The Justice Department has filed two separate suits to prevent the merger between both Aetna and Humana and the merger of CIGNA and Blue Cross.
Today, Aetna said that they will defend their acquisition of Humana and gave the substantial reasons why such a merger is a good thing for the country.
Among the reasons given, Aetna says that the combined company would “Improve affordability, quality, and consumer choice.” Their stats show that a combined Aetna/Humana company would still only serve 8% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries, far from the monopoly that the Justice Department will argue would result from the combined forces.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and expect that Obama's Justice Department will do everything in their power to prevent the merger, and it might ultimately be settled by a federal judge.
Many friends and relatives have been contacting me recently to ask more about the business I’m in. Why? For a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, their changing life circumstances where they may be seeing change ahead or no progress where they currently are.
More, though, are seeing the lifestyle that this business can afford those who have put the time in to build a residual income business by helping people, and they want more of that in their lives. This is, perhaps, the best reason because I firmly believe that if you want something bad enough to trudge through the unpleasant parts of getting there, you will absolutely have it.
In the last 30 days, my wife and I have traveled to Rome, Italy (with Mutual of Omaha’s Sales Leaders trip) and to Iceland with Aetna. We will soon be taking another trip to Vancouver, BC with yet another insurance organization and then I’ll be going on to a “mastermind” event in Alaska just before the busy season begins yet again.
If you are communicating to the senior market that you have Medicare products, guess what? Every other agent in America also can sell Medicare products.
What is it that you are bringing before you are asking for them to buy? Are you providing valuable information that they can use or do they feel that the entire conversation is geared toward driving them to a sale?
It has been often quoted that people want to buy, they DO NOT want to be sold. They make their decision emotionally, based on what has been provided, and then justify that decision, later, logically. By merely providing yet another channel where someone can buy, without first providing value, you are just like every other salesperson out there and nothing separates you from what anyone else can do.
A recent survey conducted by Hubspot shows that people want to be provided service FIRST, as the most important deciding factor before they make a buying decision. This should not be news, if you examine who you, yourself want to buy.
When my wife and I were in Rome recently, we watched in awe as these young boys were on the steps to a thousand+ year old monument, attempting to sell their wares. What they were selling where 11×17 inch replica water colored paintings of the various monuments around Rome. These same replica paintings were being sold on many street corners, but these boys were very creative, and it showed.
What they did differently was that one of the boys had a coloring pencil in his hand, and a variety of colored pencils at his feet. He sat on those steps and appeared to be just finishing the next painting, himself. He appeared to be putting a lot of attention into the detail of what he was working on, as the other paintings were surrounding him on full display. This gave the illusion that HIS paintings had all be hand-done and had been created meticulously with care.
To the passing tourists, what appeared to them was that they had an opportunity to purchase custom artwork of Rome, drawn right here on the steps of one of the monuments. How unique and valuable!!
While these two kids were selling the exact same thing as everyone else, they created the perception of unique value that their particular paintings brought that other similar paintings in the area did not have. With the other unmanned displays, folks were just buying copies. With this one, they bought value.
In a similar fashion, many top producers in the industry have shared with me the various ways in which they paint the picture of unique value in the mind of their potential consumer. Whether it is researching drug plans for their clients, or promising an amazing amount of follow up, they attempt, at every turn, to separate themselves from the agents who merely provide only an application and a policy delivery.
Agents who make no attempt to separate themselves and their business from the competition will be bland, boring, and will reap the rewards that befall nothing interesting.
“What is the number of times a Sales Development Rep (SDR) should attempt to contact a prospect before moving on?”
Before you put a system in place for your inside sales reps to follow, you may want to consider that the lead temperature will have a factor in how many times an SDR will reach out to a prospect, as well as how often.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN “LEAD TEMPERATURE” CATEGORIES:
Below, I’ll show you an example for each one of these lead types for your team to consider but before I do, keep in mind that most sales teams simply use what I call the “RUN AMOK” method, which basically means everyone does their own thing, and there really is no system or rhyme or reason. The RUN AMOK method is causing you to lose deals. Not only do you need an adaptable system (how many times to call a prospect) but you also need to know EXACTLY what to say on each different attempt.
If a lead is “cold” (has not made contact in the last 30-days – or EVER) BUT has the criteria to be at least considered a highly probable suspect, my call schedule (cadence) is going to be less urgent. An example might be calls on Day 1, 3, 5, 10 and 30. This is just an example to help you get your creative juices flowing in order to develop what works best for you and your sales team.
