This article is Part 4 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: What are some common compliance mistakes?
Steven: When agents get lazy, and they don't want to do the whole presentation, they fall out of compliance. After the needs analysis, take time to go through sales brochure. Let them know about the embedded benefits and the really cool things that make the plan good. Only then, should you go into the summary of benefits.
A lot of agents skip right to the benefits at-a-glance and then they enroll them. Bad idea. The summary of benefits has to be discussed. The multi-language interpreter service has to be discussed. The nondiscrimination disclosure has to be discussed. The star ratings have to be discussed. If you're not doing that stuff, you’re not compliant.
Q: How often are people willing to enroll immediately?
Steven: There have been a couple of times when I've gone back to somebody's house four times before they enrolled, and I was fine with that. If they say they want to think about it, I'll say, “Absolutely. Here's my card. Call me with any questions. While you're thinking about it, make sure you write down your questions so when I come back, I can answer those for you.”
When I became a broker and had access to all the plans, I don't think I ever left the house without enrolling somebody, because if one thing wasn't a fit, I would show another plan. The main thing is you always want to enroll them at their speed. If they don't want to enroll in that sitting, I was totally fine with it.
Advocacy and doing what the member wants – that's what builds your book. That's what gets you referrals and makes you successful.
Some people will say, “I just want to think about it.” I'm totally fine with that because it was never high-pressure sales. If you're building a book of business by reputation – because that's how I built my book of business – you got to take care of your people.
Q: You touched on life and annuities. When do you present those products?
Steven: You have to be careful with presenting non-health products in a Perfect Service Review. What I used to do is position the products, but I would never quote or enroll. So, when I did my review, and they mentioned life or annuities, I would schedule a time to come back later for that. The only thing that I would do in the Medicare appointment is find out what their needs were. I never quoted a life or annuity solution right then.
If they said, “Hey, I've got a life policy. Would you mind reviewing it?” I would say, “If you get it for me, I'll review it and then I'll schedule a time to come back with some alternatives.” Then I would do that, but I would never quote, enroll or discuss any of those other products in depth during the Medicare meeting, because it's not compliant.
Q: Once AEP is over, do you send your clients anything?
Steven: I sent them a thank you card, and if they refer people to me, I sent them a thank you card with a $10 Starbucks gift card in it to say thank you for the referral.
If you sat down with 100 different agents and really found out how they ran their business, we would all be shocked to learn they don't do birthday cards. They don't do thank you letters or thank you cards. They don't take care of their people. No perfect service. They enroll them, and then they go through the year without even talking to them.
Coming from my background in the military and in sales, everything is about clients first. It's an interesting business to be in, and I just wish people were better to their folks than they are.
The referral appreciation has to be a gas card or a Starbucks card. Every January, I'd go to Starbucks and buy $500 worth of cards, and just put them in thank you cards and send them out. I would get three to six referrals every month, and so I'd send out those thank you cards with a little Starbucks in it, and with a note telling them to have a coffee on me and thank you for the referral. It kept them coming, so I was doing something right.
Position Yourself for AEP Success
We hope that these PRO tips from Steven Smith help you plan the best AEP ever. If you need any help or if you have any questions, reach out to us. For more great AEP PRO TIPS and carrier rollouts, register for WAPCon, taking place September 14-16. Keep evolving. Nothing is impossible!