Marty R is the guy when it comes to Medicare Supplement sales. And, boy does he ever sell them…at a clip of about 5-7 medicare sales per week. However, at the end of the year, commissions from Medicare Supplements (Medigap for the newbies here) make up only 30% of his annual income while annuities make up about 70%. Hmm… a head fake if we’ve ever seen one.
For the loyal followers of the Redbird network, you probably recall a bit about Marty’s approach in earlier stories we’ve written about him. If you’re new to Medicare and need to get licensed, start here.
We wanted to take a deeper dive and take advantage of Marty’s willingness to be an open book on how he is absolutely knocking it out of the park at age 64. He even calls himself an “old guy.”
Here is what he has to say about how he’s maximized his insurance license and built a strong residual book of business.
Why Medicare Supplement Sales? / Why Sell Medicare Supplements?
“Medicare Supplements are a great door opener for cross selling insurance and investment products. When I started this approach I was only contacting those turning 65 a month or two ahead of their birthday. At that point these folks had already been contacted by many agents and I found I needed to be five or six months ahead of the ball. So this month I’m already calling people who are turning 65 in May.
“Each list has about 500 names and I’ll get 5-7 supplement sales. I have to make lot of phone calls to get to that number, but one sale pays for that entire list.
“Very few times have I gone on an appointment and not sold the supplement right then and there.”
“Medicare Supplement Insurance has always been the focus vs. Medicare Advantage plans. CMS rules are tricky and I would rather be an expert in one category for my clients and have the confidence to help them navigate Medicare over the phone if they need something I cannot offer.”
How do you turn Medicare Supplement sales into a bigger insurance sales opportunity?
“Part of being an insurance agent and creating multiple insurance sales opportunities is knowing when to keep things simple.”
“I have a form called a “Thumbprint” (Redbird can provide this; just give us a call). In the home I introduce myself and show them our Services Offered and the companies we represent. Then I tell them that before we talk about Medicare Supplements I want to ask them four questions about their current situation.”
- Do you have a checking account?
- Do you have life insurance?
- A CD?
- Do you have money markets or retirement accounts?
“All I’m looking for is a simple yes or no just to understand their situation,which is a key insurance sales method.”
“I then deliver every policy. I want to get back to talk about what they told me on the Thumbprint. These people often don’t have life insurance. Sometimes they will have an IRA or 401K and I will probe on how long they’ve had it, whether or not they’ve lost money, are they happy with their agent and so on.
“In short I find out what their goals are. With this approach I’ve picked up a nice book as far as annuities go and I wouldn’t have gotten there without the Medicare Supplement as the door opener.”
What’s unique about your selling approach?
“It’s all about building a book of business.”
“I call every single phone number on my lists. I like selling over the phone. I like to cold call. I can in a morning contact 20-30 by phone. How many can I contact knocking on doors?
“Direct mail is so impersonal. These people are already getting 10, 15, 20 pieces of mail for the same thing. In a piece of mail they don’t have opportunity to hear you, hear who you’re with, hear what you do and what you can do for them.
“More importantly, I’m not trying to sell them anything. I’m simply asking for an appointment. I introduce myself, tell them who I’m with and why I want to talk with them. It’s really that simple.
“All you have to do is get one annuity from a Medicare Supplement sale and that will fire you up. The commission on an annuity versus a supplement is night and day.”
“I treat my customers with respect and focus on building a relationship. Doing that makes building a book of business easy, and my clients appreciate it.”
Consumers seem to think Medicare is complicated… is it?
“Insurance products in general are complicated.”
“Do I think they are, not at all. I keep it simple when explaining original Medicare and the associated Medicare plan options.
“I explain Medicare has four parts (part a, b, c, and d) and let them know how each Medicare part works and how it may impact them. I use a brochure to explain parts A and B because a lot of people don’t realize they have to sign up for these. Again, keeping the explanation of insurance products simple.”
“Also, people are confused about Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage and how it’s different from original Medicare. I explain these are two options to get to the same place, a place to better manage your healthcare financial risks. Either the client wants the security of having nothing out of pocket (Medicare Supplement) or they are willing to take a risk and pay the out of pocket costs for healthcare services with a lower monthly cost.”
What about the senior market has changed?
“Health insurance in general has seen major changes and with that insurance companies are facing more and more confusion by consumers, especially in the Medicare market.”
“The recession killed retirement plans and that has changed a lot about how and when I contact prospects. For example, I call on Saturday mornings because a lot of seniors still work. You will miss a lot of opportunities if you only call during the daytime in the week.”
“Luckily, the Medicare supplement market has continued to stay strong and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
One thing that was surprising was when Marty explained that as much as he focuses on the senior market, he doesn’t sell final expense insurance.
Why do you think your Medicare first approach works?
“Insurance can be complicated and Medicare insurance is really complicated when you take into the consideration of how people under 65 and over 65 consume information.
“I treat them like they will be long-term clients. I’ve never been a good salesman. I’m in the Medicare insurance business to help people. By working with them on their Medicare supplement problems, you’re really helping them.
“You’re there when they feel like they have nobody to turn to.”