A warm lead can be classified as a hand raiser but not as hot as a proposal request. One option is to give them a call on day 1, 2, 4 and 6 (again, just an example).
If a hot lead comes in (form is filled out on website requesting info / proposal request etc.) I’m going to be all over that lead, calling more than once in the same day for sure. At minimum, I’m calling them twice in one day leaving a voicemail + plus email each time. (You will need to know exactly what to say to increase your call backs – simply saying “I’m following up regarding your request” isn’t going to create the urgency you need in most cases to get them to stop what they are doing to call you back.) So if I call twice and get voicemail twice, I will leave a message and send an email each time. If I call a third time in the same day but get voicemail, I’ll hang up. Sometimes I will also ASK for the gatekeeper for their help in getting ahold of the prospect.
If I don’t hear back after day one, I will try twice on day two and once on day three. If you don’t hear back from them by then, they may have found another solution already, had a hotter fire fall in their lap, or had to go into the witness protection program. I will often EMAIL them asking which of those three options happened to them and I usually get a response back.
PS … I like to also have specific emails that go out the day after I call them for the first time as well as after I’ve called them the second time. So if I know that I am calling a lead on Day 1 and Day 3 and skipping a call on Day 2, I have it set to send them an email on Day 2. It reminds them of the voicemail/email I sent them the day before and I often get a response or an appointment set from my Day 2 emails.
I use the phrase “Day 2” just to make the article as easy as possible to follow however, internally, we don’t use Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 terminology because there are always instances where calling or emailing someone the day after won’t make sense. An example would be where you call a prospect for the first time, get voicemail, leave a message and then send an email, only to get an automated VACATION ALERT auto reply from the prospect. It makes no sense to still schedule a “DAY 2” email if you now know they are out of the office till next week. Therefore, we use 1st Attempt, 2ndAttempt, 3rd Attempt, etc. Hope this helps.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone helps inside sales teams conquer call reluctance by teaching them a step-by-step call process. Michael Pedone’s blueprint for success helps inside sales reps to set more appointments and how to close them. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – an online sales training company.
Many agents that are speaking with seniors about their Medicare options often encounter seniors who say they are on “TRICARE For Life”.
Having answered this question for hundreds of agents who haven't searched it on their own, I want to openly let you know that they are NOT candidates for Medicare Supplement plans. TRICARE For Life is a comprehensive, Medicare wrap around product like a Medicare Supplement plan. No further coverage for them is needed.
Please see the video.
Now this is different from someone getting VA benefits. Those folks most often do purchase a Medicare Supplement because they wish to use private facilities and most often cannot when their only option is the VA hospital or clinic near them.
A video that was supposed to be private feedback between Chris Westfall and one of his telemarketers in the Phillipines was accidently left PUBLIC on Youtube. It now has over 1,000 views and has some good tactical information for all telemarketers. In this video, there is an example, from Chris' telemarketer, revealing the “pause of death”, where 95% of folks were hanging up on the call as a direct result.
Once this pausing was corrected, the results took a dramatic turn and the campaign was successful.
The information in the video is repeated quite a few times, but there is some good information at the end, too, about the inquisitive, non-confident way in which each sentence was ending, by the telemarketer. Each statement sounded like a question, leading the prospect to believe that the telemarketer was 1) unqualified 2) not confident and 3) scared out of her mind.
Here's the video:
For more specific information on hiring a telemarketer, outsourcing and more, see this link from MedicareAgentTraining.com (Non-Members won't see results.)
Over the 4th of July weekend, I received an e-mail offering a comparison of all of the Medicare Supplement rates in my area for ONLY $49! This was such a deal because their usual cost is $99 for an unbiased quote of all Medicare Supplement plans in my area.
What a deal, right?
Wrong. I'm often asked by potential clients what my service costs.. for me to look up the rates and also provide them the background on the companies listed in the results. Very happily, I tell them that our service costs them nothing, as it is included in the cost of the premiums, whether they went direct to the carrier OR used the service of an experienced agent. No extra cost!
I did a video about my reaction, and show the e-mail from the company offering the $49 Medicare Supplement quote.
Personal observation in my neighborhood about positioning and the insurance professional.
If you are considering local marketing, please use the methods described in this post. The results are much better and the positioning makes you out as the expert you are.
