This article is Part 3 of a 4-part interview series with our very-own Steven Smith. Part 1 focuses on retention strategies. Part 2 focuses on planning. Part 3 is about how to run a consistent, successful meeting and Part 4 delves into compliance.
Q: Do you tell clients how to prepare for your meeting?
Steven: Usually, in in my conversations leading up to the meeting, I say, “Have your Medicare card and your current plan card out so I can see them. Also, have a list of questions. If you want me to look up any of your medications, please have those ready, as well your list of providers.
Q: How much time should you allow between appointments?
Steven: When I was running appointments, I would plan a two-hour gap, so it would give me an hour and a half to do the appointment, and it would give me a half an hour to get to my next appointment.
When I go out and do Perfect Service Reviews, I pretty much do the same thing. Every once in a while, I might schedule them an hour out. But when I get in and do the review, and we start talking about the other products and services and their needs, it usually goes just as long – so I'm about an hour and a half, no matter what I'm scheduling.
Q: What about safety tips? Are there do’s and don’ts?
Steven: Always let somebody know your schedule. If there's a bad feeling in your gut when you get there, leave. Period. Not a single sale is not worth what potentially could happen.
I usually avoid taking any food or drink by saying something like, “You know what? I just finished a big lunch and I’m totally fine.” I don't want to insult them, but I think it’s safest to not consume anything. It’s also more professional.
Really pay attention to your instincts. If you go into enough homes, you’re going to see some crazy things. If anything makes you uncomfortable, leave. Follow up by letting them know they can call the carrier and enroll online.
I'm a big dog fan but there were a couple times when I got bit. Again, trust your instincts. If you don’t trust a dog, ask the client to put them away before you enter the house. If I know they have a dog, I might ask them to keep it in another room while I’m visiting.
Q: Did you follow the same agenda for every meeting?
Steven: I ran the same exact appointment every single time, regardless of the carrier. I would go in, meet and greet for five minutes, and do a needs analysis. After the needs analysis, I would transition into the plan. It was the same exact presentation every single time. By following a system, I could minimize the chance for errors. I took exquisite notes.
A lot of times, they would say, “I've already searched my medications and my providers. We're all good to go.” That was fine but on my needs analysis, I had a spot for them to initial saying that I covered the topic, or that they looked it up themselves. I made sure the details of what happened were noted and initialed. By having them sign off on each section, I protected myself and helped them accurately remember the events.
Q: How do you conduct your needs analysis? What do you ask?
Steven: What do you have now? What do you enjoy about it? What would you add to it if you could? And does anybody help you make your decisions? And then I would summarize their feedback.
On my Needs Analysis sheet, I have a section for summarizing their comments on the top. On the bottom, I had a section for prescriptions, doctors and an area for notes. As I went through the appointment, and I would write everything down.
I would never ask them to see their prescriptions, because that's a HIPAA violation, but I would tell them that I could look them up if needed. I would also give them an opportunity to look up doctors. They usually had already done it, but if they didn't, I would write down the prescriptions and the doctors to make sure.
So many times, people say, “Well, Steven came in here and he told me all doctors were in the network.” If I had good notes, I could easily say, “No, in fact, you and I talked about Dr. Johnson, Dr. Silva, and Dr. Smith, and here it is right here. Remember, here are your initials right here at the bottom of the page.”
You always want to make sure. This goes back to being a consummate professional.
Q: Are there any other pro tips you want to share with agents?
Steven: Always be prepared for your appointment ahead of time. Have the stuff that you need, either with you, or at least in your car.
Dress for success and remember that knowledge of products is the absolute, most important thing in this business. When you go in and sit down and start talking about products, it is the most important thing to those folks because they really want to know. You need to be in a position to be thorough and tell them about that plan from start to finish. It got to the point where I could go in and present the plan without even looking at the book.
When you get that good, that's when people really take notice, and people used to tell me all the time, “You love your job, don't you?” Yes, I love my job, and delivering a wonderful experience.
Medicare is usually a one-time close. You do a needs analysis. You present it well. They're going to enroll. In and out the door you go. But you're going establish a follow-up appointment with them in 60 days for the Perfect Service Review.
Compliance is key. In my agency, compliance was the absolute most important thing. I always made sure everybody was presenting compliantly.
Want to Know More?
Stay tuned for Part 4 of this series, PRO Compliance Tips, coming tomorrow.