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Marketing your senior insurance business pays

When you tell someone you vacationed in Las Vegas, as I recently did with my wife, they inevitably ask if you gambled.

My answer may surprise you: No, I did not gamble. I hate losing money! Instead, I took a blackjack class. I did some research before I put my heard-earned money at risk.

This week, I can’t help but share what I learned in Vegas because of the similarities between how we can play the odds in a game of cards and how agents should approach marketing themselves. In both cases, I’m here to tell you it can pay to place a bet!

Before you spend money, allow someone to show you the ropes!

My teacher’s name was Tony, and, for some reason, I was the only student for his 15-minute session. He ran me through several scenarios, and, being naturally inquisitive, I asked questions that extended the class to 45 minutes. Armed with basic knowledge, I was more confident about approaching the gambling table.

But I still wasn’t quite ready. I spent $2 on one of those Blackjack scenario cards.
Get all the knowledge and insight you can

The little card had numbers all over it — most of them were too small to be read without my reading glasses.  The information was invaluable, and I was becoming more comfortable with the game. That little card showed me there was a scientific element to the game. 

Now that it was beginning to make sense, I — wait for it — downloaded a blackjack app on my tablet.

 

Prepare before you spend money

I played over 1,000 hands on the app as I sunbathed with my wife by the resort’s sparkling pool. I tried to use my instincts for the first 500 hands and was down $1,000 on $5 dollar hands. At that point, I hated gambling!

Then I played 500 hands using the $2 card and what Tony taught me in the class. I was up $750 on $5 hands as I split cards, bought insurance and doubled down. At that point, I loved gambling!

What did I do next? I finally walked up to a blackjack table with $50 of chips in hand and sat down.

You can laugh if you want to, but with my preparation and dedication to learning I felt ready to play the odds.

When it comes to marketing your business and spending your hard-earned money, I have one question:

Are you ready to invest your money into a marketing strategy and play the odds?

Trust me, I know what I mean when I say they are in your favor!

Reap the benefits of investing in marketing

How much did you spend on marketing last month?

When Agents tell me they don’t think they can’t afford to spend money on marketing, I’m reminded of a story told by businessman, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn.

“I remember telling my mentor that if I had more money, I would have a better plan,” he said.

The mentor quickly responded, “I would suggest that if you had a better plan, you would have more money.  You see, it’s not the amount that counts, it’s the plan that counts.”

Most businesses wait for more revenue before they spend on marketing and Lead generation. They put it off, not realizing that marketing is the seed that will bring a harvest of higher revenue through increased selling opportunities.

Money spent on marketing is a seed. 

I turn to another inspiring quote from Rohn to see the best way to sow the seed:

“To become financially independent, you must turn part of your income into capital; turn capital into enterprise; turn enterprise into profit; turn profit into investment and turn investment into financial independence.”

For some business owners, finances are tight, they are barely making ends meet and they are nervous about spending money on marketing. So what do you do?

Start small.  Execute fearlessly and flawlessly.  Keep doing it.

I know people who spend 25 percent of their revenue on continuous marketing. They are the high-income earners who attribute their success to the money they invest in marketing and Lead generation. They aren’t lucky or fortunate; they made a decision to invest in their business above all else.

Today, I want to you decide 3 simple things:

1. Spend on marketing.

2. How much you will spend on marketing.

3. Stay committed to marketing.

Become committed to investing in and seeding your business through marketing.  Each marketing seed you plant has to opportunity to grow into your next client. The client you obtain can grow into repeat business and referrals. The harvest of those efforts will take your business to the next level.

Call RB Insurance at (800) 997 3107 or email Justin Bever, Director of Marketing, to discuss which of our custom products is best for you.

 

 

Top 10 Tools for the 6-Figure Advisor: Part 2

Up to now, the first five tools have been what most people would expect — everything from products, training and Lead opportunities. These are the foundation of every successful senior insurance advisor. As my experiences have shown me, it’s these next five tools that separate potential partners from the pack and give you the power to go the extra mile.

6. A Client Relationship Manager (CRM)

How you manage your Book of Business is just as important as writing it to begin with. Sure, the sale you make today is next month’s mortgage, but the key to repeat business, referrals and ongoing renewals from this newly secured client is in how well you serve them. A robust CRM makes the average senior insurance advisor 50 percent better! Higher retention; accurate closing rate (How can everyone be closing 60 percent?); the ability to monitor, measure and manage your precious marketing dollars can all be done with a CRM from your computer, smartphone or tablet. This is the tool of the 21st century, so get on board now!

