Medicare: Avoiding a Sales Allegation

Tom O'Neil

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil has been in the Medicare industry since the 1970s!  Whether the topic is selling Dual Eligibles, or how to increase business cash flow, or simply the craziest Medicare Advantage home appointment he’s ever been on, he has a wealth of stories and enjoys sharing them. When he isn’t running appointments, writing for our blog, or planning his next sales, he enjoys spending time with his canine companion, Molly.

Pictured above: Tom’s sweet pup!

Medicare: Avoiding a Sales Allegation

In my last blog post I talked about the lengths I go to during lock-in for my clients.  During my summer calls to my clients I make sure everything is running smoothly with their coverage and if they’ve been having issues I make it a point to drive out and meet with my clients in-person.    Now I’d like to move on to a less pleasant subject; knowing when to cut ties with problem clients and protect your license.


A few weeks ago I had to answer an inquiry (called an allegation by most carriers) regarding an AEP enrollment in the Phoenix area.  I spent a ton of time doing pre-enrollment research for this lovely lady.  She is one of those HMO members who do not want an “expensive” Medicare Supplement but wants to have a full and unlimited universe of doctors and other providers.  I doubled down explaining the restrictions regarding provider access with HMO’s and checked all her docs.  She was well informed, intelligent and seemed satisfied with her change from one MAPD to another.

This was a carrier provided lead so I felt I had to make the extra effort to help this person.

Come April 27th the Carrier’s compliance “inquiry” hits my inbox.  I fully responded the next day and the finding is due shortly.  This is the first allegation sent my way in about eight years.  The customer service rep that generated the “inquiry” quoted the member as supposedly suggesting that I told her:

“All our local HMO’s are the same”, “The same providers are available on all the area plans”. Jeesh!
Avoid Allegation - protect wallet

Don’t put yourself in a position to lose your license.

The next time I speak with her my inner Donald Trump will come out: “You’re Fired”.  I of course will be a little nicer about it, but I will not be doing any future business with her.  Unfortunately, it is too dangerous in today’s compliance atmosphere to take chances with clients that might intentionally or accidentally generate an allegation.  This is another good reason to be on the phone with your client, when possible, during troublesome calls to carrier customer service. Your contract and renewals are on the line, and I don’t need to have a hit against my E&O!

While I’m griping let me touch on one other couple I had to fire last year:

A married couple in the Phoenix, AZ area that were referred to me by a wonderful and valued 15 year client of mine who is a regular referral generator.  After an hour in the house I absolutely knew I should leave some packets and just walk away.  Nope, they were referred to me by a friend so I soldiered on. In the future, when I get the “walk-away” chills running down my spine I will do just that.

I visited this couple 3 times before enrolling them and 3 more times after enrollment in the first four months on their plans, a record for me. The wife was feeling ill for years and wanted a plan where a doctor would listen to her.  Bingo, I got her on the perfect plan for her needs that was clinic based.  During her first visit to her PCP she was diagnosed with diabetes and placed on injectable insulin.  Her previous doc of some five years had never tested her.  The PCP on our new plan probably saved her life.  She seemed appreciative at the time.  Her husband was one of those angry guys who just could not be satisfied.  He was on about 15 meds and was a medical disaster.  I worked with him relentlessly.  My thanks?  He somehow got connected to his plan’s local sales manager in Phoenix and told him that I was “worthless” and could not fix anything for him!  Well, I had worked for that sales manager years earlier and we were still good friends.  He knew my work ethic and ability to resolve problems.  Hence, no allegation, but he suggested I fire the couple.  If this client had called the national customer service line to complain it would have been another “inquiry”.

Bottom Line: When you get those chills down your spine, save your license and your contract and protect your renewals.  WALK AWAY!

Whether it’s helping you avoid compliance pitfalls or providing you with AHIP reimbursements and discounts, RB Insurance Group is here to make your life in the Senior Insurance industry a breeze.  Call us today to get contracted and learn how to get your 2018 AHIP reimbursed! 1-800-997-3107.

Avoid Allegation - protect wallet
2 Simple Sales Tips
Dual Eligible New Plan Member Outreach
Sharing Stories Flying Tigers

Cross-Selling: Start with your Book of Business

Tom O'Neil

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil has been in the Medicare industry since the 1970s!  Whether the topic is selling Dual Eligibles, or how to increase business cash flow, or simply the craziest Medicare Advantage home appointment he’s ever been on, he has a wealth of stories and enjoys sharing them. When he isn’t running appointments, writing for our blog, or planning his next sales, he enjoys spending time with his canine companion, Molly.

Pictured above: Tom’s sweet pup!

Cross-Selling: Start with your Book of Business

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

I am going to speak to some commonly missed lock-in period cross-selling opportunities and other related musings.  Keep on the lookout for another article where I touch on problem clients and when to fire them!

