A question was recently asked, “Should I get an office or work from home as I'm starting to grow and it's obvious I need admin help already?”
I was still a one-man show when I rented my first EXPENSIVE office in a Regus complex in Lake Mary, FL. It was an investment in appearance for the clients, which never once came because I sold over the phone, and an investment in accountability of having somewhere to SHOW UP every day. This was the key for me.
When I started working with someone else, knowing that they were going to show up, so I had to show up, created a very productive environment for both of us. I would swear to you that business really began taking off as a result of that simple move. It was great to be around other productive people that were showing up every day to work.
I know you don't have this problem and laziness/accountability are not factors in what you're asking, but if you're ever going to grow to 5 or 10 employees or 100 if you so desire, it is going to happen sometime, anyway, and I would argue that it is best to build it before you need it. Create the envelope bigger than you need and then you will find a way to fill it.
Now looking to move offices for the third time due to growth, I know that if I had not stepped out in faith to get outside of my home office, I would never have been where I am today. Why? Because it was comfortable; it was TOO comfortable to work from home. Yes, it's cool to be running my own company, but I knew early on that I could not grow enough on my own.
Having a remote admin assistant did not work for me. When I had someone working next to me, who heard everything, then started repeating the answers I gave to the people they were then talking to, it created a synergy that has now replicated over and over again.
In my office now, someone will say something that's a great answer and then the others will start repeating it and a best practice is born. That cannot happen with remote folks. – my two cents. –cw
Having been asked to listen to recordings of hundreds and hundreds of agents getting started in selling by phone, one common theme has held many back.
Brett Kitchen, in this video below, talks about this problem when selling over the phone and how to address it. I call it “practice it until you perfect it.” Others call it, “Fake it 'til you make it.” Either way, you have to be aware of the potential to sound TOO interested in the sale outcome and you have to know what effect it has on people.
Brett's group sells IUL (indexed universal life) products by phone to high-income individuals using radio ads.
No matter what you're selling over the phone, this issue can be a problem! They can hear desperation through the phone!
And remember what Mike Brooks says in the Top 20% Webinar series (at the bottom of this page), “A bad lead never gets better.” Move on from angry, disgruntled, difficult people!
Instead of a case that would pay $269.69, this video shows how the commission, first year, is $1,067.70 because CJ asked told of the availability of the cancer plan. He asked about heart attack/stroke coverage, and he asked about life coverage.
This sweet lady was used to paying $700 per month for her employer plan that had restrictions, networks, and co-pays. Now, she has a MUCH better plan (Plan G), lump sum coverage for Cancer, Heart Attack or Stroke, AND permanent Life Insurance coverage locked in now at the age of 64.
The is in a much better position, fully covered, and happy with her new security and price.
See the video:
Perfect example of a great cross sell.
CIGNA's electronic application makes this point and click easy without having to re-enter the client's information again in multiple applications.
Decades ago, companies like McDonald's learned that if you merely asked, “Would you like fries with that?” that a significant amount of people WOULD. Their profit is all in the extras..just like the movie theaters. They make nothing on the ticket sales. It is all on concessions.
This is good coverage, provides peace of mind, and because of a process like this, helps the agent to make additional income by taking care of clients in a meaningful way.
The first week of May, Chris and the other top 150 or so Aetna agents, and their guests, were in Iceland for the production award from 2015. Many on this trip, including Chris and his wife, Nicole, had just returned back to the states from Rome with the Mutual of Omaha trip just less than two weeks prior. It was a quick turnaround for another out-of-the-country adventure.
The weather was cold, mostly due just to the incredible wind in Iceland, but the camaraderie forged between new friends made the trip a priceless gift. Sharing ideas and various business practices with the folks there just proved, once again, that it all works.
Just like the Rome trip, Chris met with many agents and discovered that what they were doing was working just as well. Whether it is direct mail, a phone room setting appointments, or agents dialing for their own leads on a predictive dialer, it is all working. Some were there because they do seminars. Some just get lead lists of T65 folks and go “door knocking”. Still others hire in-house telemarketers to find interested folks. It all works. That was the biggest point.