  • Pop Quiz (yes, another one!): Can you produce your Book of Business? Can you separate your clients by product? Can you send out communications and newsletters by email or mail merge to alert clients about annual changes or new products? My straw polling says that less than 10 percent of you can do this. In fact, if your Book of Business is in a heap in the back of your car, you need this tool!

7. Product quoting software

Imagine this scenario: Your client calls to tell you that another Agent has a cheaper life insurance policy, so she’s considering changing to save on premium or increase face value. Do you panic? No, not you! You pull her information down from your CRM, add in some search criteria (Yes, as you talk to her on the phone — impressive, right?), and in a few moments several carrier options appear. You click a button, and the application populates for you to input her information for a face-to-face meeting. Ahh, but you are not done yet. “Ms. Jones, with the saving on the new policy, I can help you with the cost of hospitalization. I know that has been a concern of yours. I can handle them both when I see you next week, okay?”

  • Pop Quiz (Last one — I promise!): Are all your quote tables up to date? Are you afraid to quote Medicare Supplements because you have never sold them and don’t understand all the criteria? Do you only have one company (maybe not the best one?) loaded on your smartphone with rates? My straw polling says that you are overwhelmed by all the things that come with accurate product pricing. Wouldn’t it be nice to let your computer, smartphone or tablet tell you?

8. Business submission

Where is your pager? How ’80s is that. What about your fax machine? That tone is going away for business submissions, and sooner rather than later. If you are not tapped into the new business submission methods ranging from online applications to tablet apps, then you are already behind. A few years ago, some carriers paid more for electronic submissions when this action was allowed. In the next few years, senior insurance advisors who can’t submit electronic business will be extinct (Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!). The best partners have tools for seamless and easy to use business submission and training for those who need it. Make no mistake, nothing happens until there is a sale, but be prepared to turn it in a different way. Grow with the times!

9. Commission Reconciliation

If you sell more than a few policies (I hope so!), then you need to make sure you are being paid fairly and accurately. The whole point of what you do is revenue for your family, your needs and desires. The carriers want to be accurate as well (Really, they do!), but sometimes, they need help. Based on the Book of Business pop quiz, most Agents are ill-equipped to fight commission battles since they are unarmed with the right information. Imagine that your CRM had all of your client information that your back office support team could use to help you get paid accurately. Automation is powerful and is the key to ensuring you get what you have earned. Lifetime renewals for some products make this mandatory!

10. Industry Updates and Insight

Do you know what Congress is doing right now (No, not a trick question!) or what changes may occur within the various products we represent as senior insurance advisors? I pride myself on staying abreast and reading everything I can but the changes move faster than I can. Case in point, many Medicare Advantage Agents didn’t know they were not going to be paid on AEP sales in January until December. Yikes! This stuff isn’t always sexy, but as Tom Cruise says in the movie The Firm, “It has teeth!” As a professional with clients and renewals to protect, it is your responsibility to remain connected and stay in the loop. The best partners help you do that with relevant communications that boil the environment down to the vital information!

Are you looking for a good partner? A value-add FMO or Agency? Then you need to take this list and ask them how many of them they do and make them prove it! If I were beginning a partnership and wanted to ensure mutual success, these Top 10 Tools of the 6-Figure Senior Insurance Advisors would be non-negotiable “must haves.”

Be encouraged! There are good partners out there who are loaded with best-in-class tools.

Until next time, I wish you Money, Power, Success!

Top 10 Tools for the 6-Figure Advisor: Part 1

For 15 years of my professional career in senior insurance, I worked directly for health plans. Sometimes I had big budgets and generated big revenue. Other times, I worked for startups with no money, and I still generated big revenue.

What I have learned from my range of experiences is that necessity, ingenuity and imagination are a powerful combination to make it happen!

“We will either find a way or make one.” Hannibal

That’s the mindset you have to have with your business (You are running a business, right?).  Even with no money or capital in the bank, you can take your business to the next level.  I am not talking about making ends meet, I am talking about 6-figure success that comes from excellence in service (See Secret #4 from my recent 6 Secrets of 6-figure senior insurance advisors series!).

What makes sales scary for most people is unpredictable income. Month to month it feels like “round and round the commission goes, where it stops, nobody knows!” Some of you know exactly what I am talking about.

Can I tell you how to get off of that merry-go-round and make your business sustainable, scalable and stable?

Build or tap into a system.

The one consistent thing I’ve experienced for the last four years of bringing corporate concepts to the kitchen table is that systems make it better for everyone. Systems are the key to creating billion-dollar companies, and they are also the key to helping you consistently generate 6-figures.

