Prospecting your Book of Business

Medicare cost-sharing

RBI National Sales Manager: Charlie Ferrell

Charlie started his senior insurance career after a brief 30-year stint in the restaurant industry. In the 12 years since then, he has been blazing trails and setting standards for excellence all over! A native son of Utah, he has been a state manager for RBI as well as a managing general agent for UHC, Coventry, Molina and other carriers! Charlie came to RBI as the National Sales Manager in 2015, and is an invaluable resource for our agents and staff for marketing, compliance, and sales topics! Charlie’s field experience with senior insurance sales has made him an expert in our insurance CRM: Medicare Sales Engine. If all of that wasn’t enough, Charlie specializes in the Dual-Eligible market and is leading the charge behind RBI’s new “Dual Eligibles for Newbies” seminars!

Prospecting your Book of Business

Now that the New Year is upon us and our client are using their plans is a great time to go prospecting. Prospecting you say? But AEP ended a month ago! Use your existing book of business to write more business. There are plenty of additional products to sell. From indemnity products to Medicare Supplement plans to Final Expense. Now is the time to start a dialog about who they know that you can help. If you don’t ask your clients for referrals you are leaving business on the table for others to write.

This is also the best time to contact your new and existing clients that are using a new plan. Get in touch with them and let them know that you value their business and help them use their plan to the fullest. It is much easier to nip a small problem right now before it gets out of control; maybe it’s a different co-pay for a drug they have been taking for a while or the fact that they have to use a different doctor since switching plans. Anything you do right now will cement your place in their mind as their trusted advisor.

We’ve found that new members appreciate calls from their agent after the first of the year to check-in and make sure they have no outstanding questions about their plan or benefits. These calls also allow you to strengthen the bond with your members early in their plan year. To help you out, we have a few tips on topics to discuss with members during the first 2 months. By making the call and using these guidelines, you are able to instill your client’s confidence in you and their plan.

  • Ask if they have any questions about their plan/benefits
  • Review doctor network if appropriate. (Medicare Supplements have no network)
  • Review RX coverage, co-payments and pharmacies (including if they travel)
  • Discuss nurse line available 24/7 (most MA plans)
  • Discuss Extra Benefits (where applicable)
  • Discuss Silver Sneakers/Silver Fit where applicable

Most carriers are now also recommending you call your clients at the 60 and 90 day point as well. Topics are the same as listed above but by now they should have had a chance to use their benefits. If they have not used their benefits, remind them of the OTC benefit (if the plan has one) and how to order their items, especially if the benefit is a monthly or quarterly benefit and if it is a “Use it or lose it” type of benefit.

During your close is the best time to ask for referrals. You can ask for names and addresses but not phone numbers for MA clients. Remind them of the fact that you are not allowed to call their friends if they need help but that their friend has to call YOU in order to be compliant (for MA/PDP referrals). This also reminds them that anyone who calls them may not be following CMS guidelines and further insulates them as your client.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I meet with someone new I always ask them if they’ve worked with an agent in the past and the most common answer I hear is, “yeah, but I haven’t heard from in the past year or two.” The goal of your follow-ups is to not be that agent! The more you stay in front of your clients and help them use their plan, the more business you’ll see stay on the books.

Want even more tips on how to generate more referrals? Give us a call at 1-800-997-3107 and Learn how RBI Works for You. Looking for year-round sales opportunities? Fill out this contract request form, or call our office today to learn more!

Medicare cost-sharing
USA Senior Care Network
2019 AHIP

Referrals: Building your referral network. Download this free white paper to learn

James Gramp

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/

Independent Agent: James Gramp

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.

Referrals: Building your referral network

Download this free white paper to learn today

RBI Senior Sales Coordinator/Independent Agent: James Gramp


Good referral sources in your community is often just a matter of finding or sponsoring local events.

Have you ever wondered how some agents are so successful by only working off of referrals?  Being a recruiter for RB Insurance Group over the past few years, I have spoken with tons of agents all across the country, and also having access to our very own Medicare Encyclopedia, AKA Charlie Ferrell (RBI’s National Sales Manager), I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade.

