The U.S. Census Bureau has declared 2030 to be a demographic turning point as all baby boomers will be over 65 years old. It also marks a decade when the aging population will outnumber children – a first in the country’s history. This rise in the number of seniors aging into Medicare creates a bubble of opportunity for the Medicare Supplements industry.
Selling Medicare Supplements (referred to by agents as Med Supps and by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as Medigap) is one of the most lucrative insurance jobs, and it will likely stay that way for years to come. Despite pending policy changes and the continued risk and uncertainty the healthcare sector is facing, the Medigap industry is still worth capitalizing on.Why? Because by 2035, there will be over 78 million people 65 years old and older in the US, and they will need coverage for services not included in Parts A and B of Original Medicare.
Whether you’re a greenhorn or seasoned agent, now is a favorable time to ramp up your selling so you can serve more people with access to affordable healthcare, all while improving your income.At TR King Insurance Marketing, we talk a lot about how adapting technology is the name of the game when it comes to increasing Medigap sales. But in this blog, we’ll focus on how the Internet, in particular, is your best tool to succeed in this field.
Selling in Today’s Medigap Market
Retirees and persons with disabilities under 65 buy Med Supps or Medigap policies because of the limited services that Original Medicare cover. Most Medigap plans help pay other out-of-pocket costs, like medical care when you travel outside the US, copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Medigap is a convenient policy to have for people who often travel because most providers out of the network accept Medigap.
Unlike other insurance products, Med Supps have straightforward and standardized plans, which means the same plan letters (Like F, G, and N) give the same coverages across the United States. There are only small differences from each plan but they are easier to learn due to the standardization. The only thing that varies from state to state and from person to person is the premium or price, which is influenced by many factors, like the client’s age, location, and the carrier’s position in the market.
Unlike other Medicare products, selling Med Supps is relatively easier because most carriers don’t require annual certifications and you can sell over the phone because most carriers offer e-Applications. On top of that, many perks are up for grabs, like high commissions, incentive trips and bonuses, and being able to sell not only during the Annual Enrollment Period, but all year long.
But it’s important to note that, given the vast, ever-growing demand for Med Supps, it’s still a challenge to succeed in this field. And it’s not just the regulations and state licensing requirements, or the carrier- and client-related factors that make it hard, it’s the fact that you’re competing with hundreds of agents and brokers in your area, selling the same standardized plans and similar rates.
For your potential clients, their primary concern is to get covered as early as when they hit the age of 65. As an agent, your priority is to sell a plan that fits each client’s individual needs and wants. You must first learn to build their trust for your business to thrive. In return, you’ll better maximize commissions and grow your annual residuals at a steady rate to make a profitable career out of it. And that entails selling fast and smart.
Pro Tip: This is where the Internet comes in, especially that seniors are now more digitally connected than ever. A study performed by Pew Research Center reveals that 59 percent of 65- to 69-year-olds and 49 percent of 70- to 74-year-olds own smartphones.
The rise of Internet adoption in these groups is even higher, with 67 percent of seniors saying they go online and subscribe to home broadband services. As is true with the general public, this uptick in smartphone and broad adoption means that many seniors find technology and the Internet useful in their lives. Despite the barriers to adoption, like less familiarity with technology, many seniors claim to engage deeply with online content and activities, like social media, search engine use, and online shopping.
These figures only prove that using the Internet to acquire and nurture leads and grow your clientele is a wise move, regardless if you’re working independently or for a private insurance company.
Using the Internet to Increase Medicare Supplement Sales
The traditional way of selling Med Supps involves sending out thousands of promotional materials via direct mail, buying telemarketed leads, or knocking at people’s doors to discuss policies. From acquisition to enrollment, it takes a lot more time and effort to convert leads into sales using traditional methods. Many veteran agents have made six-figure incomes using this technique, but the times are changing. Though there are fewer agents now than before, stricter regulations and rising Medigap premiums are making it harder for agents to sell more policies.
Fortunately, technological advancements have opened up ways to connect more efficiently and effectively with about 10,000 people turning 65 each day.
Below are ways to make the Internet expedite your selling:
Skype and Facetime for One-on-One Connection
Set up a video call with your clients via Skype or Facetime. This eliminates costly client meet-ups and offers a more personal and direct way of selling compared to phone calls. There’s also the advantage of sharing your screen with the client so you can input the information with them.
But how do you do it?
Pro Tip: Make a positive impression by having questions and responses ready, but still keep the conversation casual. Clients may get disinterested if you keep the conversation salesy.
To forge a personal connection with your client, listen to his or her needs, wants, and concerns.Give meaningful answers to each question before you jump into talking about your products.Arrange the call in a quiet office with good lighting, and make sure your Internet connection is spotless (only have open what you need).
Medicare Supplement E-Apps to Expedite Enrollment
Given that many seniors use a computer or mobile device and have high-speed Internet at home, offering an E-App option will increase your chances of making more Med Supp sales. This option eliminates paper and mailing. All critical aspects of the application process, like the client’s signature and check, are done electronically.
The margin of error is close to none since electronic applications are easier to complete and revise. Not only that, clients and agents will benefit from “shared-screen” technology that most agent portal websites have. This tool lets you and your client fill in, review, or make changes to the online form together in real-time while being in different locations.E-Apps not only make the enrollment process hassle-free and cost-effective, they also let agents enroll nonlocal clients, especially those in prime areas. This process works best if your client is comfortable and familiar with online transactions.
Social media to foster authenticity, authority, and availability
Social media is widely used as an inbound marketing platform where Medigap agents can build their brand and let prospects reach out to them first. Having a LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ page, or even a YouTube channel helps you instantly create brand awareness. From there, you can build your credibility by posting regularly about your products, answering questions from prospects, and providing other relevant information that can help inform your prospects’ purchasing decisions.