A system comprises many tools.  Here are my Top 10 tools for the 6-Figure Senior Insurance Advisor:

1. A proven business model

  • The best systems will help you outline your O.S.T — Objectives, Strategies and Tactics. There are elements of sales that everyone must do (prospecting comes to mind), and then there are things that only your unique personality can define, like connecting with clients. The best business systems give you a track to run on that help you with day-to-day activities, but allow you to do it in a way that is best suited for you.  Don’t reinvent the senior insurance advisor wheel — move the wheels of progress by tapping into an existing system.

2. Product systems

  • The volume of email blasts that we all receive is filled with vast array of products and opportunities. Make no mistake — many of them are good products and could be a valuable addition to your basket of goods. The other reality: Who has time to filter through all of this and get to the heart of what will make a difference to his or her clients? A good product system has an “at a glance” way for you to determine if a product is good to invest the time and energy it takes to contract and sell.
  • Pop Quiz: How many products do you have contracts for? How many bring you sales? My straw polling over the past several years suggests you have submitted business for only 20 percent of the contracts that you hold. Am I close?

3. Sales training and development

  • Think about the last three webinars or online sessions you attended.  I could probably guess they dealt with certifications (AHIP), continuing education to keep your license or some type of product training (features, features, features!). Nothing wrong with any of these, but most of what you have been spending time on are in place to get you Ready To Sell, but don’t train and develop you on how to sell. The key to generating more business and leveraging tips #1 and #2 is specific sales training programs (yes, like 6 Hours to 6 Figures!). The best in the business always look for ways to get better and self-development. Hey, they are tax write-offs, too!

4. Lead generation and business development

  • “I could sell more if I had more people to see.” Sound familiar? FMOs and agencies want you to sell more, too (they don’t call it an override for nothing!), and many have turn-key Lead generation programs that can help you jumpstart your business. FREE LEADS? Sure, they exist, but they’re not a system or program you can depend on. People value (and work harder) when they have skin in the game. A good system helps you generate activity if you have no money but expects you to share in the building of your business as your revenue increases. Fair. Equitable. Synergistic!

5. Carrier marketing and Lead programs

  • With the number of carriers now offering all types of products, the way they get the FMOs and agents’ attention is through co-op opportunities and other direct Lead generation activities. Many carriers (particularly Medicare Advantage carriers) don’t want the overhead expenses of full-time sales people (makes sense!). What do they do with the Leads they generate? They pass them down to FMOs/Agencies that have distribution and management systems in place. Imagine earning a good first-year commission and lifetime renewals from a lead that was generated by the carrier. Sweet!

Next time, we look at the other five tools of the 6-figure Senior Insurance Advisor.

Until then, I wish you Money, Power, Success!

Call (800) 997 3107 to learn more about RB Insurance’s Lead generation programs, including our Massive Response Mailers that are 15% off until May 1.

6 Secrets of 6-Figure Advisors: Part 3

At last, the final two secrets:

6 -Figure Senior Insurance Advisor’s Secret #5: They don’t focus on production, they focus on running their business.

Try this. Ask three of your friends in the business how things are going. I can almost guarantee (unless they read this!) their answer will be production-focused.

“I sold 60 MAs this AEP and won’t get paid until mid January — I’m not sure how I’ll make it.”

“The leads have dried up, and my FMO doesn’t have a free Lead program.”

“I only sell Medicare Supplements. Life insurance renewals are too low for me to consider selling that product.”

While these are all valid concerns, running your own business focuses on three core ideas:

  1. Margin: How to make money in all environments, year-round.
  2. Core Competency: Concentrating what the business does better than most of the other businesses?
  3. Tactical planning: Doing the day to day things necessary to run a profitable business.

Within these three core ideas, there are many other elements such as: Objectives, strategies, tactics, revenue and expenses, marketing, etc. All of these are required in order to get out of simple production mode and into running your business!

6 -Figure Senior Insurance Advisor’s Secret #6: They know they cannot do it alone.

Yes, I know sales is an individual sport. I know you eat off the land and that you have to be self-reliant. I understand that everyone who says “Come and go with me,” is not seeking synergistic, everyone-wins relationships. That said, you can only go so far on your own.

