Does your Agency have a viable Post-AEP Strategy?
Sven Menssen : December 7 2020
The day after AEP is the day before AEP!
Every year, agencies that focus on selling Medicare products (especially Medicare Advantage and Part D plans) have to prepare for the upcoming Annual Election Period (October 15 – December 7).
This affects pretty much every aspect of the business:
From planning on how many agents and support staff to hire, determining when to bring them on board, figuring out how to execute training, ensuring that marketing is in place to guarantee lead flow, making sure licensing and carrier certifications or appointments are handled appropriately (the list can go on and on!), to making it all happen in a timely and efficient manner.
Successful agencies start thinking about the next AEP the minute the current AEP is over. This means evaluating what went well and what needs to change.
Questions that may need to be address could include the following:
- Were our agents as prepared as possible to handle the influx of calls as effectively and compliantly as possible?
- Did we hire the right amount of agents and support staff to handle the busiest selling season of the year?
- Did we get everyone licensed in all of the key states and appointed with all of the right carriers?
- Did we have the ability to effectively provide feedback to the agents via real-time coaching to ensure fewer lost sales opportunities?
- Did we have an effective compliance monitoring program in place to ensure any potential issues were caught and corrected?
These and many other questions can provide a springboard for action that can make next year’s AEP that much better!
Post AEP Sales Strategies
Some agencies beef up their hiring pre-AEP to handle the high demands of the AEP but may not have a viable strategy in place to ensure agents are still able to be productive once AEP is over. Of course, a number of organizations contract with third-party vendors to provide licensed agents to them on a temporary basis to ensure maximum sales capacity leading up to and during the AEP, but as soon as it is over these agents are off the project.
But what about the in-house agents? Will they be able to continue to earn a good living when it’s less busy? A lot has to do with what post-AEP sales strategy is in place. Here are some things that have worked well for some organizations:
- Have a strong lead generation process in place to ensure there are enough Medicare retail business opportunities (i.e. age ins or Medicare Supplement plan switchers)
- Offer products that are not subject to specific set enrollment periods that agents can sell throughout the year (short term insurance, life insurance, final expense, and of course, Medicare Supplement plans!)
- Train agents to be excellent “pipeliners” (nurture relationships with potential clients that are not yet ready to buy but may do so in the future)
- For agencies that sell Medicare Supplement plans: Have a rate monitoring team that looks out for premium increases which can be great selling opportunities
In addition, the less busy time post AEP (and even post OEP) is an excellent opportunity to so some refresher trainings or even allow agents to learn some new skills. The point: be creative and let your agents be excited to come to work even if the phones don’t ring off the hook!
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