The main advantage of using social media is to build a trusting relationship with seniors in your area until they gain sufficient information to buy a plan from you. To succeed in this platform, be genuine and honest when engaging with prospects, use automation tools, like Hootsuite or Buffer to save time, and get insights into the health needs of clients in your area.
Social media is a low-cost and efficient way to promote your brand. By simply publishing educational articles about Medicare and Medigap or responding to comments on your posts, you’ll boost your chances of getting referrals and qualified leads.Just make sure that when crafting your messages and sending out promotional materials, you’re still compliant with HIPAA regulations and the social media marketing rules laid out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Please Note: Agents and brokers are not allowed to solicit Medicare Advantage plans or PDP plans to individuals who have not expressed interest. Also, go over the CMS rules on targeting ads if you’re going to use paid social.
Telephonic application via Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
Voice over Internet Protocol or VOIP is the technology used in Medicare phone sales process. It allows agents to nurture leads and make a sale by simply having high-speed Internet and a VoIP handset or softphone. Tools like automatic dialer, auto-attendant, and telephonic application let clients get the information they need about each policy and complete the enrollment process over the phone. You can also use the voice signature option (if the carrier allows that option), eliminating the need to send electronic signatures via direct mail or email.
What’s the secret to winning phone sales?
- Be comfortable and confident with selling via phone call.
- Take every second as an opportunity to build rapport with the caller.
- Find a way to connect with your potential client by attaching emotion to your product solution.
- Be friendly, straightforward, and accurate.
- Avoid radio silence during a phone call, have a script in hand (as guidance) and be prepared for potential questions.
To comply with CMS rules regarding telephonic applications, you’ll have to set up a three-way conversation with the client and carrier. You will be required to send a confirmation receipt of the enrollment via electronic or paper mail sent to the client and agency/carrier to make sure the voice-signed application is legally valid. Or, you can skip the hassle by using a carrier to be responsible for recording the conversation and obtaining the voice signature. It eliminates the need to master the technology on your end and allows you to focus on the conversation with the client.
Other Helpful Internet Tools To Help You Build Your Medicare Insurance Career
There are various tools you can use to speed up the enrollment process and fast-track sales. Having your own customer relationship management (CRM) software, like Agencybloc, Salesforce, ActiveCampaign, or HubSpot CRM will help you monitor, manage, and nurture leads throughout the buying journey. There’s also an array of industry-specific tools that integrate seamlessly with these platforms and help you streamline your marketing and sales process.
You can get a CRM if you work independently or use the one your carrier provides (If available).
Partnering with a Medicare FMO also may give you access to the best CRMs in the market, along with these additional features:
Medicare Online Quoting Tool – this tool offers easy access to up-to-date and accurate information on pricing and plans of top Medigap products in your client’s location on the fly. It’s a handy tool to have whether you’re selling online or in person as it lets you access a landscape of product options.
E-contracting Solutions – this comprehensive electronic contracting solution replaces the error-prone approach of manual data entry. It’s a big efficiency gain on your own as it lets you complete new contracts in under two minutes.
Book of Business – a simple tool that saves time and effort, a BOB allows agents to search and download pertinent information about their entire client base through a computer or mobile device. The tool provides details, like client name, effective date, policy number, and modal premium
In Conclusion, It's Up To You To Use The Tools At Your Disposal
How much or however you want to use the Internet is entirely up to you, but keep in mind that in-person meetings are still the tried-and-true practice in Medicare sales. When marketing your products to seniors, make sure to prioritize their needs and goals over commissions.
A Medigap plan is a long-term commitment that can have a significant impact on your clients’ lives, so you’d want to make sure you’re working for their best interests at all times.
Communicate in the method or platform each client is familiar and comfortable with, and be as helpful, transparent, and straightforward as possible. When phone sales via E-Apps or digital application forms are not an option for the client, do face-to-face to make the sale or explore other sales processes, like partnering with a Medicare Insurance Field Marketing Organization (FMO).And more importantly, stay up-to-date with your agent training (AHIP or agency-sponsored), state and federal regulations, your carrier’s underwriting guidelines, and changes in Medicare (read the yearly-updated Medicare and You Handbook cover to cover).
A strong Medigap marketing strategy is a mix of traditional, digital, and sheer dedication. Keep your door-knocking or direct mail techniques if they still work for you, while fully committing to your online efforts. And don’t forget to sell your products to friends, family, and colleagues, as well. Many agents tend to overlook the network that’s readily available to them.
All these will help you maximize your time, convert more leads, cut costs, increase renewals, and break geographic boundaries. More importantly, you’ll be at the forefront of supplying the growing need for Medicare Supplements.
Do you need help with your leads?
If you’re getting a steady flow of fresh leads daily but you’re having a hard time converting them into sales, feel free to reach out to TR King Insurance Marketing. We can provide you with the support and training, along with more qualified leads, software, and tools at discounted rates. Partner with us today.
Key Takeaways In This Article
- Maximize your time, sales, and provide a one on one connection with your client.
- Reach a larger audience quickly by selling Medicare supplements over the phone or online.
- Practice your presentation and sales pitch with your friends and family online.
- Be human, smile and use gestures to put yourself and your client at ease.
- Make sure you listen and give meaningful solutions to your client.
- Use the tools available to you to make it easier on yourself and YOUR client.
- Social Media is a good medium to use for helping prospects and building credibility.
Over to You
We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on:
- Do you currently sell medicare supplements over the internet? Why or Why not?
- Will face to face ever fade from insurance sales?
- What other software do you use to schedule appointments with your client?
- Have you tried the approach in the article and had struggles?
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. We will carefully read each one of them. Happy Selling!