-selling strategy during this open enrollment season, remember, it’s all in your approach. Focus on creating a positive customer experience; anticipate your clients’ needs, and be willing to go the extra mile for them. Put in the effort now, and you can expect to reap the rewards for years to come.

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