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This Insurance Agent Knows How to Pay Nothing for Medicare Leads: Be a Hero to Clients

With just hours until the Medicare Annual Election Period deadline, Betsy Chandler desperately needed a client’s signature to help him switch to a more appropriate drug plan for his expensive cancer treatment.

Medicare Quotes With Lead Advantage ProAfter working with the client through months of medical tests and appointments and anxiously awaiting doctors’ final drug regimen, she plugged the meds into Lead Advantage Pro®, found a plan that would cover all of them and called him with the good news. The application just needed to be completed and signed.

The problem: he was driving across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City en route to the hospital for treatment.

But never fear, Chandler still was able to swoop in and save the day.

Be a Hero With SMS' AEP Tools“With the voice signature, I was able to key the entire application in for him, confirming every piece of data that I was entering on his behalf. We got the application in, in the nick of time,” Chandler said. “So that was a really nice Hail Mary victory for us. We were truly heroes. And the secret behind the hero is SMS. The tools that SMS brings to our table allow us to be a hero in front of our clients.”

While Chandler lauds Senior Market Sales® (SMS) for contributing to her success, she’s a hero in her own right.

With 36 years in the insurance industry, she runs a highly successful seven-person agency, MIC Insurance Services in Kinnelon, New Jersey, selling Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, major medical, life and long-term care insurance. In an industry where agents constantly struggle to obtain leads without breaking the bank, Chandler stands out for cracking the code without spending a dime on leads. She has so many prospects approaching her that her biggest struggle is not being able to get to all of them and to her existing clients.

“All my business comes word-of-mouth referral, because I am willing to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week for eight weeks running during AEP,” Chandler said. “My driving goal is to always take excellent care of every single one of my clients. Making sure that we get everybody handled before that closing bell sounds is what I'm always fighting against.”

"Overall, sales were up 42% over the previous year"By that measure, the company did exceptionally well during the 2023-2024 AEP, reaching not only its highest number of applications in any November, but also its highest number for its best month in the history of the nearly 40-year-old company. The agents conducted 20% more Part D reviews, and overall sales were up 42% over the previous year.

How’d she do it?

A true advisor success story“SMS continues to give me a better foothold of efficiency each year as we continue climbing the mountain of running a successful agency. The better tools of efficiency did make me feel like we were staying in control and greatly reduced that overwhelming stress. Did I mention I love SMS?” Chandler said with a laugh.

How SMS Earned Chandler’s Business

Chandler discovered SMS after contacting a carrier directly for information about writing a certain PDP.

Frustrated that her field marketing organization (FMO) at the time hadn’t gotten her the information, she told the carrier she wanted to just work directly with it. The carrier told her it did not offer direct-to-agent contracts, so she would have to go through one of two other FMOs. Chandler chose SMS, contracting for just one Medicare Part D carrier in 2012.

“The more business I put with Senior Market Sales, the more tools they brought to my table and proved to me that they really deserved all of my business,” she said. “Because they were giving me the tools that helped me run my business more effectively and more efficiently, I wanted to put everything I possibly could though SMS.”

While some agents frown on the time commitment and lower commissions of Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs), reviewing those plans annually with topnotch customer service has helped fuel Chandler’s referrals for new business year after year. As her business has consistently grown, she’s needed to work more efficiently each AEP in order to be able to serve everyone and grow the business.

How to Balance Part D Reviews With New Business

“Each year I'm taking on more clients. So each year that snowball gets bigger and bigger,” she said. “When we start an AEP season, I will start October with my calendar already preloaded several weeks into it. Every day more people are calling in saying, ‘oh, should I review my plan?’ which makes that snowball bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.”

The tactic of frontloading appointments worked especially well in the 2023-2024 AEP, she said, thanks to several SMS tools working in tandem to accelerate her annual plan reviews and sales process.

“Being able to chip away at the amount of work that we started the season with is what made it a successful AEP in my mind,” she said. “While we were handling and staying on top of this massive rolling snowball of AEP work, we also wrote more Med Sup.”

Client Self-Service Tool Lessens Workload, Improves Accuracy, Pleases Clients

Added in the 2023-2024 AEP, a feature in SMS' proprietary Lead Advantage Pro® tool enables a client to update their prescription, pharmacy, contact and provider data before an AEP appointment with an agent.

Otherwise, Chandler’s four agents and three client support specialists would have to manually type in clients’ drug lists that were emailed or faxed or have to wait while clients ran to the medicine cabinet during a phone appointment.

“That helped us be far more efficient by letting the client do that. It was a huge timesaver,” Chandler said. “And what I heard from many of the clients was that they really liked the control, and they liked knowing that they had entered their drugs. That gave them a greater feeling of confidence that I had their drug list accurate. Logging into a secure portal felt much more secure to them than emailing or faxing a list and having no idea who was receiving that information.”

Tool Identifies Costly Drug Plan Changes

Chandler also made clients happy by alerting them to drug plans that saved them hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

As a top-producing agent with SMS, Chandler was offered the opportunity to test a proprietary tool in a proof-of-concept pilot project. The report shows a client’s current drug plan and what the best drug plan would be for the new year, calling attention to the difference in out-of-pocket exposure. This allows the agent to reach out to those with the largest differentials.

“So if the client doesn't call in or they're not on one of my lists to make sure we reach out to them, they could have a terrific offset and we're not aware of it,” Chandler said. “But that report is giving me a targeted way to address the clients that most need to be addressed.”

Electronic Scope of Appointment Tool Saves Time

While SMS’ electronic scope of appointment capabilities have been available for several years, Chandler says they still play a key role in helping her work faster and see more clients.

“Not having to receive paper back and then have somebody scan paper in was a terrific timesaver and continues to be a very valuable tool for us,” Chandler said.

An FMO That Lives By Its Mission

From eliminating or accelerating mundane tasks to assisting in a Hail Mary save, SMS consistently delivers on its mission: helping agents leverage time, make more money, and put their business in a position of distinction, Chandler said.

SMS Has a Better Work-Life Balance

“That is exactly what was epitomized by this AEP, that Senior Market Sales truly does live by that mission of helping us have a better work-life balance, better levels of efficiency, better control,” she said, adding “and ultimately — the numbers speak for themselves — on helping us drive increased revenue.”

To learn about SMS tools and support, call an SMS marketing consultant at 1.800.786.5566 or fill out this form to be contacted.

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