Leaving flyers, door to door, for insurance leads is not only a tough way to go, but doing this yourself means you have nothing better to do and leaves you in a very bad position in the mind of your prospect. There is a way to do it where you can introduce yourself, show what you have to offer (much better than a corporate brochure) and have others deliver these packets much more efficiently FOR YOU.
It is ALWAYS better when you develop your own leads for insurance sales. Rather than relying on lead vendors, who very often rip off the unsuspecting agent, when you learn to create your own leads you can control the quality, the quantity of leads, and your costs along the way.
Many of my clients are now finding my agency from the online world. It is getting to be essential to have a presence online that is credible, persuasive, and looks professional.
This is the neatest thing I've seen in a very long time. It makes the nicest looking pages I've ever seen, but adds animation and lots more, if you want it.
Here, I show a couple of demo sites that I created in 10 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.
You can check out this awesome software and see more comprehensive demonstrations here: MedicareAgentTraining.com/profitbuilder The question will naturally be “Can you make members one of these cool web sites?”
The answer is no, not at this time. With my schedule, it's just impossible, and with this super easy tool, it is too easy for anyone who wants a great looking site, to build it in minutes. Learning how to directly control your internet presence is essential, and becoming more so each and every day.
One major carrier that entered the Medicare Supplement market last year initially had a very strict clause in their contract that they almost-immediately removed due to agent backlash. It said an agent could not, under any circumstances, replace one of their policies for at least two years.
There is also a major agency out there that recruits with a “free leads” model for Medicare Supplements that says that the owner specifically prohibits you to contact your clients that you've written, after you've written them.
He says in his agent contract that he believes it's in their best interest to be “left alone” and not bothered again by the agent.
“If they don't call you, leave them alone and they will stay.“
I'm often asked, “WHEN is the best time to ask your client, or potential client, about other products that they may be interested in?”
Yes, there are plenty of things that your clients may eventually want to purchase, but the best thing to do is to first make them a client, preferrably by saving them money. Then, and only then, talk about cross selling other products to your Medicare Supplement client.
This was covered in depth for our members in this webinar, where not only are the benefits shown, but the salesmanship to go along with it are explored. The only company in the market paying commissions on the Part B deductible is New Era (and sister company Philadelphia American). This means, with the other companies, you are not getting paid commission on the deductible, anyway.
In my opinion, it is far better to separate yourself from the competition by saving your client the most money today, and at renewal time, by strongly recommending Plan G.
Remember, though, that many seniors just won't get it. Some are not capable of understanding the numbers and just want the convenience of Plan F. Don't be discouraged when you encounter this. They just don't want to be bothered. In the end, the customer is always right, and I'm happy to sell them what they are looking for.
Last night I was out with my wife and saw, on a restaurant's TV, a commercial playing on the ESPN channel.
The commercial was for SelectQuote Senior – their new senior division, selling Medicare Supplements to seniors.
Upon reviewing their site, they have a very limited, and somewhat outdated, list of carriers that they represent in the Medicare Supplement market. For instance, they're still selling Gerber Life and GPM Life's Medicare Supplement plans, neither of which are competitive anymore.
The fact that such a large company is entering the Medicare Supplement marketplace reinforces that this is definitely the place to be! The recent report by CSG Actuarial said that the outlook for 2014 and beyond for the Medicare Supplement market is very good.
Proving once again, selling Medicare Supplements by phone CAN be done!
Here is the commercial I saw:
Update since the post: Comment from Paul in KC: __________________________________ On Sun, Feb 2 at 11:35 AM , Paul wrote:
Chris – based in Kansas City. Actually within a mile of my house. Select have been doing Med Supps for a few years now but still growing like crazy.
Another company, coincidently right across the street is Spring Venture Group. Started in Med Supp just a couple years ago with the two founders. They go by the name of United Medicare Advisers. The majority of the leads generated is with their own website and google Adwords etc. I was offered a job anytime but turned it down because I'm building my own empire and not somebody else's. 😉 Anyhow these guys now have over 100 folks manning the phones six days a week. They have been so successful that they started their own life insurance company. Generations Life I believe. They were also offered 1.5 million in tax credits to take the business over the state line into Kansas. (Yuck, we hate Kansas)
Moral of the story…. There is so much business in senior products everyone on your site should be setting a Million dollar a year income goal and if they stick with it they will meet that goal. So what if it takes ten or fifteen years. Just do it I say. Sent from my iPhone 4S ____________________________________