Open enrollment is almost over, and you can take a deep breath and begin thinking about the upcoming year. However, the persistent thought about what to do with the employees you brought on to handle the crunch is still there. Many hours have been put in getting to know these employees, and they are familiar with a majority of the clients you are working with. They know your systems, your people, and how you operate. In order to keep these agents motivated, here are some tips to keep them producing after open enrollment ends.
Product Training on Cross Selling Opportunities
When hiring for open enrollment, training for new employees can be somewhat limited due to time constraints and is focused on core open enrollment products. In order to keep agents producing during the off season, it’s important that they know your products in every aspect of the business and selling process. If you are selling both P&C and Life and Health, make sure agents are aware of the cross-sell potentials and how they can increase multi-product sales per customer. When offering discounts or special promotions, be sure everyone is fully versed on how to upsell using each discounts. Product training and cross selling techniques come in a variety of options, and can be presented lecture style with all agents at once or can be a video tutorial series agents are required to complete on their own time.
Training should never be limited to just the products you sell. When outlining your products, keep in mind that competitors and new trends in the industry heavily influence the selling process. Agents should be fully versed in competing companies and have the knowledge to speak to their potential clients in an educated way about the industry as a whole and how your products keep them moving in the right direction. Your agents should be experts, and the more knowledgeable they are, the more confident they are during the selling cycle.
Incentives and competitions are great benchmarks and motivation for agents to keep themselves working in a positive direction. When establishing an incentive or competition for your agents, be sure the goals are realistic. Goals that are unobtainable create a negative working environment and will not motivate agents to keep working hard. During open enrollment, agents established contact with a lot of people, and each of these contacts are now prospects for potential sales. Think about how you can encourage agents to reach these prospects in a unique way to keep them interested in what you have to say. Remember, setting goals does not always mean sales goals. A goal for the week could be to contact 100 clients and inform them of supplemental or ancillary products that complement their core products. Once these smaller touch-point goals have been met, you can start setting goals that include sales.
Knowledge is Power
With the long list of prospects and a solid set of incentives and competitions established for your agents, it’s time to enhance their background knowledge of their prospects and demographics of the target audience your organization has been most successful selling to. Priceless data was collected during open enrollment, but in order to grow the valuable relationship with existing customers and increase sells, agents must know both the demographic and geographic attributes of their existing book of business. Data mining each agents book of business for key attributes such as state, zip code, age, gender, smoker status, medical conditions, number of dependents, and current products is a great way to arm agents with necessary information to service existing clients and grown their book of business!
Content is King
In order to keep producing after open enrollment, you need to stay relevant to your prospects. The best way to do this is through engaging content such as newsletters and blog posts. After going through various trainings and spending time doing research, agents are experts in the field and they need to show everyone how helpful and knowledgeable they can be. Take the medical field as an example; when you have a question related to health, you ask a doctor and do what they tell you to because you trust their expertise in the field. You want your agents to be the doctors of the insurance field, so that they are top of mind when questions need to be answered.
When creating content, use research to your advantage and write on what is relevant to your prospects. If there is an upcoming change in the industry, this is a great piece of information that will get lots of traction in the social space. Be sure to keep your content informational, and not make it a sales pitch.
All of this great content can live in multiple places. Everyone assumes that content of this nature, especially if it’s opinionated, goes on a blog. Blogs are great, and if agents have the ability to post on blogs or create their own blog then this is definitely something that should be done, but written content like this can also appear on social pages, in email campaigns and in newsletters. Providing valuable information increases client retention and builds trust among prospects, so dedicating time to producing engaging pieces is worth the effort.
Here's an example of good content that's not a blog: an infographic on open enrollment.