Don’t spend a dime on a lead ever again

One of the biggest problems agents in our industry have is how to generate leads without breaking the bank. Trying to recruit agents back when I first got started in this industry, I would pitch RBI’s marketing services (read this article about RBI’s services!) and every once in a while the agent would say, “well that’s nice and all, but I strictly work off of referrals.”  Now I finally understand how they were able to build their referral network.

Not sure where to start? Start here!

In this white paper I give ideas of good locations that you can reach out to as well as a couple specific examples of how I approach businesses with the goal of establishing a relationship that will see your Medicare book of business grow.  I’ll walk you through exactly how and what I say to build your referral network. You’ll be on your way in no time!

Download this free white paper and watch your business grow

If you’d like to learn how I approach community marketing and what exactly I say to centers of influence to generate referrals, simply give us a call or leave us your contact info below and you will be able to download this paper right to your computer!

Let RBI teach you how to “own your own backyard” with Community Marketing. To get contracted today, follow this link or give us a call at 1-800-997-3107!

USA Senior Care Network
New Agent

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

Spotlight on Outstanding Community Referral Sources

James Gramp

James Gramp

Sales Coordinator / Independent Insurance 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.

Spotlight on Outstanding Community Referral Sources

Sales Coordinator/Independent Insurance Agent: James Gramp

My focus for this part of the year is on the Dual Eligible population, something you would know if you read my last post (shame on you if you didn’t!), “Your Best Month Yet.”  The most successful ways I’ve reached this population are Direct Mail and Community Marketing.  Both methods are very effective but today I’ll be focusing on community marketing by building outstanding community referral sources, especially in the Dual Eligibles/Low Income Subsidy (LIS) market.

Community Referral Sources - do your homework!

To gain community referral sources, do your homework!

Do your homework: Prepare for the meeting

Effective referral leads are worth their weight in gold.  Think about it: they’re almost always referred to you by someone they trust, which helps you break through the most important barrier between you and making the sale; earning trust. If you want to succeed in gaining community referral sources, and then in appointments from these referral relationships, you must build a name for yourself as the “Medicare Expert” in your community. The first step is to obviously have the knowledge to be an expert. This means not just the ins and outs of Medicare, but also research the focus group you’re targeting. For instance, I’m targeting Dual Eligible/Low Income Subsidy members, and locations in the community that interact with them. I need to research both. Hint: If you don’t know where to start for your target market, call us! That’s what we’re here for.

Where’s Waldo? Find the Decision Maker

There’s a lot more to community marketing than going to provider offices/food banks and asking if you can put up a flyer in their office. The trick is to find and educate the decision maker or influencer, that is, the person or people that interact with the potential members on a daily basis. Community Referral SourcesThe influencer will be doing the actual referral, so they need to know what you do. How do you help seniors save money? The answer in my case is by helping enroll members in the ‘Extra Help’ or the state Medicaid (AHCCCS in AZ) program. Influencers also need to understand that your consultations are 100% free of charge. You do not want to go in to a networking meeting looking like a typical salesman looking for your next sale — that’s a great way to get shown the door. You want your “pitch” to be centered around the value you bring to the table: the education and extra financial help you provide your clients.

Show me the money! What’s in it for the influencer?

Not only do you have to show the benefit you provide to your clients, you also have to show the decision makers or influencers the benefit they have of working with you.  A lot of what you say at this point is specific to the type of facility. Take a dental office, for instance. Dental office patients who are on Medicare and Medicaid qualify to enroll in Dual Special Needs Plans, which can give them up to $xxxx.xx in dental coverage as long as that particular doctor ins “in-network” for that carrier.  If these potential members enroll, you’re literally putting money in their pockets that they can only use to fix their teeth.  In my appointments with dental office influencers, I make this statement: “Not only do I help my clients save money with these federal and state programs, but for my clients that qualify I can get them on a plan that gives them $xxxx.xx in comprehensive dental coverage. That would be additional dollars to your top line with minimal effort on your part. If I can get your patients more money to get their teeth fixed would you refer your patients that have questions about Medicare/Medicaid to me?” Patients will be more likely to schedule appointments for major work if they don’t have to cover the costs out of pocket, and the dental office will see this value. The decision for the influencer is very straightforward at this point, because I have shown them how the referral relationship will impact their bottom line.