As Medicare Advantage and PDP sales enter a bit of a slump this time of year, I go to my book of business.  It was a slower than usual AEP for me this year, I wrote about 30 new MAPD clients and rewrote about 12 with some Med Supps added in.  Due to some other nagging obligations, that was as much effort as I could muster.

What now? – Time to start calling your new clients from AEP!

Cross-selling your existing Book of Business

Call your new clients from the recent AEP.  By now, they have had about 4 ½ months to use their plans.  Ask them some open ended questions about how their plan is working for them and try to uncover any problems they may be having with their new coverage. Any problems they ARE having, like a hospital bill for example, is a perfect opportunity to bring up Hospital Indemnity insurance. Another crucial reason for following-up with your clients this time of year is to make sure you’re top of mind when AEP rolls around in October.

By all means, if they are having any issues, assist them where you can with any of their plan challenges.  If they feel they need help here is another suggestion: GO TO THEIR HOUSE!  My basic rule during lock-in period is to do a home visit if my client lives within about a 30 mile range.  I will even see them on Saturday. Efficient? Heck no, but it will generate more information and business if you meet face to face.  Maybe they will bring over their adult child or senior neighbor.  It is also better if you are on speaker phone with them if a call is needed to the customer service department.

Think of questions that can also easily generate referrals but also might indicate new needed coverage for your client such as:

  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Cancer Plan
  • Dental Insurance or Dental Discount Plan
  • Final Expense Life
  • Good-Rx Plan  for Non-Formulary Drugs or to lower some copays (not commissionable but it has led to some great business for me!  Using this great, FREE tool will be a subject of a blog in a couple of weeks.)

Believe me, activity begets more activity.  Take it from somebody who’s been in the Medicare industry since the 70’s; this works!

Curious to know the 5 questions I ask my clients that will get you more referrals AND cross-selling opportunities?  Give the RBI team a call today and learn how they can grow your Medicare business! 1-800-997-3107

Keep an eye out for an upcoming white-paper from Tom O’Neil!

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Senior Insurance Acronyms

2 Simple Sales Tips: Listen and Observe

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil has been in the Medicare industry since the 1970s!  Whether the topic is selling Dual Eligibles, or how to increase business cash flow, or simply the craziest Medicare Advantage home appointment he’s ever been on, he has a wealth of stories and enjoys sharing them. When he isn’t running appointments, writing for our blog, or planning his next sales, he enjoys spending time with his canine companion, Molly.

Pictured above: Tom’s sweet pup!

2 Simple Sales Tips:

Listen and Observe

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

This humble offering is directed at those brave souls who have decided recently to enter the rewarding and challenging Senior Insurance Market.

Let me preface this brief sales tip with a story:

Back in the 70’s I was lucky to score an Army school slot at Fort Rucker, Alabama, the home of Army Aviation.  The course of study was for those being awarded the designation of Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATC).  It was by no means a slam dunk.  About 25% of my enlisted classmates washed out during initial academic testing, live tower operations or by failing the FAA final exam. 25% was an unusually high failure rate for an Army school.  We all had to pass the same FAA ATC test taken by civil service controllers as well as completing the military portion of the training.  Almost all the soldiers had at least one or two years of college and a few were degreed.  The Army had only recently reclaimed the ATC training program from the Air Force ATC school at Lackland AFB.  To say the least, the Army was going through some growing pains getting things up and running.

Moving on to the sales tie-in:

Redstone Airfield Air Traffic Control Tower

This tower, at Redstone Field, is identical to the training tower I was assigned to, while at Ft. Rucker. — Tom O’Neil

In the initial academic training my scores and evaluations were excellent.  The staff awarded me and one other student a special “honor graduate” designation for stage one of training.  I was assigned to a cramped training tower with another soldier where we worked with American student pilots.  It was a very busy airfield from dawn to dusk.  We were both doing great as student controllers until the pilots from South Korea came in for my last week of live training.  The Koreans, speaking English, were hard for me to understand.  I was starting to panic and lose some confidence.  If I didn’t pass this final portion of my training I would be off to Jeep mechanic school!  My training partner, another “PFC,” was doing great with the Korean flyers.

When I asked my buddy how he was excelling he gave me some great advice: “Don’t just listen to them, look at the aircraft to see what they are doing.  By observation determine exactly where they are coming in from and anticipate in advance what they are doing and it will be easy to understand what they are transmitting and requesting.  They are all flying the same damn patterns!”  Wow.  By the next afternoon I was as comfortable as a minnow in a mountain stream.  We both graduated and went on to our unit assignments.  My old ATC buddy now runs a chain of pizza places back East.