It seems like all the secrets have three elements, and this one will be no different. The impact of Strategic Teaming:

  1. It was Aristotle who said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” A fitting quote for running your business. Teaming gives you access to economies of scale. You are not giving up control. When done properly, everyone will do their part, take their fair share of the harvest based on the value provided.
  2. Access to new and bigger opportunity. Sure, the rich get richer. Why? They merge and partner. They see an opportunity and know that there is more than enough. Case in point; Alibaba. The largest company in the world doesn’t actually sell anything, it partners with businesses (small and large) that do.
  3. Many hands make work light. The things you struggle to do (administrative work,  Lead generation and management, commission reconciliation, etc.) are best accomplished through delegation and sharing of resources that would be too expensive if done on your own.

Whether it’s an FMO that has products and tools you can’t access on your own or a newly hired assistant who can make the calls to set the stage for your upcoming weeks’ activities or a dynamic training program like 6 Hours to 6 Figures that may give you the extra “Ooomph,” you need a team to support you to reach the next level. You need a team to support you.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

There you have it — the 6 Secrets of 6-Figure Advisors. Some of them may seem daunting, but they are all doable. If it were easy, every one would do it. Separate yourself. Join the club!

2015 is in full gear. If you take these six secrets to heart, I believe you have enough time to cross the 6-figure finish line. Join the ranks of the exclusive (but accessible!) $100k+ club and take your business to another level. That is my goal for you. I know you can do it!

Until then, I wish you Money, Power, Success!

6 Secrets of 6-Figure Advisors: Part 2

I won’t keep you in suspense, so here are the next two secrets:

6-Figure Senior Insurance Advisor’s Secret #3: They believe in their ability to earn 6 figures.

No, Tony Robbins or T.D. Jakes is not about to jump out and begin sermonizing on the power of faith. But face it, if you don’t believe it is possible, then it won’t be. Henry Ford put it this way: “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

The confidence in your ability to join the 6-figure club is based on three primary things:

  1. Your ability
  2. Your plan
  3. Your willingness to do what it takes

Thankfully, two of these three things can be developed. Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned veteran, your ability can be increased, improved and developed to provide you 6-figure skill in this business. If you need a plan, there are great ones available (like my program, 6 Hours to 6 Figures — Sure, shameless plug!). The things that only you can control are your willingness, desire and persistence.

Before we go to secret #4, did you notice that the first three are about your thoughts, your perceptions and your belief in yourself? OK, maybe I am about to turn into Tony Robbins or T.D Jakes, but I have coached, mentored and trained thousands of agents in this business. This business can be tough.

If people are not mentally prepared for the journey, it is better they not attempt it at all.

6-Figure Senior Insurance Adviser’s Secret #4: They are focused on excellence in service

Mention the word “service” and for some it conjures images of a waiter filling your glass with water, hustling to bring your food and getting it right all in the hopes that you are generous with your tip. Yes, sometimes sales feels like this.

Yes, just taking an order is service, but it is not excellence in service.

The best senior insurance advisors know going the extra mile in every interaction — Yes, that means before and after the sale — separates them from those who are merely order takers. Excellence in service has three fundamental elements:

  1. Provide a “one-stop” portfolio approach to assisting your clients with the most comprehensive solutions — that means understanding your clients’ needs and knowing your products well.
  2. Meticulously follow up on all of your promises and your clients’ questions. Keeping your word is the hallmark of sincerity and integrity.
  3. Staying in touch beyond the initial sale. 6-figure professionals reach out even when there is nothing to sell! For example, call to learn if a client is feeling better after a hospitalization, check to see if he or she had any questions about their plan or any bills that have arrived. They will appreciate the concern and extra effort!

If you can do these three things you will easily (Yes, I said easily!) separate yourself from the thousands of agents who are doing “just enough for the city” (Any Stevie Wonder fans out there?). Doing more that expected also has a corresponding impact on your income. Yes, another occasion to remind you of my value equation mantra:

Next time, the final two secrets of 6-figure advisers.

Until then, I wish you Money, Power, Success!

6 Secrets of 6-Figure Advisors: Part 1

I normally hate using the word “secret” when writing. It’s just a sexy hook to get people to keep reading. I have to admit, though, it’s effective.

Take my headline as an example. Now if you’re already making $100,000 or more in this industry, it may have elicited nothing more than a yawn from you. But if you are currently not making six figures, you’re likely to be pretty curious about these secrets by now, right?

Funny thing about most “secrets” is the fact they’re usually the obvious things that people know, but for various reasons don’t do. Three of these secrets involve your beliefs and attitudes, and the other three focus on how you go about your daily work.

As you read them, give yourself a check-up to see how many of them you already know, but more importantly, how many you actually do!