At RB Insurance Group, we pride ourselves on our ability to help the Dual Eligible population! Our staff has personally enrolled thousands of individuals in Dual Special Needs Plans.  Trying to get into the D-SNP market? Watch this webinar! Give RBI a call today to get contracted and learn about the incredible opportunity you have to truly make a difference.

2022 AHIP
2020 ahip discount certification

Video: Make Community Marketing Work for You Roll-up

Did you miss Webinar Wednesday? Instead, watch Make Community Marketing Work for You Roll-up!

If you’re not known in your area as the authority on all things Medicare, this webinar is for you! We want to help you grow to be the person in your neighborhood that everyone goes to with questions…and of course, the agent who enrolls these members! To get you to this goal, we’ve prepared this week’s Webinar Wednesday to cover how to take charge of your education efforts, become an expert at working in the field, and start earning the trust of your community. Did you miss the webinar? We’ve got you covered with the Make Community Marketing Work for You Roll-up!

Make Community Marketing Work for You Roll-up

Look for this symbol on all our new “60 Second Roll-up” videos!

Not sure how to get started? Take the first step by clicking here to watch the full recording. Then take a look at our carrier-partners to get started contracting.

If you have additional questions, call RBI at 1-800-997-3107 to speak to our amazing team! 

What could be better than saving a senior $300 a month?

What could be better than saving a senior $300 a month? Every year I meet two or three people who do not know they are eligible to receive Low Income Subsidy (LIS) benefits to reduce their prescription drug costs or have their Medicare Part B premium covered by Medicaid. Once I sit down with these folks at the kitchen table and help them see real savings, I know I’ve made a meaningful impact in their life and can add a lifetime client to my book of business who would be more than happy to send friends and family my way.  You can do this too.

You can save your client up to $300 a month or more by helping them apply for LIS and other Medicare Savings programs that do not require them to be a full dual-eligible. Individuals who make between 100-135 percent of the federal poverty level can apply to have their Medicare Part D premium covered and their prescription cost sharing significantly reduced as well as their Medicare Part B premium covered. Click here for a link to your state’s programs.

I recently went on an appointment with one of our new career agents in Arizona, and we helped a woman save $325 a month. Taking away her $35 Part D premium and reducing the cost of her prescriptions she takes she saved $225. We also saved her $104 a month on her Part B premium. It gives you a good feeling inside when both you and the client have tears in your eyes because you have had such a profound effect on their lives.

If you can help a senior that is on a fixed income save more than $3,600 per year, it will make a huge difference in their lives. Based on my experience, saving a senior $300 a month is significant: the difference between being able to afford medications or groceries. The data doesn’t lie either: Senior hunger is a real problem in our country. You can do a good deed and build your book of business by sharing your knowledge of Medicare Savings Programs.

Agents who are knowledgeable of these available programs really have an advantage over other agents who just say “I have nothing for you” or “I can’t help you.” Even though you may not have anything to sell that prospect, helping someone enroll in LIS or a Medicare Savings Program is a very positive way to spread the word about your business. Remember, you’re a senior insurance advisor, so that implies you sometimes offer pro bono advice. The bottom line is referrals are the easiest way to generate Leads, so you may see some sales from these connections for Special Needs Plans or other products.

Are you looking for more information on where to get started saving a senior $300 a month?  Click here to watch a recorded webinar about LIS and how you can implement these practices in your business! Call our office for more information at 1-800-997-3107!

Turn to the Girl Scouts for canvassing inspiration

Important note for senior insurance agents: Canvassing can be used to market life insurance and hospital indemnity, but NOT Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines prohibit canvassing for any Medicare Advantage product. Canvassing of Medicare Supplements is regulated state-by-state.

Have you found your Joy of Canvassing yet, or do you need more proof that canvassing done right really works?

I’ve been putting deliberate emphasis on canvassing in my posts lately because if you don’t have much marketing money or need to get things moving quickly, canvassing is a direct to consumer activity that can yield immediate sales opportunities. It also builds important closing muscle while you develop your unique sales process and build your client base.
Canvassing may not be as sophisticated as using your combined CRM/virtual call center or dropping direct mail, but it is effective. Think about it this way: Girl Scouts sell their delectable cookies each year through well-coordinated canvassing.