The 2 simple sales tips: listen and observe

Our senior clients are “all flying the same damn patterns” as my buddy noted about the Korean pilots.  They have different starting points, may want a different runway, need to refuel, or might even have what they consider an emergency.  By listening and observing (body language, medical devices, meds) before we start the sales process we can identify where they’ve been and where they want to go.  As independent agents we can offer them a lot of different options (runways?) and add-ons.  Let them transmit what they want before YOU decide where to send them.  They always transmit the info, we just have to listen, observe, communicate, and then “control.”


For access to the RBI library of great sales training and industry expertise, call 1-800-997-3107 or click here to get contracted. We do things differently: see the RBI difference in action in your business today! 

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Dual Eligible New Plan Member Outreach

James Gramp

 RBI Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp

Pro Tip: If you can solve your client’s problems that have nothing to do with Insurance, you will be their hero.  It can even be as simple as remembering something that they have going on in their life and asking them about it.  I know an agent really went the extra mile from a conversation with one of their clients. The Dual Eligible member had mentioned that she wanted to get a bike for her son’s birthday that was coming up but couldn’t afford it.  The agent was able to find a local organization that gives bikes to under-privileged kids and the mother was able to get her son a bike, thanks to this agent’s work.  Treat Dual Eligible beneficiaries like human beings and not just a client and I promise you that you’ll see more business stay on the books.

Dual Eligible New Plan Member Outreach

RBI Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp

Are you tired of hearing about why you should be taking advantage of the great opportunity you have to sell Dual SNP’s year-round? No? Good, because I’m not done talking about it!  The biggest complaint I hear from agents that don’t want to bother with Dual Eligible beneficiaries is that DSNP members can change plans throughout the year, are harder to keep as clients, and agents eventually lose them much sooner than a regular MA client.  So what’s the secret to retaining your DSNP business?  Member outreach.

What does member outreach look like?

When dealing with your Dual Eligible clients, you need to be reaching out to them regularly. Make sure they know that you’re there for them when they have problems.  By following my new member outreach strategy, your clients will not only see you being proactive with their insurance, but you’ll solve problems before they even arise!

5 steps to great member outreach (with a timeline!)

Step 1: Thank you letters (Next day or end of the week)

The first thing I do after enrolling someone in a Dual Eligible plan (I do this for every client of mine, not just Dual beneficiaries) is to send them a thank-you card, showing your appreciation for being their healthcare agent.  To give it a more personal touch, I also like to include a picture of myself and hand sign the letter. Bonus points if you hand write the whole letter! (If you want to get some help on thank you letters, RBI works with print and fulfillment companies for huge agent discounts!)

Step 2: Call to follow-up (2 weeks after the appointment)

Two weeks after submitting the member’s application, give them a call and confirm that they got their member ID card.  It’s the perfect time to order a new member ID card from member services if they haven’t gotten it yet.  Just call member services with your client on the line.

Step 3: Ask how their coverage is going (30 days after receiving the member ID card)

After 30 days of their new coverage, remind your DSNP beneficiary of any outreach that carriers do for new members, like welcome calls or any Health Risk Assessments.  Ask if they’ve seen their Primary Care Physician yet. (Especially if they’re seeing a new doctor!)  Also confirm that they received any other materials related to plan benefits like OTC cards and catalogs.

Step 4: Help them contact doctors (2 months after enrollment)

Two months after enrolling them, if they still haven’t seen their doctor yet (when you asked them the previous month) then make sure and find any phone numbers they need to schedule a doctor visit.  Make sure your members understand how all of their extra benefits work and how to utilize them.

Step 5: Make yourself available like clockwork (every other month after first doctor visit)

After I’ve made sure my DSNP clients know exactly how their plan works and how to use it, I follow-up every other month just to make sure they’re not having any problems.

Your members will appreciate that you’re being proactive rather than waiting for a problem to come up with their insurance.  Keeping your DSNP clients (and all clients) on the books boils down to giving the best customer service possible. When you step up your member outreach and make sure your clients are utilizing the plans benefits to its fullest, you’re ensuring that your clients never need to seek out help from another agent.

Want more great Dual Eligible advice? Click here to see our webinar “Finding Dual Eligibles” and get started! Click here for a list of carriers in your area, or call RBI at 1-800-997-3107 to speak to our team! Let’s get YOUR Dual Eligible book of business activated today! 