While on this trip, Chris was greeted about around 10 agents throughout the week that came up to introduce themselves. They were members of MedicareAgentTraining.com and had found the site valuable in their business. This was very humbling and had continued from the week prior, at the National Medicare Supplement Conference in Kansas City, where this happened approximately 50 times. It was great for Chris to be able to meet members and others from the Medicare community who he might have only seen online as their black and white username!
One of those that came up to Chris in Iceland was 20 year old Bridge.
Bridge sets his own appointments, using the predictive dialer. As one of the winners of the Aetna trip, he is obviously doing very well in the business. He sat down with Chris and talked about this, and how he just got his 19 year old cousin to get into the business with him recently. His cousin, who just turned 20 now, sold six policies this week on his own, the week that Bridge was in Iceland with Chris and the Aetna crew.
See Bridge tell the story:
This is a quick video Chris did about Iceland that relates to the Medicare field:
Photos Chris and Nicole took on the 2016 AETNA trip to Iceland:
We owe it to our prospective clients to know what we are talking about.
When a prospect asks you about a particular company, and you don't know anything about that company, SEARCH IT.
I have been asked, in the last six months, to represent and promote two companies that a simple Google search reveals have HORRIBLE financial histories that are out there for the public to see.
If you think that your newly signed client will not be searching Google for the name of the company that will hold their financial future in their hands, you're mistaken. They will do the searching, even if you won't.
So, do your “due diligence” and search for the company history and see what your clients will see when you are confronted with a question about a company or considering representing one.
This morning's support ticket was an agent asking why I do not offer Shenandoah Life.
This was part of my reply: “ There is no way in the world I would put someone with a company that has such a history.
A simple Google search, which you should have done and your clients WILL DO will usually solve these. You should research any company that your prospects mention
West Virginia has always had a law that prohibits agents/companies from writing Medicare Supplements more than 30 days from the effective date. This was a very strange restriction and quite bothersome for any agents working the Turning 65 “T65” market in West Virginia.
Well, it appears they're coming around.
In a notice just recently issued, West Virginia is becoming lenient on this issue, and the carriers are starting to respond by now allowing a case to be written 90 days in advance of the effective date.
(Note that in most states you can write 6 months in advance.)
So, applications can now be written up to 90 days in advance of the Medicare effective date. It's not clear when the various carriers will catch on to this, but now you have the document in case you need to send it to them!
Supporting our families by helping seniors with their Medicare plans!
This is a great business to be in! In this video, Chris shows his Monday morning mail, where he was notified by Aetna that he won a Holiday Helper Bonus from the last quarter of 2015. That bonus was $4,300! It was totally unexpected and just from doing the right thing by our clients. This bonus, and the trips, are only from personal production. None of Chris' sub-agent production counts toward the trips or the bonuses.. just his own business.
What a great career, where we are rewarded handsomely by helping people.
I don't know why it is, but I always seem to have my breakthrough thoughts – in the shower. Why is that? I've given up trying to figure that one out.
For years I've studied personal development and internet marketing. I am confident that doing both has resulted in my business success, which is a whole world away from 10 years ago when I was a sheriff's sergeant working 12 hour shifts and always having to live paycheck to paycheck.
What had to change was, me.
What I learned, by first identifying mentors and then changing HOW I processed the information that I saw in front of me, I could start to change the results in the time I spent working on my business.
It was not enough to merely focus on the cold calling, the follow up, the company's E-App, and Steps 1, 2, 3; I had to change how I saw my business in an effort to serve others and – very, very importantly, how I dealt with the challenges and frustrations that come with ANY business venture.
Last week, my agent training membership site hit 2,000 members at the site's 3 year anniversary.
In that time I have received countless success stories from agents saying that the site's information has changed their lives, provided freedom from a J.O.B. (just over broke) and put them on a path to financial freedom.
But, sadly, too, I have experienced the communication from agents who've said that they are giving up, did not achieve immediate successes and, without enough positive results to their satisfaction at that point, they're throwing in the towel. They went back to hourly jobs, working for someone else, because they could not make it work..not successful enough for their markers with the time they'd chosen to invest up to that point.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is not for a lack of information, companies available, training, or product education. It is because of an internal inability to process the negative experiences that are inevitable in business.
When the rejection comes, and it will, how do you process that?
