We all work for a paycheck, and most of us can’t afford to do a lot of pro-bono work. That said, there can be some real benefits to helping people even when you won’t be paid for the sale. Below are just a few examples, and all point to the fact that when you focus on taking care of the client, the money will take care of itself.
#1. The client may need health insurance later on
Times are tough, and you’re probably finding that not every client or prospect can afford the solutions you have to offer right now. That’s ok – help them anyway. Perhaps instead of health insurance you’ll end up recommending a Health Care Sharing Ministry. Or maybe you’ll suggest that they sign up for an online class so they’ll qualify for the student health insurance through a local college. You should worry less about whether you’ll make any money off the solution you recommend and more about whether you can find a suitable strategy for the client.
The fact is that, whatever you recommend right now, it probably won’t be a permanent solution. And, as new ideas emerge or the individual market stabilizes a bit, you’ll be able to reach out to the client to see if you have a better fit for him or her at that time. If so, they’ll certainly listen to whatever you have to say.
Put another way, pro-bono or charity work (as you might think of it) could end up turning into an income stream later on as the market changes or the client’s needs change.
#2. It can lead to referrals
Everyone knows other people, and when you provide a solution to their problem, your clients are usually more than happy to tell others about the good work that you do. Word-of-mouth is definitely the best way to drum up new business, so you want as many people talking about you as possible. And, through the power of social media, it’s now possible for your satisfied customers to share their story with a lot more people a lot more quickly than in the past.
Keep in mind that some people will refer their friends and family members to you automatically, without asking. Others, though, may require a little nudging. That’s ok, don’t be afraid to nudge. Let them know that everyone’s situation is different and, as you demonstrated when developing a solution for them, you’ll take the time to help anyone they refer, whether you’ll be paid or not.
#3. It can lead to additional sales
Some agents are a one-trick pony; they focus on health insurance to the exclusion of everything else. While specialization is important and can help you develop an expertise in your area of emphasis, being too specialized can cost you money. Most people need multiple lines of coverage. In addition to health insurance, they may need dental and vision insurance, supplemental coverage like accident plans or critical illness insurance to fill in some of the gaps in their health plan, and life insurance to protect their loved ones when they pass away.
If you can help them with their immediate concern—health insurance—they can then relax and consider the other lines of coverage that you have to offer. For example, you may have a client who is concerned with getting coverage for her children, so help her with that whether you have a commission-paying solution or not. Once that’s done, ask her what her children would do if she were no longer around and make sure she has an appropriate amount of life insurance.
#4. Getting paid is a lot of work.
What do we mean by that? Just that some products, either because of carrier rules or government regulations, will pay you for the sale but make you jump through a lot of hoops in order to receive the commission. Medicare Part D is a good example. Nearly every senior who does not have a Medicare Advantage plan with a built-in prescription drug benefit needs a Part D plan. The problem, of course, is that there are a lot of options, entering an individual’s medications to find the right plan is time-consuming, and the commission on a Part D sale isn’t great. Plus, it’s a pain to get appointed with every Part D vendor in the market.
That said, people need assistance finding the right Part D plan, and helping a client with this need is often necessary in order to sell that same client a Medicare supplement, life insurance, and other policies that they may also need. Think of the Part D plan as the loss leader; sure, it takes some time and effort to sell and you won’t make much money if any from the sale, but the additional products you can sell to those you take the time to help will more than make up for it.
*** Bonus Reason: It’s the right thing to do.
In the insurance industry, we’re in a unique position to do a lot of good without a lot of effort. Yes, there are a lot of times when doing some “pro bono” or “charity” work will actually pay dividends, but even when that’s unlikely, we should still do our best to help every client. There are a lot of people out there who are confused about their options and don’t know where to turn. The ability to use our knowledge and expertise to help them out and point them in the right direction is one of the blessings of the job. They’ll truly appreciate the assistance, and you’ll be able to sleep better at night knowing that you helped someone in their time of need.