Senior Insurance Acronyms
Dual Eligible New Plan Member Outreach
Reboot: Finding Dual Eligibles Roll-up

Sharing Stories: why I specialize in Medicare sales

Tom O'Neil's beloved puppy

Author’s Note: 

Occasionally, Charlie Ferrell the National Sales Manager at RBI/Medicare Compare asks me to whip up a blog post (read more here), often sharing stories about my years in the Medicare field.  I usually give a quick yes and just as quickly miss deadlines.  In this instance, I was challenged and intrigued when RBI Sales Coordinator Rebecca Howard suggested I write about my reasons for specializing for the last 20 years in the Medicare sales market.  At my advanced age and blessed with an overactive imagination, I thought I had self-queried on just about every subject!  But I had never really ruminated regarding my longevity in our strange and challenging business segment.  So last week, at Rebecca’s request, the introspection began!

Sharing Stories: Why I specialize in Medicare sales

Senior Agent Contributor: Tom O’Neil

My own history in Medicare

Although I had been licensed since college days in the late 70’s, it was in 1992 I reentered the insurance industry full time with FHP Healthcare in Tucson, AZ.  My job was in the appeals and grievance area due to my background with insurance and in regulatory legal areas as a former paralegal.  It was a great learning experience that led to a position with Intergroup of Arizona (later Health Net) working with the sales team and the senior programs VP.  There I worked with appeals as well as putting out the fires being regularly ignited by plan members and the state’s unfriendly press.  Finally, I moved into Medicare HMO sales in 1997 and have been there since.  Enough about me.

So why be a Senior Insurance Advisor?

Medicare Insurance product sales pays well for the hard working agent as do many vocations.  As an independent agent the hours are reasonable (except for AEP) and the work is interesting.  But as I now look back it wasn’t really the pay or the hours or the independence that kept me on the same path.  It was the people I have encountered.

My fellow agents, supervisors when I was an employee, mentors and support folks have on the whole been wonderful associates and were part of the satisfaction formula.  A lot of people took a chance on me and will I never fail to appreciate that fact.  But something was still missing while answering the question: why have I stayed in this market for so long?

Sharing Stories: The Flying Tigers

“A Chinese soldier guards a line of American P-40 fighter planes, painted with the shark-face emblem of the `Flying Tigers,’ at a flying field somewhere in China.” (NWDNS-208-AA-12X-21) National Archives Collection. Accessed 3/23/2017.

Early in my career, while still serving as a military reservist, I had occasion to run a preset appointment in a low income complex in south Scottsdale, AZ. The widow I met had only Medicare and a lot of medical bills.  Nobody had helped her get many of the benefits which she was entitled to receive.  I hooked her up with the top local HMO to reduce her costs and
got her started with what was then the Medicaid equivalent, as well as some transportation and utilities assistance.  I told her I would drop off some additional social services info on Saturday when I got off work.

Saturday came around, and I showed up to the appointment still in uniform from my reserve drill.  She said she was military “too” and took me into her kitchen and showed me a really old “Steve Canyon” comic strip from the Los Angeles Times.  It featured her late husband by name.  He had been a combat pilot with General Claire Chenault’s “Flying Tigers” in 1942 in China, fighting the Japanese Imperial Army.  She took some time to share about her husband, who had actually been awarded many medals with the U.S. Army Air Corps later in the war.  Sadly, he died shortly after the war.  As a military history buff, I was so thankful that she told me about her husband.  She was effusive in her thanks for my assisting her, but really she gave me the gift: a wonderful day.

People like that wonderful lady sharing stories have kept me in this business.

Answer: My clients

My Medicare clients can be lovely, aggravating, generous, timid, brilliant, deranged and all things found in the American fabric.  The one thing that they never are, is dull.  Each new client’s door I walk through takes me into another challenge.  Not to sell something, but to learn something.  It really seems I owe them more than I could ever pay back.  These folks have made me a better person while at the same time allowing me to pursue a career.

Do you have some great stories of why you’re an agent in the senior market? We’d love to hear them! Call us at 1-800-997-3107 or email us with yours! Interested in more about the Flying Tigers?  Read more here or here. Want to get contracted? Click here!

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New Agent

Daylight Saving Rebels: answers to your “burning” questions

James Gramp

James Gramp

Sales Coordinator

With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is the other half of the RBI phone answering dynamic duo! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for over a year, and has worked at RBI for 2 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

Daylight Saving Rebels:

Answers to your “burning” questions

Sales Coordinator/Independent Insurance Agent: James Gramp

Don’t forget: Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday!

In case you haven’t noticed it yet, we at RBI are full of weird-and-wonderful facts.  We also love puns.  This article is great because it combines both! That’s because Arizona (and a few other awesome places) are real Daylight Saving rebels…and RBI is here to answer your “burning” questions about Daylight Saving Time. (Yeah, that’s right, we went there.) So grab your sunscreen and strap in for a great ride!

Have you ever noticed on your smart phone that Arizona has its own time zone?

That’s because we’re rebels who don’t observe Daylight Saving time — and if you ask me, we could use less daylight, especially in the summertime when temperatures are routinely 110.  But let’s get serious for a minute. Why doesn’t Arizona conform to the rest of the country (minus Hawaii, who also doesn’t observe Daylight Saving time)?  I’m glad you asked!

