• Communicating with Seniors

    As an agent you spend most of your working hours trying to make connections to gain more business. But what happens when you make these connections? How do you connect with clients in the senior market to build the trust needed for them to allow you to handle their health care needs?

    Here are a few tips to help build lasting relationships with your clients.

    Speak Clearly and Articulate Your Words – Something as simple as speaking clearly and articulating your words can go a long way. It’s also important to watch your volume. You want to be audible so they can understand you, but you don’t want to be shouting, which could be misconstrued as aggression, when a casual speaking voice would suffice.

    Listen and Remember – People enjoy talking, especially about things they’re excited about like family achievements, upcoming events, or stories from their past they think you’ll enjoy. Learning how to be a good listener is simple but can go a long way to build trust. Especially if you retain some of the details you’ve learned about your client and are able to bring it up again the next time you see them. Asking things like “How was your 50th wedding anniversary celebration,” can go a long way to keep you in good standing with your client.

    Repeat but Don’t Talk Down – As an agent it’s one of your main duties to make sure your client understands what they are signing up for when it comes to their health plan. Making sure they understand might result in you needing to repeat yourself a time or two. This doesn’t mean you should talk down to your client though or that you need to “dumb things down.” It just means you might have to go over the highlights more than once.

    Ask, Don’t Assume – Showing your clients you care about what’s going to work best for them can build a solid foundation for trust. Part of this is asking them to describe what their needs are in their own words. Don’t just assume you know what product would suite them best without having a conversation and getting their input.

    Be Patient – When speaking to a senior client, don’t rush them or talk over them. This really ties into the points above about listening and not assuming. Sometimes it takes a moment for a person to collect their thoughts so they can properly articulate what is needed to be said. Patience goes a long way in building trust.

    Overall the important thing to remember is that the client matters most. If you’re treating the client with respect, listening to their needs and trying to communicate effectively, you’re doing your job right.

  • Relationship Economics: The More You Give, The More You Get

    It’s common knowledge that you have to invest in your business to make it successful, but it’s important to remember that the same holds true of relationships. Are you investing enough time in developing relationships with clients and people in your community to grow your business? Here are a few tips to remember.

    The more you invest, the more you’ll get out of your relationships with clients and referral sources – This seems obvious, but it can be easy to forget. The more you invest in terms of time, energy, and really listening to people, the more you’ll get out of the relationship, both personally and professionally. Clients and community members are more likely to refer someone to you if they feel a genuine connection and trust between you.

    Spend your time wisely – Investing your time doesn’t mean having to spend hours and hours of your day working for little to no pay, and it also doesn’t mean continually throwing energy into relationships that aren’t flourishing. Your relationships with your clients should be number one, and then focus on whichever community groups or other sources of referrals and exposure are most worth your time. Once you’ve decided where to focus, dedicate yourself to making the most of that relationship.

    Know when to throw in the towel – You only have so many hours in the day and so much energy, so it’s important to know when to accept that a particular partnership is no longer serving you well. For example, if a medical group is expecting hours of time donated on your behalf to help their patients, but you’re only getting a small handful of clients out of it, it may be time to explain that while you’re happy to help, it’s difficult for you to justify the time given the business you’re getting in return. Better to be honest and upfront about it than to be frustrated because you’re no longer invested in the project.

    Understand that it’s a long term strategy – Remember that payoff for time spent now may not come until the end of the year, especially in the Medicare Advantage business where you may spend eight to nine months a year building a list of leads to working during AEP. If you spend extra time with a client now to make sure he or she is totally satisfied and pleased with their experience working with you, they may refer their friends to you in the fall. If you work with community groups or senior centers to do informational meetings, you may not get anything other than a stack of lead cards right now. It’s important to remember in both of these situations that those connections are valuable and can turn into business down the line.

    Especially during lock-in, don’t be afraid to spend the extra time nurturing relationships with your clients and in your community to help build your book of business now and in the future.