Welcome, to the craziest, busiest, wildest, most hectic, and exhausting time of year. No, its not just about the holidays- its all about the Annual Enrollment Period. However, this last quarter is not COMPLETELY about survival. It is about servicing your entire book of business, gaining new clients, and having an extremely profitable year.
With all this chaos, you may be wondering how the top agents in the nation are handling themselves. I present to you, the Top 5 Tips for
Surviving Having a Successful AEP.
- Use E-Applications: Now, e-applications are not new to this industry what-so-ever, but companies are starting to act like it is 2007 and making the enrollment of Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans more user friendly. Did you know the number one reason for a pending and late application according to United Healthcare is a missing agent signature? If you are using an e-application, this is not something you have to worry about. E-applications stop you from filling out the wrong application, missing a signature, having fax/mail issues and having terrible handwriting that you hope some poor sap at the company can decipher. Save time, enroll online.
- Communicate with your current clients first: The past few years, the Medicare Advantage Landscape has remained pretty stable. This year, we can expect some shake ups due to increased benefits and new plan offerings. The two themes of the 2019 AEP are clearly Communication and Instilling Confidence. You might think your clients know to stay put on their plan just because they haven’t heard from you, but every TV, radio, magazine, and newspaper advertisement is telling them to change plans. Does your lack of communication stand up against the millions of dollars of advertisements? Once you communicate with your client about their status, you then need to make sure they are confident with that decision so they ignore every other message telling them to change. Communicate, and Instill Confidence.
- Continue Your Campaigns: It never fails; every year I get a phone call around the beginning of November from agents telling me they have finished their appointments, and need to ramp up marketing to attract new clients for this AEP. Do not make the mistake of thinking your AEP is going to be busier when in reality, you can finish up your appointments within the first few weeks. When you start a marketing campaign, it takes roughly 3 weeks for you to see any return on your investment. If you start in the beginning of November, by the time you start seeing prospects, it will be too late. Believe it or not, people do have birthdays in October, November, and December. They also have a tendency to retire as well. Keep up your campaigns. You’ll thank me in November.
- Set Follow-Up Appointments: Do you want to make sure you don’t have a single complaint against you this season? Set a follow-up appointment. Do you want to make more ancillary sales? Set a follow-up appointment. Do you want to avoid people using OEP to disenroll from your recommended plan because they answered an ad on TV or the phone? Set a follow-up appointment. Do you want to make sure you are getting referrals? Set a follow-up appointment. Do you want to make sure your clients answer the phone when you call? Set a follow-up appointment.
- Stay Healthy: You are going to be in front of some many people this last quarter for appointments alone. Let alone if you are hosting seminars, sitting at kiosks, networking with partners, attending fairs, and let’s not forget about the family dinners you will be sitting through, and there is always that one cousin that shows up deathly ill. You will be having late nights, early mornings, long car rides, extensive office hours, and working weekends. That does a number on your body, mind, and overall health. Make sure you are stay energetic and health by taking vitamins, getting as much sleep as your schedule will allow, eating healthy (bye bye fast food) and most importantly, taking time for mindfulness. You will be happier, healthier, and your family members and loved one will thank you.
Good luck everyone, and Happy Selling!
Director of Training and Education