Daylight Saving Rebels

Can you imagine a world where it’s 8:45 PM, it’s still 100+ degrees, and the sun is still up?

Can you imagine a world where it’s 8:45 PM, it’s still 100+ degrees, and the sun is still up? Why would Arizona participate in that horror?  The correct answer is a big “No!”

As a bit of history: The Uniform Time Act of 1966 is a United States federal law designed to make official the date when Daylight Saving Time takes effect.  However, the law does not require that all states observe Daylight Saving Time. In fact, since 1968, Arizona Legislature opted out of the Uniform Time Act, and we have been sticking it to the man ever since.  In a stunning act of bipartisanship in 1991 and 2014, State Republicans and Democrats unanimously rejected proposals to get in on the Daylight Saving train.

Rebelling against being Daylight Saving Rebels

There is a local exception from being an exception to the Daylight Saving Time rule though (because Inception is actually a real-life-Arizona-thing).  The Navajo Reservation DOES observe Daylight Saving Time, which is especially interesting because it surrounds the Hopi Reservation which does NOT.  To make it even more confusing, there is an even smaller Navajo territory inside the Hopi Reservation that’s inside the larger Navajo reservation.  Check out this map of the reservations in AZ to see what I’m talking about. Hint: Look at the NE corner of AZ.

Other Daylight Saving Trivia

Fun Fact #1: China, which spans 5 time zones, only recognizes one time zone: Beijing time.  Those lucky enough to live in the far west get to enjoy midnight sunsets.

Fun Fact #2: Those of you who say “Daylight Savings Time” are actually saying it incorrectly.  The correct way to say it is “Daylight Saving Time,” with no “s” at the end.  Shout out to the grammar police! (You know who you are!)

If you’d like more information about the history of Daylight Saving Time, check out these great articles from the AZ Republic and CNN.

And there you have it, folks! Now you can wow your friends with your “timely” knowledge! Another great way to wow your friends is to show off your extensive carrier portfolio! Pick up more contracts by clicking here and don’t forget about our great training opportunities! Call 1-800-997-3107 to speak to our great team! We love hearing from YOU! 

Senior Insurance Acronyms
Avoid Allegation - protect wallet
Unlock Your Best AEP Yet

Referrals that Empower: 3 paths to timely results

Our RBI team includes licensed life and health agents with a combined 50+ years of experience in the field.  As you can imagine, they know how to get referrals that empower not just their business, but also their own personal growth as agents. 

Charlie Ferrell, National Sales Manager, started as a senior insurance agent more than 12 years ago. His expertise is in Medicare, specifically Dual Eligibles and Low Income Subsidy clients.

Rob Bever, Director of Compliance, has more than 15 years in the Medicare/senior insurance market. He has around 1500 enrollments under his belt and specializes in the Dual Eligible market.

James Gramp, Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent, though James has only been an agent for about 2 years, his clients are already raving about his great service!

Bob Bever, Founder, got licensed as a life and health agent in 1978 and has applied his excellent service to his clients and agents alike! His success is the reason we’re all here!

Compliance Tip

Referrals that Empower: 3 paths to timely results

Contributions from the RBI Team

Every agent spends a significant portion of his or her time thinking about, reading about, and planning (or executing plans!) to increase sales. It’s what all of us want as agents because, after all, more sales mean more commissions, which means more security for our pocketbooks and our families. One of the most important ways to get more business is to ask for referrals. But if you read articles about this topic, you’ll notice a theme telling you to ask for referrals, but no one ever tells you how to do this. No more! RBI is here to end this trend.  Our tutorial will teach you to increase your sales with referrals that empower your business to the next level. Here’s our top 3 recommendations, plus our bonus round for agents that want to build a referral system they can “wind up and walk away.”

Referrals that Empower

“Increase your sales with referrals that empower your business!”

Number 1: Learn to pre-qualify clients

Charlie Ferrell, RBI’s National Sales Manager, is fantastic at getting referrals.  We asked him for his best advice on how to build a referral base he doesn’t have to think about every day and his number one piece of advice was to pre-qualify every client before the end of the appointment, whether you sell them a plan or not. Charlie does this by understanding that every appointment with every client is about education. “If you are educating your clients on how Medicare works, it leads seamlessly into asking the question at the end, ‘Have I helped you understand Medicare better?‘” Charlie says. “If I have done my job right, my clients know what their options are, so when I hand them a business card and say, ‘Please give this to anyone that you know who could use my services,’ the response is always positive.”  To implement this strategy, you should make sure that you do a good job educating your clients in Medicare before you present individual plans. You’ll spend a little more time with each client, but you’ll build a strong and loyal client base. This makes asking for the referral at the end of the appointment more natural.

