Q&A with Colin Pickel, Independent Insurance Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Q: How has grassroots marketing played an integral role in growing your book of
A: In my experience, grassroots marketing has been fundamental in achieving longevity in
the Medicare space. For an agent to be successful, he or she needs to focus on developing relationships. These relationships are founded on the ability to find mutually beneficial opportunities and, if achieved, a lifetime of business can be preserved.
Q:What marketing or community involvement activities do you actively participate in to expand your network?
A: I find that senior appreciation days and senior expos are great for meeting potential clients. Many prospects will attend bingo, dance or movie nights, so participating in events of this nature provides a lot of potential for agents who are looking to expand their networks. Participating or volunteering at community festivals is also a great way to generate new relationships.
Q:What resources do you turn to when seeking out these grassroots opportunities?
A: One of the best resources is to simply do an Internet search to see what events and activities are taking place around you. Pounding the pavement with your own two feet and getting out into the community will also help when searching for future opportunities. At one event, you might see a brochure or flyer for another relevant activity. Perseverance and persistence are key when it comes to finding opportunities in grassroots marketing.
Q:What approach do you typically take when marketing in a grassroots setting to ensure you remain compliant with CMS regulations?
A: The most important thing to do when marketing in a grassroots setting is to register your event. Knowing the rules on how to conduct a marketing event or educational event helps me stay compliant with CMS regulations. Be a helpful resource and, eventually, people will reach out to you as a confidant.
Q:What informational resources do you like to keep on hand in case someone specifically asks you about Medicare?
A: During marketing events, I always keep business cards, permission-to-contact forms and Scope of Appointment (SOA) forms on hand if a prospect wants to connect with me at a later date. As for informational resources, I find that Medicare Trifold brochures and the Medicare and You book are great to have at all times if a prospect brings up Medicare organically during a conversation.
Q:For agents looking to expand their grassroots efforts, what tips would you provide?
A: The most important thing for agents to do is make a business plan and execute it. I recommend leaving the house every day by 9:00 a.m. to keep yourself motivated and on a schedule. By focusing on relationships and expanding your network, more doors will open.
Q&A with Ron Hood, Independent Insurance Agent, Tulsa, OK
Q: How long have you been selling Medicare? And how has it increased your book
A: I have been selling Medicare for three years now. I have seen a lot of growth in my book of
business, and about 30 percent of my income is from Medicare sales.
Q:You recently penetrated the Medicare market. How did you identify the opportunities available within this market?
A: As I mentioned, I have only been selling Medicare for three years now. I find that a great way to identify opportunities is by discovering where prospects are and building relationships with them. What has been most successful for me is to regularly schedule events at places where people frequent and get to know them on a personal level. Even though I can’t approach people about Medicare plans, if I am accessible to them on a regular basis, they are more likely to come to me for help. They get bombarded with phone calls and mailings, so many of the people who want more information like to speak personally with an agent.
Q:Why were you originally hesitant to enter the Medicare market?
A: For 10 years, I focused mainly on group health products. I was hesitant about selling Medicare
because I feared that it would not be worth it in the long run.
Q:What has your progress been like selling Medicare? Do you have a success story that you could share?
A: Initially, I was cautious about all the regulations surrounding Medicare, which made me feel uncomfortable about marketing the product. But as time went on, I learned that face-toface interactions and a thorough presentation of the plan offerings was something that many people were seeking. I found that a lot of prospects would tell me that they did not understand Medicare, which piqued my interest in selling it. I grew to enjoy how much I was truly helping my clients by providing them with personal interactions to help answer any questions they had.
Q:Some agents find the idea of selling MAPD daunting. What are three tips that you would give agents who are getting started?
Be sure to consult Medicare.gov or Humana.com to verify coverage of medications.
Be very aware of competitive carriers, knowing the plans and products that they offer. This will help you stay abreast of where Humana stands out and help you understand what plans might be best for your customer.
When filling out applications, do so slowly and thoroughly so that you don’t have to go back and fix any problems later.
Q:What external and Humana resources do you turn to for answers about selling
A: One of the best CMS resources that I consult frequently is the Medicare and You publication. I
also look to Humana Medicare Supplement publications for information. Many prospects receive Medicare books in the mail that they do not end up reading. I like to incorporate these into my presentations and show Humana videos as well. This provides prospects with a point of reference to go back to once the meeting has ended to help refresh their memories. Humana sales brochures are also a great way to learn about the products being offered. The Medicare.gov resources are also great to help answer any Medicare-specific questions that may come up.