I bet you want to read more now that I’ve mentioned these treats. (I’ll take two boxes of Thin Mints, please–and no, I won’t share!) Girl Scouts have been selling cookies for almost a century as part of their mission to become courageous, confident and capable leaders. They show support to their communities with generous donations they make with their cookie sale profits. Their official website lists goal setting, smart decision making, money management, people skills and ethical business practice on their website as the annual cookie sale’s major lessons. Does any of this sounds familiar to you?

Image courtesy of Girl Scouts official website

Canvassing Inspiration

As a sales veteran myself, I may have not sold tantalizing sweets, but I did sell everything ranging from luxurious perfume to final expense policies. The Scouts’ cookie canvassing reminds me of the sales process I’ve observed in my own fields.

Here are a few points sales professionals can take away from the Girl Scouts:

They believe in themselves. Girl Scouts willingly try new activities and take on challenges together discover their talents and strengths. Those are all important parts of growing up, but have you considered how you can do the same to strengthen your profession and win more clients? 

They pick strategic locations to canvass. All right, Girl Scouts may not exclusively go door to door anymore. They set up shop outside supermarkets where families stock up on food and snacks and Sunday church gatherings where people may want to extend their goodwill. They have even been spotted on university campuses, cheerfully announcing cookies for sale to college students overloaded with homework and in desperate need of a break. One Girl Scout had enough initiative to go off the beaten path and sell cookies directly outside a medical marijuana dispensary, selling 117 boxes in just two hours! The Girl Scouts think about where their hungry customers could be, and they have even increased their outreach exponentially by offering digital cookie ordering. How do you locate your target market, and how do you adjust your appearance, manner and sales pitch to ensure they’re the most receptive?

Girl Scouts believe in their product. They don’t just sell any cookie. They sell Girl Scout cookies, a name that rings in everyone’s ear, and they only do so for a limited time each year. Some of the cookies have cult-like followings, with people stocking up on Thin Mints or Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites) and freezing them. The organization responds to people’s questions about the nutritional value of the cookies, ingredients used and even whether cookies are an ethical product to sell given the national childhood obesity crisis. Girl Scouts have responded to people’s concerns not by doing away with selling cookies, but by innovating. This year, a gluten-free option called Trios will be available in select markets, while Cranberry Citrus Crisps and Rah-Rah Raisins offer dried fruit and whole grain to health-conscious consumers.

As a sales professional, are you knowledgeable enough about your product that you can confidently answer prospects’ objections with solid information? You have an amazing opportunity to interact directly with the consumer when canvassing. You can speak to them on their level!

They use the buddy system. There’s probably no better example of teaming up with like-minded associates and working an area together than the friendships Girl Scouts develop during their participation. They work together to  strengthen each other’s commitment to making their troop money, earning badges and serving their communities. You can work  with other sales professionals to tackle a market, learn from others and create a strong network.

Next week, I’ll share one more real-world example of how canvassing works. In the meantime, have you figured out how many boxes you’re going to order from your local troop?
Are you struggling to get your name out there? Call RBI at 1-800-997-3107 and get started on a marketing plan! Click here to take a look at the carriers we work with, and begin your fast-track today!

Why rent office space during AEP when you can meet prospects for coffee?

Renting office space for appointments during AEP can set you back at least $1,000 a month, which is what you can make in just one day running appointments back to back. In my 30 years of experience in the field, I’ve found that if I can’t or don’t want to conduct all of my appointments at the kitchen table, there is another option. The best place for me to meet with beneficiaries to discuss their Medicare options is actually much more inviting to them than a stuffy office. Instead, I meet prospects for coffee at a neutral third-party location.

Making yourself available for Medicare beneficiaries to meet with you in spaces that coffee shops or restaurants rent out to small groups or organizations is a great idea for agents. If the coffee shops or restaurants around you don’t have a space to rent out, you can simply ask the manager or owner for permission to conduct light business in a quieter part of the space away from the food. Best of all, agents that meet prospects for coffee save a bundle in overhead.  

meet prospects for coffee

Agents that meet prospects for coffee save a bundle in overhead.