6-Figure Senior Insurance Advisor’s Secret #1: They desire breakout success

For most industries, sales people have the ability to generate incomes based on their efforts and corresponding results. It takes a focused and determined person to work successfully without the security of a salary. There is a daily equation of risk that comes from “straight commission” income.

The reward for that risk? The ability to generate high incomes and become part of the coveted 6-figure club. Those that are the most successful don’t just focus on the money, they have a call for higher service as well. They know that the income will be commensurate with the value they provide. My mantra for that equitable exchange:

6-Figure Senior Insurance Advisor’s Secret #2: They see the opportunity that is in front of them as one filled with 6-figure possibility

What do you see below?

Some people see

and others see

Perspective determines which one you see. The 6-figure advisor’s secret is that they see the glass half-full, their cup runneth over, that “it never rains in Southern California”… you get the picture. They are optimistic about the future of the industry and have decided to participate in it.

There are three questions I ask every adviser in this business, who doubts that the opportunity for 6-figure income remains in this business:

  1. Does this industry with first year commission and renewals, allow for this type of income? The answer is yes!
  2. Is anyone in this industry earning 6-figures?  The answer again is yes!
  3. If it can be done and is being done, then why are you not doing it, too?

Next time, the next two Secrets of 6-Figure Advisors.

Until then, I wish you Money, Power, Success!

I normally hate using the word “secret” when writing. It’s just a sexy hook to get people to keep reading. I have to admit, though, it’s effective.

Take my headline as an example. Now if you’re already making $100,000 or more in this industry, it may have elicited nothing more than a yawn from you. But if you are currently not making six figures, you’re likely to be pretty curious about these secrets by now, right?

Brandon Clay wants to make you a trusted senior insurance advisor

If you haven’t been mentored by Brandon Clay, you may have been missing out on an entertaining and empowering sales training experience. That is, until this very Tuesday.

Every Tuesday, The Agent’s Advantage is excited to share original, easy to digest posts from the bestselling Sales Crumb Trilogy and 6 Hours to 6 Figures author on topics relevant to any agent. Brandon has also made his tried and true 6 Hours to 6 Figures training available online with an exclusive discount for RB Insurance-affiliated agents.

As you serve, you deserve

With over 20 years of experience in the senior insurance industry and an education from what he calls the school of hard knocks, Brandon teaches agents to approach sales as an opportunity not just to help a deserving group of people meet their needs, but to make earning a six-figure income part of their professional success. Reaching out to agents wherever they may be in their formation ties him closely to RB Insurance’s mission of making success happen for our partners.

“The real effort phase of this business turns a lot of good people away because they don’t get the development and mentoring they need,” Brandon says. “I was very fortunate to get a sales mentor in this business when I was at the high point of my own struggle.”

Every Tuesday, you’ll see Brandon Clay’s guest posts on The Agent’s Advantage. Don’t miss registering for his 6 Hours to 6 Figures online training!

Integrity is Priceless

He adds that agents need a clear motivation and purpose to get them through the “how” of what can be the challenges of the senior insurance industry.

“The only thing that can make someone withstand the No. 1 fear of rejection in an appointment or make them go through all the challenges that, quite frankly, weed out a lot of people is having enough ‘why’ to get you through the ‘how,’ the things you have to do day in and day out,” Brandon says.

Build a portfolio of products and cultivate an audience

That “why” goes beyond conviction for Brandon. Though he aims to inspire and motivate agents, he also maps out the typical Medicare beneficiary’s budget and health needs, showing agents how to offer more than one carrier’s plan plus selling more than one type of plan to take comprehensive care of a prospective client. It may sound tedious, but that’s where Brandon’s charm and penchant for storytelling comes in to show sales are truly about the agent-client relationship.

In the process of teaching agents how to sell a portfolio, Brandon sets the course for increased earnings from a typical agent income of $35,000 to $100,000 or more in a year to a year and a half’s time. He says earning clients’ trust has its ultimate payoff when they refer friends and family.

“What I think throws most agents off besides tending to be one-product-minded and focused is not really learning to cultivate and build an audience,” he says. That’s why he’s dedicated most of the 6 Hours modules to these subjects.

Getting tangible results

“When you bring it all together, my content has to bring you tangible results,” Brandon says when asked what agents’ greatest takeaway from his books and programs is. “Because of my participation in this industry I use the analogy of taking billion-dollar concepts and hitting them against the kitchen table where most sales are being done.”

 Learn more about the 6 Hours to 6 Figures online training courses and subscribe to The Agent’s Advantage.