It’s surprising how much can distract you or take you away from your appointment time during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. That’s why you need to be prepared for anything, especially if you want high commission payouts in January. Here’s my list of practical advice that will help you plan wisely.
- The first you’ll want to do is check your attitude. You don’t want to pre-judge a Medicare member by the condition of their house or their appearance — these things don’t always give you the right reading of who a person is. Track how many times you feel like you’re dismissing a sales opportunity because you’re being judgmental. Then work to fix your attitude.
- Next, view yourself as a trusted senior insurance adviser, not a sales person. You’re there to help the member with his or her health needs, even if a sale doesn’t happen. Ironically, this attitude will help you close a sale more often because it helps show members you’re the real deal.
- Being respectful and trustworthy are going to put you light-years ahead of other agents who slam a product down and walk out of the door, never to be heard from again. If you incorporate these virtues into your sales practices, you’re more likely to create repeat business and referrals in the long term. I’ve never understood why more agents don’t see this is what makes their book of business robust and lasting.
- Now that you’ve taken care of your mind, most of my practical advice deals with your car. Logistical issues can reduce the amount of appointments you run like no other. You’ll need to keep a set of jumper cables and basic tools in your car, even if you’re not travelling across the state or selling in more than one state. It’ll cost you a day of appointments if your battery dies. When I was in the field I also kept an air pump and tire plugs in my car so I could keep moving if I drove over a nail or something. I’d just throw a blanket on the ground and take care of it with a pair of pliers. If you’re travelling long distances or between states, keep a rental car company in mind if you don’t think your car can hold up for any part of the nine-week sales season. Consider it a wise investment.
- I always make sure I knew where I’m going each day by planning my routes the night before. I never totally rely on a GPS because it can stop working. I recommend having a separate GPS that is not on your smart phone because, because let’s face it, most of us are on calls while driving. Don’t drain the battery or crash your apps with navigation. Keep the phone navigation as your backup.
- Keep at least one packet or brochure for each of the products you sell in the car just in case something comes up in an appointment that gives you the opportunity to legally cross-sell. Don’t scatter them on the floor in the back seat — keep them in a bankers box or in an easy to carry portfolio.
- I always keep a complete change of clothes in my trunk when I run appointments, too. Not just a fresh shirt, but pants, socks, everything. You never know if you’re going to spill something or sit on something unfortunate like a sofa cushion freshly sprayed with cat pee. Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience.
- Looks matter, but don’t overdress. Most beneficiaries felt at ease with me when I was wearing a simple polo or golf shirt and a pair of slacks or khakis. Ladies, a simple skirt works just as good as pants, but there’s no need to dress formally. Make sure you’re comfortable because you’ll be out all day.
- My last word of advice is to plan your meals. Eat a good breakfast before your set out each morning, and keep a few protein or meal replacement bars with you — I avoid the chocolate ones because they melt. Stay hydrated. You can always stop for lunch somewhere, but remember that has a time and a financial cost against your AEP earnings. Eat a good dinner even though you’ll be home late. Oh, and lay off the garlic bread or anything that could make your breath an issue.
You don’t realize what dropping an hour here or there can do to your bottom line when you’re in the trenches, but I hope I’ve enlightened you here. Make a plan that works for you, work your plan and you’ll be able make at least one more appointment a day. That will pay off big time over a month. Above all, be prepared for anything that this AEP has to throw at you.
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