Number 2: Make yourself accessible

“The key to good referrals is ease of contact for your clients,” says Rob Bever, RBI’s Director of Compliance. “With the CMS Medicare Marketing Guidelines, most of my referrals come outside of appointments these days, usually within 1 week of my follow-ups.” What are those follow-ups? Rob says he hands out “piles of business cards” and reaches out to his clients with follow-up letters, birthday cards and other types of letters. He usually get some referrals about a week after his birthday card or other letter reaches his client. “If my clients have 20 business cards on hand and I’ve told them, ‘If you have any friends or neighbors who have been having trouble with their insurance, have them call me,’ I’ll get referrals that way.” The bottom line? Stay in contact with your clients through phone calls, letters and other outreach. Clients can’t refer friends to you if they don’t have a way of contacting you.

Number 3: Emphasis on value

James Gramp, RBI’s Sales Coordinator extraordinaire, says his “ask” always focuses on the value he brings to the table. “If I have done my job in the appointment, the closing statement is easy enough. I usually say something like ‘If you have friends or know someone with questions about Medicare, I’m happy to help. My services are completely free, they can just give me a call.” Jim says he always makes sure to emphasize that he is available for questions, and that he is there to serve his clients’ needs without a price tag.  Pro tip: “Make sure referrals from your clients know that they have to call you due to government regulations. I usually state that explicitly in my appointments so there is no confusion,” James says.

Bonus round: Provide exceptional service and your referrals will come to you

Bob Bever, RBI’s managing member, has been in the insurance industry for over 35 years. His expertise is invaluable for picking up referrals that empower. Here’s his take, “Building your business by referrals really comes down to one statement: be the best agent that you can be. I always leave 4 or 5 business cards with my clients and tell them if they have any issues to call my mobile number. But if you build that expectation you have to fulfill it as well. Be what you advertise. My success came to me because I was willing to answer my phone anytime day or night and provide service to my clients right then.” Bob shares that when you take the time to build a rapport with your clients and then give the best customer service possible, your clients will talk about their experiences. “I still get referrals from some of my clients that I first got in the 1990’s.”

Did you like our referral advice? Do you have advice of your own? Call us at 1-800-997-3107 and tell us how you work to expand your business! If you like this article, chances are good you’ll like this one and this one. Not yet an RBI agent? Check out our list of carriers to get started contracting today! 

Subscribe to the RBI Agent’s Advantage Blog for a weekly newsletter digest of great Medicare content, like the latest in carrier news, tutorials, video roll-ups and more!

2022 AHIP
2020 ahip discount certification

Your Best Month Yet – Starting off right on day 1

James Gramp

James Gramp

Sales Coordinator & Independent Agent

With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is the other half of the RBI phone answering dynamic duo! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for over a year, and has worked at RBI for 2 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

Your Best Month Yet

Starting off right on day 1

RBI Sales Coordinator and Independent Agent: James Gramp

Earlier this week I talked about how to wrap-up your month and make sure you’re getting the money owed you from products sold over the month. But how did I get those sales in the first place? There’s a process to making sales, and it starts with day 1 of the new month!

Here’s how I’m going to be preparing to reach my sales goals for March, to have my best month yet!

Pro-Tip: Determine a Focus Area: The first thing that I need to do is determine a focus area. It does no good to plan marketing efforts if I haven’t first determined a focus area. I’m going to continue to focus on Dual Eligible and LIS beneficiaries for the next few months because it’s still a very underserved market and because of the pro-rated MA commissions. Here in Arizona 50% of Dual Eligible beneficiaries are actually enrolled in a Dual plan, which means there is still plenty of opportunity to write business.

Plan Your Best Month Yet

Making sales starts with day 1 of the new month!

Now that I know my focus area, I’m ready to look at my 5 sales strategies.