When you successfully help a new client and they express how thankful they are that they met you, how do you internalize that event?
Hear me LOUDLY here.. Whichever one of those you CHOOSE to focus on will drive that future outcome and you will experience more of what you have chosen.
If you have two plants next to each other and water one, without watering the other – one will grow and one will slowly die. DUH, right?
The same, exact scenario unfolds in our business when we CHOOSE to focus on what just happened with the 80/20 rejection that is inevitable in any business.
A focus on the negative result WITHOUT a celebration and internal reward on the GOOD result causes more of the negative outcome. You will, always, experience more rejection than success in any business. Are your expectations balanced to adjust for that? You must compensate for this inequity by making a HUGE focus on the gains and putting those front and center in your mind when you decide each morning -“What am I thankful for??”
This behavior is a choice. It is not natural. It is focusing on the seed, which grows, rather than the storm that it finds itself in. It takes a conscious decision, each and every day as to how you are going to start it.
Call centers that I have consulted for often have a big, huge bell in the middle of the room where all of the callers are working. When a worker there makes a sale and writes an application, they get up, walk over, and RING THAT BELL.
Why do they to this? Because it is proven that rewarding the great result, while choosing to accept the NATURAL negatives that happen along the way is the best path to long term success. Keeping one's head down, following a proven system, and working UNTIL the success is evident to everyone around you IS the secret.
When they are rejected, or when a client decides to take his or her business to someone else, do they go around the room and spread the rejection? NO. Why?
So, back to this morning – in the shower I suddenly realized that the personal development skills I have made into habits line up perfectly with the online marketing I've been doing, with the A/B Split Test.
Given the feedback of the day/week/year, which direction are you going to go?
Please watch this short video. I hope you are encouraged and I hope you make the choice to guard your thoughts and guard your emotions.
You are in solid control of where you choose to go in your own head.
This is no trivial thing. The best system in the world will not work if your QUIT/DON'T QUIT threshold is set too high and focused only on the losses along the way.
My wish for you is continued success and continual breakthroughs. For you, it should not be a wish, though, it should be a plan that you work until it happens.
The system works, absolutely.
The question is, will you stay around long enough for it to materialize in your life.
I think about you (members) daily and want you to succeed.
Equitable LifeMedicare Supplement announced that their 7% household discount in the State of Illinois has been discontinued, following regulatory intervention from the state.
Equitable's unique household discount required only one member to be signed with Equitable's Medicare Supplement and, if they lived with anyone in the house over the age of 30 (but not more than 5 people in the residence) they qualified for their 7% “household” discount.
Other companies that have “household” discounts, such as Mutual of Omaha, have been unable (as of yet) to get theirs approved in Illinois. Mutual of Omaha and Aetna both have spouse discounts that require both to be covered for a discount to apply.
In other states, however, Mutual of Omaha is rolling out a 12% household discount if the covered member lives in a home with anyone over the age of 60.
In it unknown whether Equitable's household discount will be replaced with a spouse discount, requiring both policy holders to own Equitable's policy in order to qualify for a discount.
When Chris Westfall mails policies to clients (which is required in certain states like LA, WV), he does so in a “priority express” envelope that gets special treatment/perception by the client, but costs no more than first-class postage. These envelopes do not require Priority or Express postage – mere first class stamps!
Both Chris Westfall and his 21 year old son, CJ, will be speaking at the 2016 Medicare Supplement Conference in Kansas City Missouri in April.
CJ, who has had his license for less than one year, will be talking from the stage on what he learned that helped him to write over 300 polices to seniors during his first year.
Topics CJ will Discuss: What kind of obstacles did he have to overcome? How did he learn to communicate effectively to seniors 50+ years older than he is?
Chris (Sr.) will be giving an 18 minute talk on the importance of developing social media avenues to generate incoming leads. Chris' agency only takes incoming calls now, all from free social media platforms that he has studied intensively and he will share some of those discoveries with the conference attendees.
The first day of the conference, Monday April 25, is free. The rest of the conference (Tuesday and Wednesday) are not free but are packed with information that agents can use. Chris will be attending the whole conference and will be reporting back to the members of Medicare Agent Training.com.
