A new year brings new opportunities, presenting an important chance to take stock of your agency’s progress. You likely have an established process for setting (and achieving) your sales, marketing, and operational goals. If you find yourself falling short of those goals, however, it could be because you’re focusing on something your clients don’t necessarily care about – the success of your health insurance agency. Shifting your thinking to put clients first will provide the spark you need to supercharge your sales.
Create a theory of action
Start with the end in mind
The most successful agents put their client outcomes first. Start by focusing on what, exactly, you’d like your clients to achieve. This might seem like a superficial step, but committing these outcomes to paper puts you in a position to better meet these goals. Your client outcomes could look like any of these:
- 85% of clients that do not experience a qualifying life event remain enrolled in their current plan at open enrollment.
- 80% of Medicare Advantage clients will have their inpatient hospital copay offset by a hospital indemnity plan.
- 95% of clients in my book of business on January 1 will value my services and expertise enough to remain on my book through the next open enrollment period.
Each of these outcomes puts your clients at the center – and compels you to carefully consider how you’ll achieve them. This brings us to…
Craft your client experiences
If you’re going to deliver on those outcomes, you’ll need to design client experiences that help you achieve them. Let’s think for a moment about what types of client experiences could yield the above outcomes.
- The first outcome, regarding clients that do not experience a QLE, necessarily implies that you’ve found the right benefit fit the first time around. Client experiences leading to that goal could be a thoughtful and thorough discovery conversation, a compelling lead generation form, or on the other end of the spectrum, a richer conversation about the value-added benefits embedded in a plan.
- What client experiences could lead to pairing a Medicare Advantage plan with a hospital indemnity plan? Perhaps it’s a dynamic sales meeting, a compelling leave behind, or hearing another client’s testimonial. Or, maybe it’s a meeting after the enrollment period closes, where you find out more about how the current benefits are working and whether there’s a gap that a hospital indemnity plan could fill.
- What experiences might help clients stay with you? This could again point you to refining your sales meetings, but you might also examine your client outreach throughout the year. Do you build value for your solution and agency with follow-up appointments? What about the little things, like birthday or anniversary cards? What does your customer appreciation program look like?
Thinking about your client outcomes prompts you to examine the experiences you deliver. If you’re going to enhance those experiences, though, you’ll need to spend some time examining your own actions.
Reflecting on your practices
You’ve got the perfect client experience in mind. What do you need to do to help deliver that experience? In short, the experiences you want to deliver should inform adjustments to how you do business.
- If you’re committing to the right benefit fit, you’ll need to put in the work to enhance your discovery skills, design a more effective lead-gen form, or educate yourself on how the value-added benefits offered by your partner carriers work.
- Perhaps you’re focused instead on cross-selling policies. What adjustments might you need to make to increase your conversion rate? Is developing another line of questioning the next step? Or, maybe you’d like to develop a worksheet that walks clients through gaps in their medical plan while demonstrating how an ancillary product can fill them.
- Maybe you’re seeing more frequent benefit review conversations as the key to customer retention. If you’re having trouble scheduling those conversations, you might focus on setting the follow-up appointment while your customer is in front of you. After all, it can be notoriously difficult to get someone on the phone when they’re not expecting your call!
Some adjustments are easier to make than others. For the ones that seem more difficult, you’ll need to find the resources and supports to make that change possible.
Identifying needed supports
Changing even small things about the way you do business is never easy. You’ll need to identify the right resources to support that change.
- If you’re working on your discovery process or product knowledge, you’ll want to find helpful experts who have been there before. In some cases, you might reach out to a mentor in your agency, or develop a connection with a friendly competitor. In others, you might want to schedule some time with either your carriers’ sales consultants or an account manager from your FMO. They can think with you about matching client needs and wants to the most appropriate product.
- Want to increase your cross-selling success? Stand on the shoulders of giants. Use resources that already exist to guide you. Most ancillary carriers will provide benefit worksheets, and your FMO should too. Need to practice using the worksheet, or maybe some guidance in developing your script? Again, your carrier consultants and FMO partners are thrilled to work with you in this arena, too.
- To gather some thinking on an optimal follow-up sequence, you might consider a variety of sales training webinars, articles, or books. This could be another opportunity to consult with your mentor or a friendly competitor. Your FMO should also have experienced salespeople on staff who would be happy to help refine your approach. Your success is their success!
Bringing it all together
Creating a theory of action starts by putting your clients at the center and ends with you identifying the support needed to best serve your clients. As you locate those supports and adjust your own behaviors, you’ll deliver even better client experiences. And when clients have great experiences with you, you’re guaranteed to build a lasting business relationship.
Give the process a try. Download a guide here.