  1. Set Goals: Some of you may have a yearly sales goal that you aim for each year (which is great, don’t get me wrong!), but I find it best to set smaller monthly/weekly goals. For instance, 5 sales a week is more manageable than 260 (52 x 5) enrollments for the year. Smaller weekly/monthly goals will help keep you on track and ultimately help you reach your yearly goals.
  2. Research: It’s always good to refresh your knowledge of the MSP/Extra Help limits. Read up on carriers in your area, or (in my case) D-SNP products or other plans. If you’re not sure where to start with Dual Eligibles or Low-Income Subsidy, watch RBI’s recorded webinars by clicking here or here.
  3. Review Marketing Strategy: Food pantries, senior housing units, HUD housing, and provider offices (dental, optometrists, etc.) are all great places to find Medicare beneficiaries.  If you’re not hitting your sales goals through community marketing, then I would suggest looking at running a Direct Mail campaign to keep a steady flow of leads coming your way.  Give RBI a call to learn how to be successful with Direct Mail!
  4. Own your backyard: You want to be known as the Medicare Expert in your neighborhood. Some great ways to get this credibility are volunteering, or just taking time to chat with people you see day to day. Your next lead could be someone in the elevator, or getting gas at the next pump. Strike up a conversation and let them know what you do, you never know what you’ll get out of it. A good example of this comes from RBI’s CEO during this past AEP, when Bob Bever spent 3 minutes with a gentleman while in line at K-mart, explaining what he does, and gave him a business card. A few weeks later Bob got a call from the man’s father and was able to help him enroll.
  5. Be consistent: I cannot stress enough how important consistency is.  Especially if you have a connection with a food bank or provider office, you need to have a schedule of when you go in and setup your booth in their facility.  If  you’re not consistent with your schedule the influencers at these locations won’t know when to tell their customers that have Medicare questions when you will be there next.  With educational events I recommend doing them at least once a quarter, the more consistent you are with scheduling these events the more attendance you will see.

The best single piece of advice I can give is to treat your insurance business as a full-time job.  If you plan on doing this as a career, then you have to treat it like one and show up eight hours a day, five days a week. Many agents get discouraged after a month or two of not bringing in consistent sales. Don’t fall into this trap! Instead, ask yourself: “do I have a marketing plan to generate leads?” and “am I consistently working my plan?” One of my favorite quotes is “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Let’s plan to succeed and make this our best month yet!

RBI believes your marketing plan should be Measurable, Actionable, Profitable, and Scalable. We call it the “MAPS method to success.” If you don’t have a marketing plan, give RBI a call today at 1-800-997-3107 and plan your best month yet! You can also click here to watch the “Marketing for Success” webinar and get started! 

2022 AHIP
USA Senior Care Network
2019 AHIP

End of the Month Wrap-up

James GrampJames Gramp

Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent

With his signature common sense, quiet good humor, and brilliant customer service, Jim is the other half of the RBI phone answering dynamic duo! An Arizona native, Jim manages agent relationships for the East Coast and specializes in the RBI agent tools, especially the Agent Market Edge. Jim has been a licensed health insurance agent for over a year, and has worked at RBI for 2 years. An accomplished bassoonist, he is known around the office for his amazing musical skills. In addition to keeping busy around the office, Jim frequently contributes to our blog, bringing a new agent’s perspective to the RBI online presence.

End of the Month Wrap-up: Client Retention in 3 easy steps!

RBI Sales Coordinator and Independent Agent: James Gramp

It seems like every year the days go by faster and faster.  It’s already the end of February, so I’m going to share with you my end of the month wrap-up and a few best practice tips to help you stay in touch with your clients so they remember who to call when they have questions or problems!

Here’s three ways that I keep my business on the books:

End of the Month Wrap-up

If you send a letter to your clients, hand sign it for a personal touch!

Number 1: Thank You Letters

The best piece of advice I can give you is to send your new clients a thank you letter.  This is a great way to make sure your clients remember your name.  Just think of all the seniors you run into during AEP who say they can’t remember who helped them enroll in their current plan. You do not want to be “that” agent.  Instead, by sending a thank you letter, you will stay in touch. The letter should be simple: thank them for the opportunity to be their health insurance agent and include a few business cards. Ask your clients to hand out your card to any friends or family who have questions about Medicare.  In my letters, I also like to include a picture of myself at the bottom and I always hand sign it to add a more personal touch. Depending on how many enrollments you do a month, you can personalize your letters even further by handwriting the whole note!

Number 2: Updating CRM records

This one should be a no-brainer. You should be using a CRM system to manage your clients to help make your life easier, because who likes excel spreadsheets? I use the Medicare Sales Engine, or “MSE” – which is RBI’s own agent-built CRM system. I usually update my client’s CRM record the same day I make the sale so I don’t forget, but if you haven’t yet done so, be sure to update your clients records now. If you use the MSE, check that you have converted the leads you sold into clients.  Another MSE feature I use all the time is tracking commissions: just enter the product you sold, and the commission you expect to be paid.  If you entered the information correctly, you’ll see the potential renewals for the next year on your dashboard.   The end of the month is a good time to check that your commission records inside the MSE match the statement from the carrier. The best part is that RBI provides the MSE tool completely free for contracted agents!   You can get contracted here today!

