Communication is the basis of every human interaction. Verbal, non-verbal, extrovert, introvert, doesn’t matter! What’s important is that we’re effectively sending messages to other human beings who are eager and willing to accept them.
If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you know how important communication is. Your success or failure is mainly dependent on your ability to captivate and persuade clients with your communication style. Anyone can memorize facts and figures about Medicare. The best Medicare professionals understand how to helpfully communicate the features and benefits of the plans they sell—even if that communication isn’t focused on selling.
That difference, selling while not selling, takes a little bit of thought. Beneficiaries selecting a Medicare plan are making a huge decision, and they’re relying on you to make sure they fully understand their plan. But they also want to have a relationship based in trust with you. Here are a few tips on how to communicate with senior clients.
Understanding clients’ communication styles
First, you need to understand your client’s communication styles. You could have the most fantastic messaging in the world, but if the client doesn’t like the way the message is delivered, your good news will fall on deaf ears. For effective communication, start by learning how your clients want to hear from you while keeping in mind there are CMS rules governing how and when you can contact clients.
Most, if not all, of your clients will fall into one of two groups: The silent generation or the baby boomers. Members of the silent generation are those 76 and older, while baby boomers are age 75 or younger.
Overall, silent seniors place a high value on phone or in-person communication, both of which are governed by some important CMS regulations. But as long as you follow the rules, you can email this group. The silent generation does have access to technology, especially in the post-pandemic world.
Boomers, on the other hand, have already widely embraced the digital revolution. Three out of four Americans aged 65 and older use the internet regularly, and they prefer email as their primary mode of communication. They’re also more motivated by price and access to options than their silent counterparts.
So while you may want to approach the two generations slightly differently, both are open to technology and communication.
Taking advantage of every opportunity
You probably have an established marketing schedule revolving around the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) taking place October 15 through December 7 and the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) January 1 through March 31. Most agents focus the bulk of their marketing efforts on these two time periods.
Do keep significant promotional opportunities, like OEP and AEP, on your calendar. You don’t want to miss out on communicating with clients during enrollment. But adding value to your communication efforts means reaching out to establish your relationship with the client throughout the year.
Again, CMS has quite a few rules about when, how and why you can communicate with your clients and new leads. But communication isn’t prohibited. If you’re transparent, and follow the rules covering events, permission to contact (PTC), and marketing vs. non-marketing content, you can keep your sales list warm without any fear.
Getting in touch
With many clients preferring email communication, an e-newsletter is a valuable engagement strategy. And don’t worry, newsletters don’t have to be complicated!
To ensure your newsletter is non-marketing communication, start with a short introduction. Then link to a few educational articles your clients will find useful. With each article, include a sentence or two describing what the article’s about.
Just remember to prominently feature the choice to opt-out of future mailings!
Send your e-newsletter regularly. Establish a monthly schedule that you can incorporate into your workflow. You can choose bi-monthly or quarterly if you prefer, but much of the value that comes from regular contact will be lost.
Regular communication is key to future sales. So do everything you can to stay top-of-mind for your clients by putting our three tips into practice!
image credit: shutterstock/Bojan Milinkov