DRAMATIC CHANGES THAT REINFORCE TIMELESS PRINCIPLES
Glen and Mike discuss the 2021 AEP (Annual Open Enrollment Period) and what changes have been forced upon Medicare Advantage and the industry as a whole by the pandemic. Mike shares several important ideas about how to stay on top of marketing involving Facebook, as well as local community involvement. He also expounds on how an agent’s responsibility to clients defines the right coverage questions to ask.
Interview with: Mike Gattorna, Medicare Café
Glen: Mike, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think this AEP coming up will look like for Medicare agents. Obviously, with everything going on, they’ve made some rule changes. Specifically, Medicare Advantage can now be sold over the phone at home. Before, it had to be done in a lockdown call center environment.
Mike: We have the usual certification, and getting suppliers ready, getting your marketing ready. But it’s hard to get all that in the queue when you’re like, “Am I even going to be able to see my clients?” We almost have to have two plans in place: the worst-case scenario and best-case scenario. Now is the time to get into those e-apps and practice because that may be your only method of selling this AEP.
Glen: I’d say a lot of seniors out there probably aren’t going to want to talk to you face-to-face, even if it is completely safe. So, I do think telesales, getting familiar with it now, is definitely the right thing to do for sure. What do you think of that process?
Mike: One, brush up on your phone skills. I would definitely have a telemarketer, too, as a backup and get them ready to go. Also, reach out to your carrier reps or your upline and say, “Here’s what’s in my portfolio. What can I use, and how can I use it right now?” You’re not on your own here. Definitely, just involve other people who have more experience doing it. We always tell our clients to use a professional agent when making these big decisions. Well, you’ve got to take your own advice. This is a big decision, and we need to involve other professionals.
Glen: I think preparation is key-getting a plan in place. The early bird definitely gets the worm here. Another thing that, Mike, you mentioned: a lot of times agents will come to us with specific questions about carriers or applications. I always tell them, “Talk to the carrier. They have support in place to help you.” Resources are available. Make sure to use them.
Mike: We’ve always said the success of your AEP is a direct reflection of your efforts and work ethic throughout the year because it’s just like a marathon. Right now, I would say, make sure your clients remember who you are because you’re going against multimillion-dollar campaigns. They’re going to see it on their social media. You’ve got lots of different people fighting for your client’s attention, and if you’re not part of that mix, you’re going to be easily forgotten. A lot of your clients are going to be on Facebook, whether they tell you or not. They’re going to see all this stuff, and you need to be relevant there. Make sure to remember that you are a presence in your community as a Medicare expert.
Glen: To also touch on what Mike was saying about seniors being on social media, the amount of growth that the senior market has had on social media and on Facebook over the past three years is massive. So, yes, you’d be crazy to not think that your prospects are going to see you on Facebook.
Mike: The better your content – meaning the more relevant it is to the community – the more people are going to look at it. Don’t just think, “How do I sell insurance?” Think, “How do I become a staple in my community for Medicare, and for just general peace and great contentment?” Then you’ll start to get shared. You’ll start to become known, and that’s how these influencers grow. Then the last thing, of course, with that is consistency. You need to post at least three to five times a week, bare minimum.
Glen: Like Mike just said there, if someone has seen your name or seen your brand 10 to 20 times, they are significantly more likely to buy from you. The trust factor is just there. So I think that’s a great idea going into 2021.
Mike: When it comes to a local community, I can’t stress enough that even if you’re selling over the phone primarily, to become a local icon for Medicare, you’re going to open a lot of doors. People that work with seniors at different levels, such as financial planners, and real estate agents, and CPAs, are all going to start to know your name.
Glen: Mike, I appreciate your time. What’s the best way that someone could find you if they wanted to chat with you?
Mike: Go to sms-university.com. That’s our university site. Or smsteam.net is our main site, and you click on “training.” There’s a menu for Medicare Café. You can find us on Facebook.