Number 3: Follow-up Call

Two weeks after I’ve enrolled new members, I like to give my clients a call to make sure they’ve gotten their welcome letter and all their member ID cards.  I usually open the conversation up by saying something like “I just wanted to make sure you got your new member ID card.”  If they haven’t, it’s time to set-up a conference call with myself, my new client and the carrier, to have the ID card re-sent.  Your clients will love the fact that you’re being proactive in asking about their experience and solving their problems.  As a bonus for us as agents, this is also the perfect time to ask for referrals.  Let your clients know that if they have any friends with questions about their Medicare to give you a call.  Be VERY clear that you cannot call them, they have to call you. You’d be surprised how many follow-up with you!

And that’s it!  As you can see, my end of the month wrap-up is just three simple steps.  If you can implement these “best practices” to your business I can guarantee that you’ll see more business stay on the books and also bring in more new business from happy clients when they refer their friends to you!

Click here to learn about the Agent Market Edge and how RBI works with print and fulfillment companies to bring you exclusive pricing! If you’d like sample ideas for client letters give RB Insurance Group a call today at 1-800-997-3107 to see firsthand how RBI can help you take your business to the next level! 

2022 AHIP
2020 ahip discount certification

President’s Day Trivia Quiz

James Gramp Rebecca Howard Photo

Written by James Gramp & Rebecca Howard

Sales Coordinators

When Jim and Rebecca put their heads together, great things happen!  Jim and Rebecca comprise the worker bees of the Marketing Department, and much like this collaboration on United States Presidents, they spend their days swapping fun facts and brilliant puns. Who said work had to be boring anyway?

What do you think of our list?  

Did we miss any President’s Day trivia that you know?

Let us know and we’ll add it to our list.

President’s Day Trivia Quiz

How well do YOU know your history?

From plantation owners to pecan farmers, from frontiersmen to Hollywood, our Presidents hail from all walks of life! This past Monday we celebrated President’s Day and we at RBI have been learning about Presidents all week. How well do you know your Presidents?  Test your knowledge with our President’s Day Trivia Quiz!  Match the President with the facts, or the facts with the President and see how you do!

Music Man:

Which President aspired to be a concert violinist, and often entertained guests at the White House with his performances at parties?

Answer: John Tyler.  Fun Fact: after the death of his first wife, Tyler remarried. He was the first President to marry while in office and he fathered a total of 15 children. Read more about John Tyler here.

A Toothy Problem:

Which President was famous for dental issues, but never had wooden dentures?

Answer: George Washington, of course! George Washington is legendary for many Americans, but according to the folks at Mount Vernon (now a museum), George never had wooden teeth. Instead, his dentures were made of gold, ivory, lead, and animal teeth. Read more about George’s teeth here.

Speed Demon:President's Day Trivia

Which President likes to go fast, and has actually been cited for speeding multiple times?

Answer: Ulysses S. Grant.  While many remember Grant for his role in the Civil War, Grant is often remembered in DC lore as a speed demon!  He is said to have received multiple citations and even speeding tickets.  Read more here and here.

A Shocking Development:

What President was the sitting president when electricity was installed in the White House?

Answer: Benjamin Harrison! In 1891, the White House went electric! At the time, this was such a new development that not many people understood how it worked.  In fact, President Harrison was so afraid of being electrocuted that he refused to touch the light switches. Read more here.

Fun-sized President:

What President was the smallest to date?

Answer: James Madison, though known for his part in framing the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and his many contribution to The Federalist Papers, was the smallest US President, weighing in at 122 lbs, and just 5′ 3″ tall!  Read about him here.

Give me a 4! Give me a 3! 

What President was a Cheerleader in his youth?

Answer: George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was a cheerleader during his school years. Read more (and see photos!) here.

Polly wants a ****:

Which President of the United States famously taught his pet parrot how to swear?

Answer: Andrew Jackson. Jackson, a President known to cause controversy with his policies during his tenure in office, caused uproar even at his funeral when his pet parrot started swearing. Read more here.


What President was an avid poker player, and even bet the White House china collection?

Answer: Warren G. Harding was known for his games of chance, and yes, even bet –and lost– the White House china collection in a card game. Read more about Harding here.

So call me maybe:

Which President used the telephone first as an election vehicle?

Answer: William McKinley.  In 1896, the telephone was still a brand new technology, and McKinley’s campaign used it to keep in touch from New York to Ohio to Chicago.  Read more here.

Campaign Financed:

Which President funded his first political campaign with poker winnings?

Answer: Richard Nixon. Nixon is best known for Watergate, but before he entered politics, he won about $6,000 from playing poker as an officer in the Navy.  He later used his winnings to fund his first congressional campaign. Read more here and here.

At RBI, we keep our agents up-to-date on all the important stuff, like our great Fun Friday updates! You can get contracted by clicking here to see our carriers or call us at 1-800-997-3107 to speak to one of our sales team!  Want to get in on the blog newsletter? Click here to subscribe and you’ll never miss an update again!

2022 AHIP
2020 ahip discount certification