Here are some ideas for those times when you hear, “Thanks for the information, I want to think it over and I'll get back to you.”:
Objection: “I want to think it over”
“I understand. Just out of curiosity:
“Do you understand that the benefits are exactly the same, just a better cost now, right?” • “And do you understand what we mean when we say, nothing changes in your doctor, hospital, and options here, don’t you?” • “Then while we’re on the phone together, what other questions do you have?”
“Then just to clarify my thinking, what part of this do you need to think over?
“Are you going to be thinking over the better Medicare Supplement costs we spoke about today, or about whether or not this solution is the right fit for you?”
“I know I’ve given you a lot to think about today, do you mind me asking what part of this you’d like to think over?”
“I understand, and I’m sure you’ve got other options to consider…do you mind if I ask how we’re stacking up to what you’re also looking at?”
“__________, it sounds like you’re probably considering other options as well – do you mind if I ask who else you’re looking into?”
“And how do we stack up compared to them?”
“__________, besides yourself, who else would be weighing in on this?”
“I totally understand; many people I speak with want to consider all their options before making a decision. Tell me, who else is in the running for this?”
“That’s no problem. Level with me, if you would, what would be holding you back from saying yes right now?”
“And is this even a realistic option for you?”
“And as you think about it right now, what would be the major reason for not moving forward with it?”
“I understand – not everyone I speak with is ready to move forward with it right away. Quick question:
“What would you need to see here for you to say yes to the savings/best plan you qualify for?”
This is a public video that Chris Westfall put out about the latest with the AT&T use of AON for retiree Medicare benefits. For members, see the full coverage of the opportunity to help AT&T retirees, including necessary documents and reimbursement procedures by going to this link.
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.
The recent report by the Medicare trustees is currently being evaluated by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who is expected to make a final decision October 2015 to impact Medicare beneficiaries in 2016.
The trustees recommend increasing Part B premiums charged to seniors monthly some 52% starting in January 2016. This would mean going from $104.90 to $159.30. The report states that this would impact 30% of all Medicare beneficiaries and would be again tied to their income, targeting those with incomes over $85,000.
The other, more impactful recommendation is a change to the Part B deductible to $223 instead of the current $147. This would impact ALL Medicare beneficiaries and is sure to cause outrage by the senior lobbyists on K street. There will be much pushback to such an increase.
CSG Actuarial is analyzing the impact on carriers and on seniors with Plan F and Plan G. The initial analysis is that the Plan F rates will, after accommodating for the higher built-in cost in the premiums of Plan F which will absorb the new Part B deductible, need to increase 4% due to more claims. Plan G, however, would see less claims and actually justify a rate reduction. How carriers would choose to implement the change is still up in the air.
We will continue to monitor this recommendation's impact on seniors and whether or not it will be adopted.
As I write this on Independence Day, I am so profoundly thankful of the opportunity that I have been afforded to be able to create an income and a lifestyle rarely experienced in our world, all through the act of service. As I look back over the past 8 years of focus on the Medicare insurance niche, I recall the hundreds of insurance agents who wanted to catch a ride down this path, but gave up far too soon to realize a return of their, if any, effort.
This morning, I turned on the TV to see a former Navy Seal singing a country music song on Fox & Friends and, when asked what makes him proud of America on this 4th of July, he said that he wants to thank the small business owners of America for putting their freedom into action. That made me proud.. to think that here we are, building a business by tuly helping other Americans. See the clip:
And just to think, that so many have quit this race before they even got over that first hill!
As I saw Gary Vaynerchuk say today, so many people in today's culture expect immediate gratification and immediate results that, when they don't get it, 95% will leave their business before getting the desired result.
This is a fascinating clip that I encourage you, highly, to watch:
So, my message this Independence Day is that freedom, even to be your own boss, isn't free. It takes much more time and energy than some have patience for. But the reward is definitely, absolutely worth it.
We are able to build a tremendous residual income over time that gets easier the longer we stick with it. We start building momentum, referrals, and diversified marketing methods with time and experience until we get to the point where the phone is just near-constantly ringing with folks that need our help. Yes, it is worth it!
So, Happy Independence Day, and I'm very proud to be associated with all of the other business owners in their pursuit of the American dream – helping our fellow citizens and enjoying the freedom that comes with business ownership!