I would recommend doing this at more than one space around town to make it more convenient for your prospects. Try to do regularly and at the same time and day each week for informal meetings. The staff will appreciate the consistency. Think of it this way: There’s probably a Starbucks within 10 minutes of all of those turning-65 seniors agents hear about all the damn time.

This amounts to having a business lunch with a prospect or already existing client, but without the lunch because the Medicare Marketing Guidelines prohibit agents from giving beneficiaries anything more than a cup of coffee with a donut, bagel or something light. Of course beneficiaries are free to buy their own meal after meeting with you, which might make them feel less pressured about the appointment.

Have a conversation with the owner and see if you can spend some time there meeting with beneficiaries during times that are not busy, like mid-morning or mid-afternoon. You should tip the staff generously because you’re not going to be buying beneficiaries lunches or dinners, and what you’ll pay out is going to be far cheaper than a lease. Pick times outside any morning or afternoon rushes and go with places where seniors will be more likely to know and like.

One more reason I’d tip staff well: If a beneficiary came in and asked about me because they heard of my meetings from a friend, they’d be tickled to let me know so I can stay longer and bring in some more business.

RB Insurance and Medicare Compare get permission from a Starbucks in our home state of Arizona every AEP to reach about 100 beneficiaries and start the enrollment process when we do our community marketing. Starbucks even gave our agents $25 gift cards to pay for the coffees. You’re not limited to chains, though — local shops can attract beneficiaries too.

The key to sales success during AEP is managing your time spent working Leads and taking care of existing clients. You can leverage your time if you put yourself in one spot and make phone calls when beneficiaries aren’t coming to you.

Read more of CEO Bob Bever’s insights by subscribing to The Agent’s Advantage blog. Click here to sign up for a weekly email of helpful content during AEP and throughout the year.

The Joy of Canvassing: Be confident when prospecting life insurance

Important note: Canvassing can be used to market life insurance, but NOT Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines prohibit canvassing for any Medicare Advantage product.

As a young child, a rainy Saturday afternoon would have me sitting in front of the television (before cable!) with four programming choices: CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS. “Sesame Street” would just be signing off and Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.” would come on.  He would stand in front of a blank canvas and say, “What do I see today? A happy little tree could go right here or a singing bird would go perfect there.” 

Joy of Canvassing
His soft-spoken “don’t worry, be happy” demeanor belied his military background and was part of the charm of the show. At the end of 30 minutes, there would be an amazing scene that evolved right before your eyes from a blank canvas.  He believed you could do the same if you could find your happy place.
Pardon my pun here: Prospecting is also an art because it starts with a blank canvas.
Canvassing is basic. Primal even. To be good at it you have to find your happy place because it is hard work (that actually does work! More on that below). 

Depending on your age and industry, canvassing can be called door-knocking, soliciting, clover-leafing, hot-knocking, cold-calling and gold-calling. The more contemporary names are grassroots and community-based outreach and B2B marketing. Just remember that if you’re a senior insurance advisor selling Medicare Advantage, canvassing — no matter what it’s called — is not allowed by CMS.

For sales professionals like senior insurance advisors selling life products, canvassing boils down to you meeting a stranger, engaging them in a conversation about your business or product and anticipating that interaction evolves into a sale.

When you hear it said like that, no wonder most sales people turn up their nose at it. But there is one thing you need to know before you get a nose bleed: Canvassing works! Let me give you an example:

While I was in college I needed money. I needed a flexible schedule and a chance to make $10-$15 an hour. One day I saw an ad on the corner of Georgia Tech and North Avenue: College Students! Earn $10-$15 an hour! Flexible Schedule Call Today!

 My prayers were answered! I went for the interview and they told me I fit the profile: young, good-looking and energetic (Just telling you what I was told!). I was partnered with an extremely attractive female manager who took me out in the field and showed me the ropes.

I had no idea of the product or where we were going, but when this manager smiled and said, “It’s going to be a great day,” something inside me said, “Yes, I agree!”

I left my car at the office and drove with the manager to a less than desirable part of town. She had nerves of steel as she went door to door with an attaché case.  I had no idea what was inside.

“Is the lady of the house in today?” she would say if a man answered the door. If his answer was “no” then she hit another speed, “As I am sure you treat your woman like a queen, what I have today would be perfect for the person in your life.”

