Stand apart from the competition this AEP — be yourself!

How has AEP 2016 treated you so far?

We’re rapidly closing in the the halfway point of AEP. Besides dealing with the challenge of having so many people to see in so little time, one of the recurring frustrations I hear from agents this time of year is “Everyone is after the same people.”

This definitely stands to reason. Large carriers have commercials and infomercials on 24/7 directing them to call or go online, mail is getting delivered to eligible beneficiaries in high volume and agents probably just left the house you are walking into, while another one follows behind you.

Within the sales process, there are three things you can do to save yourself from the clutter and competitive chaos that makes AEP what it is.  If you can do these three things, you will be the sales person of choice for more clients, even if they have seen other sales peopleThankfully, they’re simple. However, my observation has been that the vast majority of sales people do not do them, which means they do not stand out.

1. Prepare. When you do prepare for your 1 p.m. sales call?  I hope you didn’t say when you’re in the driveway! The best time time to prepare for your day is early in the morning or better yet, the night before. In-depth review of your client’s situation will provide you with a higher level of confidence that you have the right product and approach to meet their needs.  Nothing says professionalism like preparation.
On the other hand, nothing turns clients off faster than a sales person who seems discombobulated.  It makes them feel as though they weren’t important enough for you to spend time getting ready for them.
2. Be meticulous with detail.  The first place to impress the client is at the door to their home. Be on time, dress appropriately and be in control (Read No. 1 again if you have to). Using and remembering names is critical.  If kids are present, include them in elements of the discussion — it will reflect positively on you.  As you conduct your demonstration and ask questions, take notes. What your clients say is worth taking down because it’s important to your book of business, and the gesture also shows your client that their voice matters to you.  Reflect active listening skills by restating what you have heard.  Show them you are focused on their needs.
If follow-up activity is necessary, create timetables of deliverables or dates and times you will call back with the additional information. Just make sure that you actually do it!  Just in the last month, I have had three service people neglect the promises they made to follow-up. It has become so acceptable to provide slack service, that if you simply do what you say, you will set yourself apart from the majority.
3. Dare to be different and memorable.  I am not asking you to be “salesy” or over the top, but you do have to do something that cuts you out from the clutter.  It could be a business card with your photo as a magnet for the refrigerator. It could be a monthly newsletter that includes inspirational articles, especially if you’re like me and enjoy writing. You could use a CRM tool that provides you with special reminders. Get an interesting company or agency name or logo. Simply staying in contact with sincere, personalized messages will give you a recognizable brand!
Doing these three things as an ongoing part of your sales process will allow you to stand out from the competition this AEP. You’re one of a kind, so leverage it!