Why should I consider selling Medicare Supplements telephonically, and what tips can you give me to get started?

A. First off, let me start by saying that the vast majority of the Medicare supplement carriers have done a great job of making the selling of their products much easier telephonically than what it used to be, and most carriers would prefer an electronic application over an old fashioned paper application these days.

There are some advantages to selling telephonically over traditional face to face sales. The first advantage to selling over the phone is the cutting out of windshield time. Many agents spend as much or more time behind the wheel than they do meeting with their prospective clients. An experienced telephonic sales agent could easily speak with 8 or more prospects per day, whereas the traditional driving agent would most certainly struggle to meet with the same amount of prospects daily. Your time is the most valuable asset you have, and it is the one thing in which you cannot make more.

Another advantage to selling by phone is the cutting down on your expenses. If you can end the day with the same amount of fuel in your car as you started the day with and not stop for gas, that is another win for you as an agent. A dollar saved is certainly a dollar earned. The third advantage to selling Medicare supplements by phone is that you can increase your territory by a significant amount, thus increasing your prospect pool. An agent living in San Bernardino County CA probably isn’t too interested in driving to Los Angeles, but there is 1.2 million eligible residing in LA county alone that now the telephonic agent has access to that they maybe didn’t have access to before.

I also wanted to go over some tips to help get one started selling telephonically. The first thing you need to know is which carriers are set up to allow agents to enroll prospects telephonically. Most are set up these days, but not all are currently set up for telephonic enrollments. The second suggestion I would have is to make sure your portfolio is right. What I mean by “right” is that you really need to have at least one low or lowest cost F and G plan. You need something that you can offer for the folks that are straight bargain shoppers and want the lowest priced supplement available. I would also have the tried and true brand names in the market that maybe are not the lowest priced product in the market, but carry a brand name and good rate increase history that make many shoppers more comfortable. Now that your portfolio is well-rounded and you have your prospect list that you will be calling.

Now, let’s get to some actual selling tips. I would highly recommend telling your prospect how long you expect this call to take, and stick to that time as best as possible. Many people do not like knowing the amount of time spent and as an agent with valuable time, you also would want to try and stick to a timeline if possible. Your prospect will also appreciate your respect for time. As far as conversation goes, I would recommend keeping the conversation casual and engage your prospect with your knowledge of how they can benefit from purchasing a Medicare supplement product. Your voice should be energetic. Believe it or not, I like to achieve this by speaking as if the prospect is in front of me and using the same gestures and facial expressions that I would use in a face to face conversation. I know it sounds weird, but if you give it a shot, I am sure you would agree that you can carry much more excitement and energy in your voice.

As your call comes to an end, make sure you give a recap of the main advantages of purchasing a med sup from you, and how you take care of your customers. Lastly, and most importantly, directly ask for the sale. We do not get most of what we want or need in our everyday noninsurance lives by not asking for it. Insurance sales are no different. We obviously want the prospect to purchase a product from us; your odds will go up a lot if you remember to ask for their business at the end of your call. Lastly, if your prospect does not pick up, keep your voice message short. Make sure you state your name and the name of your company and say your phone number slowly and repeat it slowly again. If your prospect does not return your call, I would suggest a follow-up call in 2-3 days.

For more tips and recommendations on selling Medicare Supplements over-the-phone, you can contact our National Telesales Director, Sarah Christy for more information.

-Answered by Matt Goheen, Regional Vice President

Matt Goheen is Regional Vice President of Region 6, covering the Utah, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New England markets. Matt is also a licensed Life and health agent and has been working at Agent Pipeline for 7 years, specializing in Medicare Health Plans. If you are an agent and would like to speak with Matt to learn more about the opportunities available in your market, you can contact Matt at 800-962-4693 ext. 6462.