A recent post Chris made on the insurance forums:
“I really can't recall reading anyone who just started from day 1 selling 3-5 med sups a week yr round? It just seems med sups are part time selling for 3-5 yrs till it builds up and you're making $100k plus a yr”
When I started selling Medicare Supplements by phone, I was using direct mail from Mainstreet Powermail and relied heavily on their experience with historical response rates to guide where I would do the mailings. As I could mail anywhere in any state, I asked their rep for guidance as to the absolute best state response rates in the country and then in that best state. Believe it or not, I was getting 4 to 6% response rates in Michigan at the time.
I was writing 3 to 5 deals a week and only working Med Supps two days a week in the early days. I then continued to mail, fill the pipeline, and moved eventually to doing it five days a week, away from a mix of doing local final expense sales in person. Making that transition was a balancing act, because the final expense sales paid more, up front, but I knew from the residual income aspect that it was a better, long term play to get into the Medicare Supplements.
When the direct mail returns started to go down and we had two postage rate increases close to each other, I turned to telemarketing. I paid a local guy to do my calling and he would gauge interest and then build me up to the potential client on the phone, setting an appointment for me to go over their options based on how much they would save by switching to a new carrier on the same plan. This, too, worked very consistently.
Fast forward six years later and the phone rings all week from referrals now.
I write three to eight deals every week from referrals, spouses of clients, or posts I've put on the internet that are discovered by those shopping.
It is nice not having to do outbound marketing. This is something that I was told, early on, would happen but was hard to believe when it felt like it was so hard to get any traction in the business.
“It just seems med sups are part time selling for 3-5 yrs till it builds up and you're making $100k plus a yr”
You can do it part-time and get there slower, for sure. I know many agents who started selling Medicare Supplements at night after their full-time jobs. I started part-time doing it just two days per week but set those entire days aside to concentrate on this aspect of my business before going full-time.
If I had it to do over again, I would have done it the exact same way. I probably worked 30 hours in those two days, early on. I know for a fact that it greatly depends on how hungry you are. I see, day in and day out, agents who rely on their spouse's income to support their family and they treat their business as a part-time hobby. That won't cut it. Those in that scenario do not have the fortitude to weather the rejection and stay long enough to enjoy the income.
On the other hand, I see agents who commit to cutting their safety net and it is sink or swim. They swim. Their commitment level is do or die and that makes all of the difference in their mindset to working the hours necessary and doing whatever it takes to make enough presentations.
Whichever direction you choose to go in, I strongly suggest investing in help with the prospecting, then the prospecting and pre-screening as soon as you can afford to do so. There is no greater time waster than spending YOUR valuable, limited and precious time with those that are uninterested. Even worse is spending 95% of your time with those that are uninterested and even if they were interested, unqualified to take action (due to health, qualification to buy a Med Supp, etc.).
I continue to find it extremely liberating to have someone on your schedule that understands what you do, knows the price of the best plan for them, knows that they will likely qualify based on the health questions OF that plan and knows exactly what their savings will be once they consummate that transaction with you.
This was my best lesson learned in this business:
From a forum post by Christopher Westfall
I started by doing final expense two days per week and Med Supps the other four (worked six days). Had a family of six to feed and failure was not an option.
This kept a very good income, while building my Medicare block at the same time.
Unfortunately, many people look at this as either a “Get Rich Quick” opportunity or a hobby. They expect to invest nothing, chase continual offers of “free leads”, etc. and cannot for a minute fathom putting money into their own business.
This is just like a franchise opportunity, except that there is a much smaller barrier to entry. You can start small and stay small, eventually quit like 80% do, or you can treat it like the business that it is and put money into it, expecting a result.
Unlike a franchise, you can be profitable and doing very well in this industry in under two years without mortgaging your entire future. That is, unless you've taken one of those “free leads” deals and sold your future renewals by way of a smaller contract on the back end.
As for ages, I have found the most success by fishing in the blue ocean. By that I mean that there is a red ocean, where all of the sharks are pouncing on, in this case, the Turning-65 senior. Everyone has the same plan and they're all tripping over each other to fight for the same, finite group of people.
Meanwhile, I'm in the blue ocean calling on people who have not heard from their agent in two, three, or more years. These people are frustrated with their rate increase and do not know where to turn. I don't have agents coming right behind me or competing for the same client in the same space.
So, I would encourage you to diversify your business to survive today and still build your Medicare supplement renewals at the same time. It is simple to do both, as neither are complicated.
As to the geography of being limited by plans, that is only in your mind. There are no geographical limitations to where you can sell medicare supplements.. so find a market where you can sell entirely by phone to an under-served market. On this site, you can learn how to sell medicare supplements by phone easily.
You can even get good at locating where the major player are announcing significant rate increases, and a new carrier is launching in that same state. I call that the perfect storm.
Lastly, do not give your insurance contract to someone that you know, up front, is not offering training.
Yes, you can pay to get training elsewhere, but that is the quid pro quo for having given your contract in the first place.
Best of luck… remember to treat it like the business it is.
It requires relentless persistence on your part, taking care of your clients continuously, and beginning with the end in mind.
You could find yourself five years from now with a very significant residual income and a constant flow of referrals to new clients.