How to Get Started in Medicare Sales: A Guide for Beginners
About 26 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. This accounts for only 42% of those eligible for Medicare.
As a new Medicare insurance rep, this is an opportunity. More people become eligible for Medicare every day, and your pool of potential clients will grow.
Selling insurance is challenging because you’re running your own business. Your income is commission-based, which makes your income unpredictable.
At the same time, it’s also very rewarding. Your income has unlimited potential.
As a beginner, it can be hard to get into the world of Medicare sales. You need the top sales tips to help you build your business.
Buckle up and get ready to make your sales explode, even as a new agent selling Advantage plans. Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started in Medicare sales.
1. Know the Requirements in Your State
There are different licensing requirements in every state. Know that Medicare sales is overseen by your state’s department of insurance.
Most states require licensees to complete an application, pay an application fee, and undergo a background check.
You also have to take a licensing course and pass the state exam. There may be continuing education and renewal requirements.
2. Take a Pre-Licensing Course
A pre-licensing course will prepare you for the exam. You should take a course whether it’s required or not. Some states let you take the course online, while others don’t.
Be sure to take a course from a vendor that is licensed to offer life and health insurance courses in your state.
Expect the training to take two days and cost about $100 to $500.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam
You’ll have to register to take the exam at a certified testing site. Your state’s insurance department will have more information about this.
There is a testing fee between $50 and $100, depending on your state. The passing requirement varies as well. Most applicants have to have a 70% passing grade on the exam.
4. Decide Your Business Model
New agents have many pathways to start their sales careers. Some new reps start out as captive agents while others start as independent insurance agents.
Captive agents sell insurance products for a single insurance company. You get lower commissions, but you get a lot of sales support from the company.
Some sales reps choose to join a field marketing organization (FMO). FMOs give agents support with everything from insurance contracts to lead generation.
That lets the agent work on sales and provide clients with great service.
5. Choose Your Medicare Products
Independent agents have a choice as to what insurance products they sell. Your goal is to have a wide portfolio of Advantage plans so you can best meet the needs of your clients.
You’ll want to have Medicare Supplement and Advantage insurance plans. Dental, vision, and hearing insurance are beneficial for clients as well.
Don’t forget about life insurance, annuities, and final expense insurance policies, too. These aren’t tied to Medicare, but your clients will have peace of mind with these insurance plans.
6. Contract With Insurance Carriers
This is the real advantage of partnering with an FMO. They have the power to contract with insurance companies, while an independent provider might struggle to get a contract.
From there, you’ll want to get certified by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) to sell Medicare Advantage and prescription drug policies.
You’ll take an online course and pass an exam for these important certifications.
7. Create a Marketing Plan
The marketing plan should address a few basic questions. How will you get leads? How many do you need to close? How much money will you make from commissions?
Medicare leads will come from online and offline sources. You want to become known as the Medicare expert in your area.
You also want to keep your target market in mind. You’re targeting seniors, and possibly their adult children. Some seniors live with their children who assist with decision-making.
Keep this in mind as you create your outreach plan. The first step is to build your sales funnel. This is how you’ll generate leads.
Social media, search engine marketing, and video marketing are smart tactics to use. In-person lead generation can start with education and training.
Contact places like your local library and chamber of commerce to see if you can do a presentation. If there’s a specific community that you target, such as the LGBTIQ community, connect with community centers to give workshops.
Make a plan to work your Medicare leads down the sales funnel. Calculate your sales to close ratio, how much money you need to earn, and how many sales it will take to get there.
8. Set Up Digital Sales Tools
You can run your insurance sales business from your phone. There are plenty of digital sales tools to help you create online content, manage social media, and create engaging videos in a few minutes.
Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Later let you schedule content in advance. Editing tools like Wondershare Filmora and InShot let you edit short videos on your phone.
Canva creates beautiful graphics in a few minutes. These tools save time and help you market your business consistently.
Most of all, you’ll need a website. This is where people will find out about your and your insurance plans.
9. Have a Follow-Up System
On average across all industries, only 2% of sales close at the first meeting. Yet, most salespeople give up after one or two touches.
Expect to make at least five touches before someone commits to a Medicare plan. People need time to develop trust and know that you’re not out to scam them.
Be sure to create a foolproof follow-up system to stay in touch with all of your leads. Use a CRM to manage your leads and write scripts for each follow-up contact.
10. Track Your Progress
Track your progress so you can see where you can improve your marketing and sales process. If you find that you’re struggling to get leads, then work on improving your lead generation techniques.
Some sales reps have no problems getting leads, but they struggle to close them. In that case, work on your sales pitch.
You might give potential clients too much detail, which confuses them. Instead, work on simplifying your sales pitch while giving them the information they need to make a decision.
Every year, you should set new goals for yourself. Then choose metrics to gauge your success. Follow these numbers closely and adjust your sales plan as you go.
11. Have a Financial Safety Net
Selling insurance can be financially rewarding, but there are times when you might struggle. Whether you have a salary plus commission job or work on commission only, you need to have a financial safety net.
A financial safety net removes the stress of having to close sales out of desperation. That desperation comes through in meetings and phone calls.
Your prospects won’t buy and you’ll find yourself in a downward spiral. It’s the worst place to be as a salesperson.
A financial safety net gives you the confidence to know it’s OK if someone doesn’t buy a plan. It ensures you’ll sell the products that people need, not what will pay your mortgage.
Start your safety net by having six to twelve months of money set aside for emergencies and slow sales periods.
12. Improve Your Sales Skills
What do the best insurance agents do that you can replicate? They see sales as a craft. Every sales pitch, every introductory call is an opportunity to fine-tune and improve your sales skills.
The best sales reps focus on the process of selling instead of the final result. Over time, they get so good at sales, they generate leads and sales anytime they choose.
The best way to start to improve your sales skills is to read sales books. Don’t be afraid to practice scripts, even if it makes you look like you’re talking to yourself.
Follow thought leaders and sales blogs. You’ll see results and better sales numbers as you commit to the process.
The Top Sales Tips for Medicare Insurance Plans
Medicare insurance sales are rewarding, not just financially. You get to help seniors get the health care coverage they need to have the peace of mind and security they deserve.
These sales tips showed you how to get more people enrolled in Medicare coverage. Build a solid foundation by getting licensed a building a business plan.
Get a marketing plan together that covers in-person and digital marketing. Seek to improve your skills and systems and you’ll be on your way to a financially rewarding career.
For more sales tips and business insights, check out the other articles on the blog today!