Road Warrior: My First AEP

James Gramp
Road Warrior

Some of you may recognize my name, probably from when I bugged you to finish your contracting/certifications before October (you know who you are!) or reminded you to update leads in your Medicare Sales Engine account. What a lot of you may not know is that this was my first year selling out in the field.  So, about 1,500 miles and two months later, I’m here to share my experiences as a Road Warrior with you all.

Learning to balance commitments

Besides working full time at RBI, I also go to school as well.  Add in my first AEP, trying to run appointments, and you’ll get the idea.  Balancing these many commitments quickly became a challenge.  Let’s just say fighting rush hour going into central Phoenix trying to make a 9 AM weekday appointment was not the best use of my time. I can’t tell you enough how important it is to schedule your appointments wisely.  I don’t just mean scheduling all your leads in Phoenix or Glendale for the same day. To really get the most out of your time you should be thinking of which way rush hour is headed and where your appointment is. You can save 1-2 hours just in driving time alone which ultimately means more appointments and more sales.

Perfecting my follow-up

Another important lesson I learned is that you have to follow-up with your leads, especially the people that pull a “no-show.” Two of my leads bailed on appointments that I scheduled with them.  There’s nothing like driving 45 minutes only to realize that you have been stood up (I never did get a hold of one person to set another appointment despite calling 6 more times).  As for the other person that stood me up, I called her 4 times before she finally got back to me. When I did reach her, I learned she works 30 hours/week, is going to school full time to finish her degree, and babysits her grandchildren on the weekends.  To say she was swamped is an understatement.  I ended up enrolling her and she was extremely thankful that I followed up regularly. So instead of acting like you got stood up for a date and never contacting those leads again, pick up the phone and reach out, you never know what it may lead to!

The art of the close

My last takeaway is don’t be intimidated by the idea of selling. I’m what you would call an introvert, not very outspoken, need time to myself to recharge, mind-my-own-business kind of guy.  In fact, the only sales experience I had before this job was waiting tables at an Italian restaurant in Scottsdale.  This AEP has been a great learning experience for me.  I now plan my routes and most importantly ask for the sale.  So if an introverted college student can get out there and make 24 sales, then so can you!

Tips & Tricks

Always keep spare oil and coolant in your car during AEP – My car didn’t break down during AEP, but it did end up overheating the day after AEP. Luckily it was a cheap fix, just had to replace a stuck thermostat.

Make sure your spare tire is inflated properly

Bring an extra pair of pants and a shirt in case of car trouble

Check google maps for backed up traffic/accidents to avoid being late – I ended up being an hour late to an appointment thanks to an accident that caused both directions on the I-10 to come to a stop.

Always let the person know if you are going to be late – I was late for a few appointments this AEP, but I called them when I was on my way and everyone thanked me for calling

Ask for the sale – after presenting plans you think would fit your client’s needs, you should be asking for the sale.  I assume you do not want to call back a couple days later to answer a very simple question/objection and then have to drive back out to get the application, or worse, lose the sale.  If you ask for the sale right then and there they will most likely tell you any objections they have right up front. I personally lost 3 because I did not ask for the sale.

For more tips see our very own Bob Bever’s post about being prepared!

–from the desk of James Gramp

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