With just weeks to go before the Annual Open Election Period kicks off, now is the time to get organized and ready to sell! The devil, as they say, is in the details. And with the race to this year’s Annual Election Period (AEP) well and truly on, last-minute details are precisely what health insurance agents should be focused on before the floodgates open in October.
Client Retention is Key
It’s not only easier to sell to an existing client, but by some estimates, it can cost five times more to onboard a new one. That means leveraging your existing book of business should be at the top of your annual enrollment planning checklist right now.
To that end, if you don’t already have a list of your current clients that includes a breakdown of their existing coverage, now is the perfect time to create one. The goal is to get a big-picture view while honing in on details that will serve clients and, ideally, give your bottom line a boost.
A few more items to add to your client retention to-do list include:
- Drill down on each client’s current policy and strategize on any changes that could help make their coverage a more advantageous fit, whether it’s a cost break overall or an expanded benefits package. A spreadsheet could get the job done, but an insurance CRM with policy tracking will make easy work of this arduous task.
- Your role as an agent is to not only sell products and services to your clients but also act as a trusted healthcare consultant. And though Medicare Marketing Guidelines prohibit you from trying to influence clients on what coverage to purchase or change, you’re allowed to answer their questions about plan specifics. Reaching out to your customers periodically (say once a quarter) to ask about their general coverage satisfaction is a great way to stay on their radar while getting (and keeping) a handle on their changing healthcare needs.
Organize Leads and Referrals
Customer retention planning is critical, but your enrollment marketing agenda should also include filling up your pipeline with new clientele.
- Under Medicare’s enrollment marketing rules, you can’t reach out to prospects, but they can certainly reach out to you. And since 75% of senior citizens report being regular Internet users, it’s a winning bet that Medicare insurance seekers are online browsing their options. If you don’t have the time and resources to build and maintain a website with contact options right now, you can probably handle a Facebook page, which includes fairly robust messaging features. Just remember, Medicare-related content that is compliant should be educational in nature and pre-approved by your carriers.
- Once leads start rolling in, organize prospect and client information in your insurance CRM. Be sure to include post-appointment discussion notes, scheduled follow-ups, and whether they were referred to you or found you by some other means.
- Marketing events are a fantastic way to attract new leads. Just remember, compliant events cannot be promoted as AEP-related and must be properly approved by and registered with carriers (be aware: deadlines and requirements may vary with each). You’re free to focus on Medicare programs, so long as you don’t cover carrier, plan, or pricing specifics. You can also hand out promotional items with your contact information, as well as serve snacks, and hand out business cards. And while you can’t solicit or receive enrollment forms during the event or require participants to provide contact information, you can schedule appointments immediately afterward.
Do Your Homework
Thanks in large part to Medicare Advantage, Medicare membership has not only grown in the past decade, but overall spending per customer has also risen. And with 10,000 people aging into Medicare eligibility every day — a trend expected to continue until 2030 — the opportunities for increased AEP sales are clear. Before the thunder and hustle of AEP sets in, take some time to immerse yourself in the ABCs of the plans you’re contracted to sell, as well as to scope out the competition.
- Many Medicare beneficiaries are taking advantage of the additional healthcare options made available to them through Medicare Advantage, such as dental, vision, and wellness benefits. Focus on these and other related benefits to help enrich your pitch during client meetings and calls.
- Create a cheat sheet that outlines the differences and gaps between your offerings against those of your competitors. This will help guide the conversation with prospects by helping you ask the right questions to find the best policy fit.
- Email or mail prospects a detailed (but not tedious) questionnaire prior to a scheduled call or visit. Focus on fact-finding questions that pertain to their current healthcare challenges, prescription drug needs, overall budget, and the previous year’s healthcare spending. Understanding what the call will cover will help them better prepare for it. To help keep their personal health information private and secure, however, don’t ask prospects to return the questionnaire, especially by email. Instead, fill in the blanks once you’re able to connect.
Prepping now for AEP will pay off in a big way once the annual window opens up on Oct. 15. And remember, whether you’re a noob on the healthcare insurance scene or a seasoned pro, your friends at Quotit are here to help with a scalable software solution designed to meet you where you’re at and equip you with the tools you need to succeed!