A great opportunity in the employee benefits market

By Jacques Werth

High Probability Selling


Whenever there is turmoil in a market the old rules no longer apply. Agents who understand that have a big advantage. They can find plenty of prospects that are ready, willing, and able to change their coverage, now. However, to capitalize on the opportunity, the agent must be willing to change the way he/she markets and sells.

The opportunity

It is estimated that at least 25 percent of the small business market (three to 49 employees) will change their health benefits providers this year. The majority of those groups will be doing business with a new insurance agent. Their new agent could be you; however, you must develop better, longer lasting relationships than the clients' previous agents had. Once you have a health insurance client, you also have the opportunity to sell them other group and personal products.

Marketing for prospects

It should not be your intention to try to sell appointments to prospects who are shopping for the lowest possible costs. Closing rates with that type of prospect are too low, and they will shop around again next year. Most direct marketing methods are not effective in this type of market.

The intention of this prospecting campaign is to find and make appointments only with prospects who want better values for their health insurance dollars. The ideal method for finding the prospects that are ready to change is by telephone prospecting, which does not mean cold-calling. It requires a lot of dialing, a prospecting offer that takes less than twenty-seconds to recite, and a quick "yes" or "no" response.

When you get a "yes" response, you ask "why?" and then you ask eight to 10 qualifying questions. If the prospects answer all of the questions to your satisfaction, only then will you give them an appointment.

In this dynamic market for health insurance, prospects who say, "I am not interested" today, may say "yes" in a few weeks. But, do not ask them whether you should call back; just do it. And, change the wording of your prospecting offers each time you call. It works to offer a different type of health insurance each time you call (i. e., Standard Health, HMO, PPO, dental, or disability.)

If prospects tell you that their anniversary is many months away, just say "Okay, good-bye" and call them again in three or four weeks with a different prospecting offer.

Special circumstances

Some insurance carriers will provide quotes that enable you to align the anniversary date of a new policy with the clients other policies. For example, a prospect whose anniversary date is four months away can buy an initial 16-month policy. At the end of the first 16 months, the renewals will become annual.

Understanding the opportunity

Specializing in group health can provide a lucrative career with a steadily growing monthly income. However, when I ran my own agency, I found that I could more than double my income by initially developing deep relationships of mutual trust and respect with my clients. Then, I would set them up for monthly phone calls to check on their satisfaction with the policies I sold them and to offer them other insurance products that they might want. Most of those calls took less than one minute to complete. The calls increased their satisfaction with me as their agent, and many of those clients wanted to buy personal insurance and investment products from me.

Sometimes my clients had complicated cases, such as estate planning, retirement planning and advance underwriting, which I did not feel competent to handle. Then, I would find experts who would gladly work up the cases for a small part of my commission. Those experts worked cheap because they were not effective salespeople and they knew that my closing rate was very high.

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