How to Ensure a Successful Open Enrollment Season

Fran
Fran Majidi
August 5, 2019

Before you know it it’ll be fall and everyone will be getting ready to buy health insurance. People who do not have employer-provided healthcare will be scrambling to see if they can get better rates than their current plans provide. Some people will be choosing to buy healthcare outside of the workplace, even when it’s more expensive to do so. Some consumers will be considering a different kind of plan, let’s say a PPO instead of an HMO or vice versa. 


Whether you’re new to health insurance sales or if you’re a veteran, you’ll want to be prepared for all types of shoppers in order to maximize sales. November through January is a stressful time, but it’s when many health insurance agents can earn a large portion of their annual salary. Take a deep breath and get ready for open enrollment 2020 by following some sage advice and tips starting now. 


Buy health insurance leads. We can’t say it enough. While this may seem an especially easy time to sell insurance, it’s also the most competitive time to sell. While more people are shopping for health insurance during open enrollment than any other time, there are more health insurance agents selling competitively-priced policies as well. 


Most health insurance agents are honing their skills each year, strategizing on how to improve their ROI over the previous year’s. Many of them are learning that they simply didn’t invest enough time in potential clients in the past. You can be a step ahead of everyone else by buying health insurance leads today and nurturing these leads for the next couple of months.


If you’re new to selling health insurance, keep in mind that consumers will require some time and often don’t buy with one phone call. This does not mean that you will not make the sale. It just means that the consumer is actively shopping while comparing rates and plans. They may be looking solely for a plan that accepts a certain doctor. They may take down information and check in with doctors and they look at what’s available in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, if their state has one. Until you hear a clear no, don’t assume that you can’t write a policy for a potential client. Make yourself indispensable to them and you may be in business. You may not close health insurance leads quickly but they are worth investing time in.


Each year, it seems agents are buying more data leads and live-transfer call leads too, many with a more focused plan than the one they had in place the previous season. If you’re inexperienced with buying health insurance leads, start ahead of the season so that you can see what works for you and what doesn’t. Each territory and each demographic is different and a good account manager will work with you to customize your plan, but whatever you do, do not experiment during peak season.


While there is no more time-consuming kind insurance product than life insurance, health insurance is a close second. So you should aim to make a connection with prospects while they are researching -- ahead of the open enrollment deadline January 2020! 


Useful tip: Many consumers assume that a health plan through a private insurer is more expensive than what’s offered through the marketplace. That’s not always the case, so educate them.


Buy health insurance data leads. Health insurance leads from SmartFinancial are exciting because more people than ever are shopping for health insurance online and on the company’s various proprietary websites. Consumers like getting rate estimates before working their way to an appropriate agent who can secure what they want to buy. 


With a health insurance leads generation company like SmartFinancial, the consumer fills out a form with some information and gets several rates. It’s a familiar process much like the one in the ACA marketplace, offering shoppers quotes they can evaluate. SmartFinancial then takes important data the shopper releases and sends it to you in an email. Also, the SmartFinancial agent dashboard is easy to use and keeps all important data right at hand so all you have to worry about is selling health insurance plans.


Buy health insurance live-transfer calls. The more expensive option is live-transfer calls from health insurance shoppers. These calls are well worth the extra money because they are most likely to convert. How much more likely? 10 times more than a traditional data lead. 


Live-transfer calls are valuable because they are superior in terms of being pre-screened. Shoppers are directed to agents after showing interest in SmartFinancial’s various websites and filling out a form in the same way as a data lead. The main difference is that with a live-transfer call a SmartFinancial call-center representative speaks with the client, adding another tier of screening to make sure the consumer is serious. 


Once a call is forwarded to you from SmartFinancial, you can be sure that these callers are active shoppers, not just curious folks filling out a form just to see what insurance rates are available in the area. They are in the last stages of buying insurance when they are handed off to you. 


Start early. Instead of waiting for open enrollment, why not begin nurturing prospects now, especially when you know that health insurance policies take a while to write? Give yourself a few months to send short emails with information to shoppers on the types of health insurance products you sell. 


Ideally, you have been consistently communicating with and nurturing leads all year-round so that you are a familiar presence and someone the shopper can trust as the open-enrollment deadline approaches. If you’ve been selling other lines of insurance and only recently began selling health insurance, the best piece of advice we can give is, don’t wait! You already have a valuable stream of clients to whom you can easily cross sell healthcare. The market’s become even more competitive since the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act has been eradicated. There are fewer people buying health insurance again, so time is of the essence. Begin familiarizing everyone on your email lists (or any lists you may have) with the types of healthcare plans you sell. If not this year, these people are all potential healthcare clients in the future.


Hire help or extend your hours. Insurance is a numbers game, and from November 1 to January 31, 2020 you should be writing as many policies as you can. Hiring seasonal help is not a bad idea, especially if you feed them insurance leads or transfer live calls during the hours you’re paying them. Find people with strong sales skills and train them with a script and sit back and wait to write the sales!