She took a velvet bag out of the attaché and pulled out an exotic bottle of perfume. She sprayed a light mist in her direction. She then stepped closer to the man as the door opened wider and she tilted her head to the side and back to give him a whiff of her neck. “Smells amazing, doesn’t it?” she asked.

Here are her results from 6 hours of doing this:

  • 200 knocks (she put tic marks on a page),
  • 40 people answering (she tic marked that too!)
  • She sold 9 bottles at $25 each
  • Her cost was $6 a bottle
  • Daily profit of $171 cash, making an hourly rate of $28.50
What lessons can be learned from my experience? You could say that sex sells — and it does — but this was not that simple. You could say men buy from beautiful women, and they do, but many men said “no,” and only some women  said “yes” to my manager.  She was neither overt nor acting with poor taste — she just exuded a confidence that I had never seen before or since.
The real lesson I have for you today is that canvassing works when you work it with boldness and confidence. Your approach to the sales process is built to not only your product, but your personality as well. To be truly effective you must find your happy place and embrace what I’ll call the Joy of Canvassing!
Want to get more confident with the Joy of Canvassing? We can help you with this! Call RBI today at 1-800-997-3107 for help on canvassing and other great community marketing ideas.  Click here to watch our recorded webinar on “Marketing for Success.”

Limit free Medicare advice in your business

I referenced “charity work” on behalf of non-clients toward the end of my post on appeals and the CMS-1696 Appointment of Representative form a couple of weeks ago. I should have referred to these non-clients as Leads. As I mentioned then, this type of work is unwelcome, given that I don’t see the commissions for my services. I actually severely limit free Medicare advice in my business.

Image courtesy Google Images

Limit free Medicare Advice

In my first few years in the field selling the old Medicare HMO products I assiduously avoided friends, relatives and their various cronies who wanted free help with their HMO. Having been advised by some old timer agents that working pro bono was a waste of time, I steered clear of helping these kinds of folks. After about 10 years into the Medicare insurance business I changed my tune when I met Ralph.

The exception that proves the rule

Ralph was a retired construction guy who was also married to one of my HMO clients. I was a captive employee agent at the time. Ralph was enrolled with a decent HMO plan offered by our main competitor in Arizona. He had a problem with a claim from an emergency room visit at Hayseed General or some such rural facility, while fishing up in Wyoming.

The doctor portion of his ER claim was billed separately and denied by the carrier as “out of network.” It amounted to over $500. My client, his wife, called me and asked if I could give them some advice before they sent out a check. I knew what probably happened even before I saw the bill. The doctors working at Hayseed General belonged to a private group separately contracted to provide ER services at that facility.

I’d seen this type of claim denial several times when I was an appeals supervisor, usually for services provided out somewhere in the sticks. We called the customer service department at Ralph’s HMO, but they refused to consider the emergency circumstances of his treatment. I typed up a quick appeal, had him sign it and was out the door in less than half an hour plus a quick stop at the corner post office. Ralph, of course, had no stamps!

A happy ending for everyone

Fast forward 30 days: Ralph’s appeal was sustained, and the doctors were paid by the carrier. Mrs. Ralph really appreciated the help. So much so, that just about every referred Medicare beneficiary living on her street is still my client.

That was a happy and profitable ending, but let me stress that I’ve become discerning about who I will help. I’m not an employee of the Bishop’s Relief Fund, and at my advanced age I still need to make an income that supports my “lavish lifestyle” and visits to Las Vegas.

Almost without exception, if I am assisting a non-client I ask them two questions. The first is “I take it your current agent has been unable or unwilling to help you?” and second “I’ll be glad to help if you will give me the opportunity to be your agent. Agreed?” A few beneficiaries have hemmed and hawed about the second question. Send those folks to their customer service department — don’t waste your time with them. I’ve found that a majority of people will hire me when I give them the benefit of my expertise.

You should have the same results.  Bottom line: limit free Medicare advice, not because you lack compassion, but rather because your time and expertise are money.

Like our content? Subscribe to the RBI Agent’s Advantage blog and check out our event calendar for training opportunities for more Medicare sales.