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by Elie Harriett on Jan 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

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Making the Sale in Health Insurance

Consumers can buy health insurance anywhere — what you bring to the table is you, and you’re going to be there when they need you the most. You are of not much use when it comes to selling. The market today is different from other insurance markets. Where you are needed is AFTER the sale.



Making the Sale in Health Insurance By Elie Harriett



The key is to be there after the sale — the person they call when problems arise.


Hello, fellow health insurance agent! Did you know you are useless? At least, that’s what I’ve been told. In my inbox every day are marketing pieces to "jump on the bandwagon! There’s no larger market right now than a senior looking for health insurance." Every senior age 64½ and older is the most popular kid on the block, with lots of agents beating their doors down as they try to get them to buy something cheaper. Marketers on TV, radio, newspapers and websites, as well as those using direct mail, are encouraging your prospects to buy something with less premium. It appears as if the public you serve does not need you to sell health insurance.


Or do they? Senior health insurance is a highly commoditized product. The only difference from one company to the other is in the pricing. It’s the same product regardless of who is selling it. (If you think your product is superior to the dozen others being offered, I dare you to contact me and prove it.) Those selling senior health insurance are doing everything they can to sell it for as little as possible, and the consumer is going to buy it for as little premium as possible.


So what happened to you, the health insurance advisor? My point is that you are of not much use when it comes to selling. The market today is different from other insurance markets. People know they need health insurance, and it is only a phone call or a click away.


To solve this problem, you should stop selling senior health insurance. Where you are needed is after the sale — the person they call when problems arise.


Our Approach

This is the approach we use: We tell prospects we know we aren’t the only ones they’re talking to. We tell them we know we’re one of many who are competing for their business and we’re bringing our A-game to the meeting. Then, at the meeting, we just talk. Usually, a presentation isn’t needed. After all, others have already given them a presentation.


If there’s no engagement that lets them see what is being offered, we’ll start with a canned presentation. When prospects ask questions, we can narrow our focus. This isn’t the sale — this is us establishing confidence and trust.


What’s different about us? We speak in general terms. We describe all options as equally positive. We help them come to decisions in terms of product selection. But we’re not done.


In health insurance today, the key is to keep the sale. We become their go-to contact for problems (Remember: health insurance is still health insurance. There’ll be problems). Do they have questions about bills, letters or just plain questions? They can call, text, or email us. They can bypass us if they want but it is easier for us, the people who sold the insurance to them, to explain what’s happening. That’s a message that really resonates with consumers these days.


That’s not all. We also let them know that an aspect of their health insurance is going to change every year. We will proactively call them before these changes happen and offer to cope with these changes. They do not have to figure that out by themselves every year.


Basically, we’re encouraging thousands to call us with questions and concerns — not reach out to a secretary, but to us! We do as much work as we can and tell them to call the companies directly only as a last resort. If that seems like a lot of work, it is. But the payoff is great — referrals, repeat business, generational business and increased renewal compensation. Also, with this approach, the price of the product no longer becomes the most important factor.


Your clients really do care more about having exceptional service instead of getting the lowest price. You can pick the companies you think are easier to work with, pay yourself better and support your agency’s values and commitment to service.


A business guru once said that the problem with a pricing race to the bottom is that you might just win it. When large companies are forced to offer the same product, the only weapon they have is the price. Don’t play their game. Do more. Consumers can buy health insurance anywhere — what you bring to the table is you, and you’re going to be there when they need you the most.


And that, fellow health insurance agent, is why you will always be useful! 

Elie Harriett co-owns Classic Insurance & Financial Services Co., an independent agency specializing in individual Medicarerelated insurance. He is a trustee of NAIFA-Ohio, a former LILI moderator and past-president of NAIFA-Mansfield. Contact him at elie@harriett.us.


This article appeared in Advisor Today


Topics: Running Your Practice